Most PR guys don’t have the luxury of recalibrating their careers at age 60. Most have been put out to pasture — victims of our youth-driven culture. I’m fortunate to have some control over my career exit, thanks to academic tenure and a union contract. So I’ve made some decisions.
1) I will retire from teaching in 2020, at the end of my 28th year — barring unforeseen variables such as untimely death or another Bush-like presidency that crashes my investments. It breaks my heart to think about leaving this incredible… wait, wait. That’s total bullshit. I can’t freakin’ can’t wait to retire, and with the right incentive I’ll exit long before 2020. Send Powerball tickets.
2) I will teach my last 6 years entirely online. At least that’s the plan — and the agreement. My hearing loss (first reported here) forced me to seek accommodation under ADA this past year. Because online assignments don’t require hearing acuity, it’s the best way to keep me on the job, and it costs the university nothing to accommodate me. Win-win.
Don’t cry for me. I love online teaching, particularly since my students are mostly mid-career PR and marcom professionals who write well, meet deadlines and reflect deeply on their work. This isn’t to disparage the hundreds of 20-year-old kids who came through my classrooms these past 22 years. Loved them all. But face-to-face teaching is no longer an option for me. The virtual classroom will be a welcome change, and I can do it from anywhere with an Internet connection.
3) I will scale back my professional commitments. There was a time I enjoyed attending conferences and the local meetings of professional groups. Now I find it mostly a burden, thanks to my hearing loss. Truth is, my involvement has been waning for the past 6-7 years. I doubt anyone will notice.
4) I will give 100% of my energy to my students and the learning communities I oversee. Teaching is more a calling to me than a job, and I will always support student success, whatever it takes. The remainder of my energies I will direct toward administrative chores and attending mind-numbing meetings 🙂
I have the greatest job in the world, and the final years of my career are looking pretty rosy. But I still have much to learn about being on the back nine of life, so I welcome your advice on the topic.
But please don’t call me. As my wife will tell you, I can’t hear shit. Friend me on Facebook, tweet me, or just drop over for a beer at my new office.