Have you reached a point in your career where you just want to ride it out until retirement?

I’ve been reading the thread in Mundane about people’s careers today vs. 2000.

It occurred to me that I’m no longer interested in any major career changes. The computer field has changed so much since I started in the late 1980’s. I started as a COBOL programmer and now do SQL and other query languages. I no longer have any interest in learning a new language or development tool. Programming for the web has never interested me. I do a little HTML updating the dept’s web page and that’s enough.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn and grow as a person. I’m deeply involved in studying music and reviving my passion for performing. I’ve even considered college classes in music after retirement. My wife & I have discussed relocating to Austin where there’s a thriving arts & music scene.

I’ve got a few more years until retirement. I’ll continue giving my best effort. I’m not interested in changing jobs or moving into a new technical area. I’m not forty anymore. That ship sailed awhile ago. :wink: I was still ambitious and career driven in 2000. Today, not so much.


To me the decision to retire wasn’t the work, it was the people I worked for. When your boss tells you that his boss said the the best chance he had at promotion was to eliminate my job, teamwork kinda went out the window. Interestingly, at least 2 of my former “leaders” got canned after I left. You’d think a couple of born again Christians would understand the “thou shall not steal” thingy.

Coasting is a perfectly rational response. They know you’re not going to be finding another job with a few years to go, so they don’t need to give you raises in order to keep you.
My last four years I designed and built from scratch a system which was vital to our division. I had some help in stuff I didn’t feel like learning, but it was 80% mine. Everyone used it and I had a blast doing it. Was I rewarded? Nah. But though I warned them I was retiring, they ignored me, and I got it all back by them letting me work one day a week for full pay for the last four months while it got taken over by others.

I’d enjoy one last project that I could develop.

I’ve done some work on a separate database for reporting. Queries on the big database require complicated table linking & selections to get the current job records and deductions.

A reporting database would only have current active employees, their current job record and deductions. Eliminating a lot of work to create accurate reports

I’ve purposed getting training on MYSQL or it’s open source replacement MariaDB. I’ll proceed if the Admin budgets for training and developer support.

I’d have to create the database and then migrate all the reports. Then train the staff that write reports. Easily a year long job.

It would be a satisfying end to my career in a few years.

I’m there now. Six more years and I qualify for a pension. After that I can’t see working more than part-time, if that. I get paid too well to leave; public libraries pay a lot less and I can’t get licensed in other school systems without taking several classes (which would be pure hell for someone who always disliked school. Unless I feel like the kids are being cheated by me staying I’ll stick it out.


Right now I’m (again) at the phase of “ok, these people don’t really want what I bring to the table, so I’m gonna look for someone who does”. I appear to be biologically incapable of being at the office looking busy and serious while not actually having anything to do.

I’ve had jobs where it was acceptable to have nothing job-like to do. I can coast in those: I’ll sign up for another course in whatever, look for instructional videos, watch cat videos, read or paint my nails, then when something does come up solve it ASAP so I can finish the two nails I hadn’t painted yet. But the combination of “every iron I’m supposed to have on the fire is blocked by people who aren’t interested in it moving along” with “needing to look busy” kills me.

I reached that point at around age 50. I was mid-level management and the company was beginning what evolved into a failed reorganization. My position offered little challenge or interest and I coasted for the next 5 years and now the company pays me monthly to never return. Fortunately, their benefits and 401K were pretty darn good.

I left at the right time and have never been more content with my life.

I reached that point around 2012. I had been working on the same software, for the same group, in the same cubicle for literally ten years. Any attempt to change, grow, or branch out was quashed. My ranking continued to decline and eventually reached a low enough point that I was denied raises and in the layoff pool.

In late 2012, I was briefly loaned to a faraway business unit which did research projects (mainly for DARPA). I saw what they were trying to do for a flight test and offered to write some control code to solve a problem. It worked, the test was successful, and I was offered a position immediately. I accepted, and my ranking went from the bottom to the highest in one year. Since then I’ve been getting the largest raises of my career, consistently. I’m also working on some of the most advanced software (to me anyway), AI, UAVs, image and pattern recognition, you name it.

So I got back in the game, so to speak. I’ve never enjoyed work this much, or had so much control over my projects, time, and equipment.

But… as I mentioned in another thread, I still get frustrated by the micro-humiliations of corporate life. No matter how good my immediate supervisors are, a bunch of useless suits above them continue to work at making employees’ lives miserable – ratcheting the misery up, one tiny indignity at a time. Despite the enjoyable work and my fantastic co-workers, I finally reached maximum lifetime degradation and turned in my retirement papers last month. For those few who I respect (my group) I worked pretty hard to complete my obligations and projects thru end of June. They’re done now, and for the next few weeks I’m coasting and gathering loose ends (mainly documenting what I’ve done).

