Going Back to Go Forward

Retirement calendarThis was the first time I stepped onto the IBM campus since I retired, a place where I had spent more than 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 48 weeks a year, for 20+ years. I was invited to attend a retirement party for a colleague and friend, which was held on-site in one of the larger conference rooms. In fact, it was the exact conference room where I held my own retirement party last July.

My friend was retiring voluntarily and very happy about it. I was forced to retire as part of a resource action (or down-sizing, or lay-off, depending on the phrase of the day) and I was making the best of it. Not surprisingly, I had mixed feelings leaving IBM and now I had mixed feelings going back. Wasn’t sure if it would be sour grapes, regret, longing, relief.
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Reflections on Retirement

Happy RetirementI am approaching one year of retirement (or unemployment, however you look at it) and am surprised about some of my reactions and feelings. The positive ones were happily anticipated and mostly predictable. I enjoy longer, more relaxed trips when I travel. Gone are the tedious teleconference calls, meaningless meetings, and aggressive (impossible) deadlines. I am free from corporate politics and the compromises I had to make to play the game. Relief from this kind of stress is wonderful, a deliverance, like getting out of jail. No surprises here. Other things have been a mixed bag.
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Can the NCAA Tournament Affect Your Job Interview?

The North Carolina Unemployment Insurance Office distributes a list of 18 tips that will “convince the employer that it is good business to hire you”. Most are standard advice that you would expect to find: learn as much as you can about the company, be prompt, dress appropriately. Some seemed a bit elementary. In this category were: be polite and courteous, answer employer’s questions honestly, don’t discuss your domestic and financial troubles. But, one of them seemed outright strange to me. Tip #12 advises you to “avoid any arguments with your prospective employer”.

At first, I snorted a laugh and thought this should be preceded by a reminder to “be sure to take all your medication”. Who in their right mind would do this? What could happen in an interview to start an argument? Then DING! I remembered basketball tournament season here in the south, March Madness, a time when college rivalry is tantamount.

March Madness
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