Starting to retire

Hello, and welcome to this blog. What’s it all about? Well, I am going to retire early (because I want to, and financially I reckon I can) from my academic job at the end of January 2017. I’ve been in this game for a long time and I’ve blogged elsewhere about the accidents that led to my career and written some advice for those at the very earliest stages of transforming from PhD students to permanent lectureships.

What’s the big deal? People retire all the time! Yes, but working in academia is one of those jobs that is supposed to be more than a job. It’s not exactly a vocation, but it’s certainly an identity. When you’re interviewed for an Oxbridge junior research fellowship, it’s not just about the quality of your research, but about how well you’ll fit in the college. Rejection hurts more because it’s you, rather than your skill-set, which was found inappropriate. From writing a thesis to writing a book, you’ll go on thinking about the job all the time; you’re planning a syllabus, or drafting an article, while you are apparently doing the shopping or talking to your nearest and dearest. So, how do you stop? How do you retire?

I’m not aware of any resources to help me think this retirement thing through. I’m not intending just to cease to do all the things I do, and one of the things which has precipitated my decision is realising that in the last couple of years, as head of department, I have only been able to find the time to write little things – but I have a contract for my next book, and several pretty heavy-duty articles which need a few months of serious work to get them in order, and I’ve accepted some interesting invitations over the next two years to give research papers and public lectures around the world. So, to concentrate on this (work!) I decided that the best solution is to stop work. Yes, I know, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. But maybe you are in a similar position? If so, please share your thoughts!

And why a blog? Because writing is my passion. I don’t know what I think until I write. I’ve found it helpful to blog in the context of my faith, so let’s try applying that to my work – and the imminent absence of it!


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