When I attend meetings and they are stressed and discussing flight test schedules, and travel and milestones, it’s different for me now. It’s a lot like being on a business trip and watching the local news in your hotel room. Mildly interesting, but none of it applies to me.

I reached that point at about 50, sometimes I would feel motivated to try and move up but it didn’t last long. I felt secure safe and was looking forward to not jeopardizing my retirement. I am 70 now and still have many personal goals I pursue.

Can you create a project for yourself? I had times when I didn’t have much to do, so I poked around, found some gaps, and wrote some code for them. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t, but it was a lot more fun than sitting around.

Yes, I’m just riding it out until retirement . But I have my own business and I’m retiring in 5 months. I’m basically winding down some aspects of the business and transferring out others.

But I definitely have one foot out the door. If my home improvement contractors weren’t so freaking slow, I might be out by now. But renovating my current place is a vital part of the “ retiring and moving away” project, It would be very disadvantageous to try sell or rent my place in its current condition.

In the federal government, there is a phenomenon called “retired in place”.

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I have mixed feelings.

Educational administration in NC is pretty bad. It’s so politicized–the board of education is a constant political football, and our state superintendent is an ambitious, dishonest weasel. Yesterday on the last day of school I got two glossy flyers with his face on them that I was supposed to send home with students; they were barely-disguised campaign flyers and included a URL to a website that provides very distorted information about the public education budget in NC. (I made them available to students who wanted to take them, and encouraged my third graders to read what he said, and then to Google responses to what he said. Any more than that, and I figured I’d be crossing the same line that he was tapdancing over).

Also yesterday he announced the end to a major K-3 educational policy, which involves his signing all K-3 students in the state up with a different private corporation for testing. It’s unclear how frequent the testing will be, but folks who’ve worked with this company in other states report literal daily testing of kindergarteners using this online system. He announced it only to principals, but some principals reposted the announcement online. None of us had any idea this change was coming, because we sure as hell weren’t consulted.

And I love my job.

We ended the school year in chaos. On Wednesday, we planned to hold our capstone economics project (a Tailgate Market where third graders sold real goods and services for real money, with proceeds going to our garden program and field trip scholarship program, as a way to learn about economics and entrepreneurial ventures). But a broken water line meant that we left school early, because please believe me that nobody wants to be in a building with 500 children and no flushing toilets. We returned on Thursday to a boil water advisory (awesome for our kids selling lemonade), to a school community that hadn’t been reminded to bring money for a second day given the postponement, to unannounced EOG testing in the building that required modified movement through the school, and to a FREAKING BEAR wandering through our parking lot.

And we ROCKED that market so hard, earning far more than we had in any previous year.

I was so exhausted on Friday (which due to the early release on Wednesday was unexpectedly turned from a noon-release into a 2:45 release). So tired. But I told my students what an amazing year I had, how proud I was of each of them both academically and in terms of the support they showed each other, and I gave and got all the hugs and sent them home.

Am I coasting? Hell no. I’ve learned to devalue certain things that the state wants me to prioritize (EOGs can suck…an egg, let’s say). And I can roll with the day-to-day craziness inherent in the profession. But so much of the job is amazing.

I hope I never coast.

I had the feeling a few years ago. Now I’m retired.

Nope. The more experience I get, the more interesting cases I get.

No! I’ve got 15-20 years probably, and I hate my job with the passion of a million burning suns.

Even if I wanted to ride it out, I wouldn’t. The Chicago office isn’t growing and the company is starting to get cheap again. They cancelled the annual summer employee party and have put in even tighter business travel restrictions.

I hate job hunting but I have to do it.

Yes, in EVERY CAREER I’VE EVER BEEN IN. Four, to date. Unfortunately, I’ve been laid off four times. Which is the life-stress-equivalent of having four parents die.

The last time was five years ago. The Ukulele Lady said to me “What with my munificent salary, our real estate and investments…you don’t need to get another job.” So I retired. Now she’s saying “DON’T YOU WANT TO WORK?”

No. Cooking and cleaning, taking care of a Brooklyn brownstone with two tenants, waiting around for electricians and plumbers, fills up my time.

There’s no way I can go up in my current workplace without being management, and I’m just not interested in that. So I guess you can say I plan to “ride it out” in terms of not climbing any more ladders.

But I’m not content with just doing the bare minimum. I’ve got 18 more years before I can retire, so it would be premature for me to become wallpaper right now.

I don’t know how to answer this. My job had three parts: teaching, research, administration. The last was boring and I wasn’t very good at it and did as little as I could. Especially towards the end. I enjoyed teaching well enough, but was not passionate about it and, when the financial incentive for early retirement got too large I took it. Nineteen years later I still love research and still do it, although there are no financial rewards for doing so. I am, in fact, just putting the final touches on a paper.