Heaven Is Where You Find It?

Where Would You Rather Be?

I just got an email from an organization asking me two questions designed to get my interest in their activities on behalf of preventing any cuts to Social Security. The questions are:

  • Do you want to work until you die?
  • Do you want to eat cat food in your old age?

I pretty much have a strong opinion on the latter question, though the prescription diet one of our cats requires does smell somewhat inviting at times. I’m afraid, though, the lack of variety would disappoint me.

As far as the first question goes, I don’t have quite as clear cut an answer. I’ve always assumed I would work until I dropped. After all, that’s what all the men in my family did; at least all the real men. I managed to disabuse myself of the notion that was a good thing a long time ago. However, I also retained (and continue to retain) a vestige of whatever work ethic I was raised with.

Here’s the thing. I don’t want to “work” work, that is be forced to report to a job I dislike, working with people I don’t care for, and working for people I don’t respect. That would indeed be Hell-on-Earth. At the same time, I want to be engaged, challenged, and – above all else – relevant until my last breath. I can’t imagine doing otherwise. But that involves doing, which is – strictly speaking – working.

So I guess my answer to the first question is “Yes. I do want to work until I die”. I also want my Social Security to be there for me, so maybe he should have asked the question differently. Then again, maybe there aren’t a lot of people out there who see work the same way I do. How about it?

ADDENDUM (as of 27 February 2012)

It’s been over 15 months since I wrote this, and 21 months since my retirement from PWR. I’ve been looking for work and also looking for interesting things to get involved in. I have yet to be terribly successful at the former, but I can’t honestly say I’ve tried as hard as I could. That’s in part due to my desire to spend as much time as I can being a good father to my two young children. I don’t think there are too many people my age who have young children to raise. All of my friends have been grandparents for at least a decade or so.

To hear some people tell it, you would think organizations should be beating down my door to get someone of my age, with my experience, to help them deal with social business transitions and the imminent retirement of the generation (Baby Boomers) I’m in the vanguard of, age-wise. I’m not convinced. I think our cultural affection for youth is still pretty strong and I have my doubts that HR departments or Management in general are all that anxious to hire someone who will soon be 65 years old.

I do believe I have a great deal to offer the right organizations and intend on getting a lot more aggressive about seeking out consulting or contract gigs, and I’m in it for the long haul. After all, my kids are only 10 and 8. Nevertheless, I think it’s going to take a while to break through the prejudice against us old folk. In the meantime, I’m pleased with the progression my writing is taking and I’m grateful for those of you who take the time to read what I have to say.

I assume mine is a bit different than many blogs. According to sysomos, as of June 2010 bloggers over the age of 51 make up only 7.1% of the blogging population. Less than half are male and slightly less than one-third originate in the United States. Without putting too fine a point on it, I figure that means there are likely about 5 other bloggers in my demographic group . . . if that. Since my readership is continuously growing, and no one has yet called me a damn fool, I guess I’ll continue in the direction I’ve been heading; which means an eclectic blend of personal and professional musings. I may have a few surprises in store as well. Just to see if anyone’s really paying attention.

About Rick Ladd

I retired nearly 13 years ago, though I've continued to work during most of the time since then. I'm hoping to return to work on the RS-25 rocket engine program (formerly the SSME) which will power our return to the moon. Mostly I'm just cruising, making the most of what time I have remaining. Although my time is nearly up, I still care deeply about the kind of world I'll be leaving to those who follow me and, to that end, I am devoted to seeing the forces of repression and authoritarianism are at least held at bay, if not crushed out of existence. I write about things that interest me and, as an eclectic soul, my interests run the gamut from science to spirituality, governance to economics, art and engineering. I'm hopeful one day my children will read what I've left behind. View all posts by Rick Ladd

4 responses to “Heaven Is Where You Find It?

  • janet9195

    Oh, and about your questions – I know I will have to work, for money, until I die. I’m 60, and many of us went through divorces and had to start completely over financially late in life – I put myself through college and got started on my career and paying off student loans when I was 45. I was still raising my kids then too. So, no savings – oh, I have enough to last about 6 months if I’m very frugal. I don’t mind working, I just would like to cut down to part time, but the economy went to hell and now I’m starting over AGAIN. I can’t get any more engineering jobs and I’m taking accounting in college and working full time doing office work. So much for the retirement thing.


    • Rick Ladd

      Hi Janet. No . . . that’s not my cat. I stole the picture from someone else I’m pretty sure stole the picture. I probably should have gotten one from Flickr’s collection of photos in the commons, but Google’s images were so easy to get what I wanted this time. I know. I’m lazy and possibly intellectually dishonest, but I think I might be able to fit this into the Fair Use doctrine. I’m sure, after a long, drawn-out trial, I would be happy to disgorge the huge sum I’m making off the lightly-visited, non-monetized publication I’m using it in. Stay tuned!

      I’m sorry to hear of your predicament. Unfortunately, it’s not terribly out of the ordinary. Although my case wasn’t related to divorce, I did find myself essentially broke at the age of 50; starting all over again after an ill-fated venture with my family. I hope you’re able to continually find “work” that’s reasonably fulfilling. Basically that’s all I’m hoping for, though doing something exciting would be way cool. Thanks for leaving a visible artifact of your visit, btw. Much appreciated.


  • janet9195

    I LOVE your picture. Is that your cat?


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