Category: stress

Retirement’s Not Easy

picture of a broomA few years ago I was involuntarily retired with about six hundred other people from a telecom company. Since that time, I have been a stock broker, an insurance salesman, a car salesman, and a web site developer. I am still in the web site game, and I think I will stick with that.

The problem is that I have been so busy in my retirement, that I don’t have time for business. This doesn’t sound right, but that’s the way it works.

The day starts at 6:oo AM with me gently prodding my wife to get to work. It is important that her paychecks keep coming. I rely on her income to buy my computers and other toys.

Then, it is time for me to prepare for the day with an hour or two of cable news. I am particularly interested in the stock market futures as they can portend whether I will have a profitable day or not. You gotta keep up with your money, you know.

Of course, in the mid-morning hours there is always the opportunity to journey to the nearest coffee-house or other WiFi equipped establishment, and socialize for a bit. Using the cell phone for an office phone is the normal way to conduct business as you surf your laptop and chat with people at the other tables. It is a great place for people watching, too.

Lunch is just around the corner, and the buddy you have scheduled has to be reminded or he may miss it. Sometimes, it is a local group of like-minded conversationalist you accompany for the mid-day meal. This is called networking.

One must be careful to keep the afternoons open as much as possible because you can never tell when you will stumble across a real business opportunity, or if you are called on to babysit the grandkids. I always try to be flexible with my schedule.

I forgot the doctors. Every week , there is a doctor you must feed. If you are a senior, chances are you have multiple doctors to support.

First, there is the primary care physician whose job is to look at you and draw blood for all the tests necessary to keep the medical labs profitable. The primary care physician cannot treat you for anything. If you are diagnosed with an illness, they send you to specialists like surgeons, hematologists, proctologists, rheumatologists, and plastic surgeons or astrologers. Doctors are born under the dollar sign.

If you have anytime left, you probably need to do some shopping. Wednesdays are the best for grocery shopping because some stores give senior discounts that day. You might have to devote some time Wednesday mornings to organizing your coupon collection. If you watch the program, Extreme Couponing, you know this can be a really big deal.

I was able to exercise some control over my life until my wife announced she was retiring at the end of this year. Talk about rugs being pulled from under you! This not only a life changing event for her, but I am the one who is likely to suffer the most.

How can she do this to me? What about all those years I slaved away, traveling extensively, and having to stay at five-star hotels? Let me tell you, those were tough years. Where’s the justice in this retirement thing of hers?

She claims that she wants to travel. Yeah, sure. Now, she will want to stay in bed until eight o’clock, and will be at Starbucks at 10:00 AM to meet with her retired teacher buddies. If I catch her ogling at any of those sissy guys that hang out there, well, you know…

What’s a guy to do? Does she expect me to wash the dishes, vacuum the floors, and sweep the garage? Oh, the indignity of it all.

Work, woman, work!

Bah, Humbug!

That’s me. I am the original Bah, Humbug guy.

It is the Christmas season, and we are all  supposed to be jolly, but it wasn’t always that way with me, no matter how many nagging females or hopeful little faces were around the house. Now, before you get all upset and confrontational, let me explain a few things.

Until I retired (was fired at an advanced age), I was always under major stress during the happy holiday time of the year. For about thirty years, I was in sales, and the way things work out, the holiday season falls right smack dab into the busiest time of the sales year.

Let me explain.

Panic time in sales is the fourth quarter when you are trying to make up for slack months. The fourth calendar quarter is the time when you score LOTS of business for two reasons. First, many projects and contracts tend to be awarded that time of the year because other companies operate on the same fiscal calendar as yours. Secondly, some buyers find extra money in their budget, and they have have to spend it or lose it.

All this means that there can be TONS of orders to let, and lots of negotiations and pricing to do. If you are a sales manager responsible for tens of millions of dollars of business, just keeping up with your people and making sure nothing falls in the cracks is a full time job. Indeed, you can wind up working through the entire holiday season, except for Christmas Day. It’s true, and it always happened to me.

Add all this business to the idea that your management is constantly pushing for more, and more, and more. Now, you get the idea that the stress is coming from two different directions, from over you and under you in the organizational food chain.

Don’t forget your commitments to ship TONS of stuff before the first of the year  to meet shipments quotas. Or, don’t forget to make sure that the factory does not ship all your orders EARLY just because the factory manager is paid on how much ships from his little kingdom. It can be really embarrassing when a truck loaded with several thousand pounds of steel arrives at your customer’s warehouse, and there is no place for them to store it.

Next, try to explain to the customer why they are being billed early so your accounting department can look good at year’s end.

Oh! I forgot the Christmas parties, and the celebratory lunches for customers, sales people, office staff, and management. Lots of heavy boozing and late night pandering with people that can get you fired can put you into the hospital.

Every Christmas Day for years and years, I was sick with stomach problems. All the work, social activity, boozing, partying, and all those things under the heading of just doing my job damned near put me in the hospital.

Yeah, sure. Merry Christmas, everybody. Pass the Pepto, please.

Silver bells, silver bells, it’s Christmas time in the city. Ring-A-Ding-Ding.