I had been retired for about six months and was at a loss as to how to spend my time. I flirted with dog-walking, pet portraits, and watching re-runs of I Love Lucy, but nothing resonated with me.
With my background in photography, one of my friends thought I would really enjoy working at a small camera store in Culver City.
I met with the manager, who gave me a synopsis as to what was involved with working at the store. Basically, it was a sales job. I would ring up film and camera equipment, but the most exciting part of my job would be to converse with the customers about photography.
How hard could it be? Discussing light, film and apertures seem like a dream job.
I came in to work on Monday and after exchanging pleasantries with my boss, I took my position behind the counter. Boy was I ready to sell some film! When I looked at the equipment behind the counter, I noticed it was sadly out of date. The computer looked like it was from 1983. Not good.
Basically, I would have to stoop down to the floor every time I made a transaction. On top of that, I had to memorize a bunch of codes that corresponded to the materials I was selling. Didn’t they have one of those nifty scanners like they do in grocery stores?
After about 25 minutes of bending over, my knees and back started to ache. This was an eight-hour shift and I knew I was a goner. I already hated this job and I hadn’t even been there a day.
Around 10:15, I called my friend.
“Are you on your break?” she inquired.
“No I’m going home,” I replied.
“Going home?” Didn’t you just get there?”
“Yeah but my back is killing me. I can’t deal with this,” I replied, feeling like a trapped animal at the zoo.
I peaked around the corner to tell my boss that I was quitting, but he was on the phone, and quite frankly I really didn’t want to face him. After all, he was provided me with a great sales opportunity, right?
And that was the end of my shortest job. I was there only 45 minutes, and I walked out with the glee of a young child on Christmas morning.
If you have retired, you realize that many opportunities are just that-opportunities. If you are not enslaved to corporate life, you have freedom.
You don’t have to kiss up to the boss, you can come and go as you please, and you are beholden only unto yourself.
I’ve been retired for about 12 years now, and I no longer put myself under duress. I don’t like feeling like a train is chasing me, wondering how I’m going to make my quota, or if my boss thinks my boobs are still perky.
And that’s a great part about being over 50…. If you are retired, you can just say yes to yourself. And that is the biggest freedom anyone can ask for.