notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Bossy

I haven’t written for a while.

I’ve been trying to decide what to write about going back to work after five years of retirement.

But now I’ve decided – I love it.

I wasn’t bored in my retirement. I write. I paint. I play with my dogs and cats. I belong to more than one book club, which has not only introduced me to some terrific books, but to some terrific humans.

I hadn’t even been thinking about going back to work. But when I saw the job posting for a part-time bookkeeper for our local library, I suddenly wanted to do it.

Now I have been working for two months.

I like it.

It has taken me a while to figure out just what it is I like.

It’s pretty easy work. But not because it’s mindless work. I’m not bored. It’s interesting enough. It’s only easy because it’s the work I’ve been doing for forty years. 

And when I say, ‘interesting enough’ – I think the stress is on ‘enough.’  I love learning. I’m learning Spanish right now. But there is something about knowing a job like the back of your hand that is very satisfying to me right now. To go to work and know you will succeed. 

A comfort zone is not something that you always need to break out of. It can be something to embrace. Especially in these uncertain times.

I also like that the job is only part-time.  

I spent decades working long hours. Americans do seem to take an inordinate amount of pride in working too hard. I was no exception. My self-image as an executive meant that I needed to ‘brag’ about sixty-hour workweeks. After all, those long days and weekends at the office meant that I was really important, right?

Well, now, a few days a week, I go in after lunch and do my job quietly for four hours and go home to happy-to-see-me dogs and cats. I’m really important to them.

But what I like best: I am not the boss.

I am responsible for only my work. Not for anyone else’s. 

For thirty-five years, I have been a boss of some kind or other. At the peak of my career, I had a staff of twenty. I am not ashamed to say that I hated it. 

I was not a good boss. Oh, I wasn’t mean or bossy. Just the opposite, I couldn’t tell people anything negative. I would fix employees’ mistakes after hours so I wouldn’t have to tell them they made a mistake. I gave in to most personal requests, no matter how inane. I forgave over and over until my own job was at risk. Employee reviews were my torture.

I liked my job best when I worked by myself. If confidentially required that I not share my projects or delegate any of the work (which was often), those were the days I loved my job. I am an excellent analyst. I am a terrible delegator.

My saving grace was that I was a good teacher. I helped my staff succeed. And many of them did. I just couldn’t face the ones who failed. They were my failure.

My mother was a registered nurse—a very good one. Over the years, she was offered many promotions. She turned them all down. She said, “I don’t like telling people what to do.”  

I’m like her. Only where she was able to say no to promotions, I said yes. Over and over. I loved each promotion. I loved the title. I loved the prestige. I loved the money. I did not love being the boss.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with being bossy. Too many women are told they are ‘bossy’ as a criticism. Women can be and should be good bosses. I’m just not good at it. That’s me. Not every woman. 

Now, at seventy, I am nobody’s boss. 

I was never bossy. And now I get paid not to be.

It’s sweet.

24 Comments

  1. it sounds like your perfect place –

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Lindsey

    It doesn’t sound like work and that has to be the best thing about it. I’m quite envious.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy this is working out for you, Nancy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great news! Congratulations on finding a place where you can work part-time and that you like being there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a satisfying resolution. I’m full of admiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dragon

    Sounds like fun. Kinda wish I could find something of the sort … or maybe get the hang of marketing … Anyway, congratulations. Enjoy

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Deb

    Sounds perfect Nancy. I retire in a few months and would love to find something like this to keep busy and stay mildly productive.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. TLL

    I love this! I’m in a similar place – retired as the leader of a team of 60+ in a high stress environment and now working for the same company but just 2-4 hours a day and just writing – not bossing anyone. SO much happier!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m jealous. I’ve been thinking of retiring for a while now, but for some reason, just can’t make the transition yet. But a part-time gig in a wonderful environment like a library sounds really good. Enjoy!

    Like

    • I eased into retirement by gradually cutting my hours for a year… that helped.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Yay!! this is the perfect ending to the story 🙂 Like you, I’ve taken every promotion/upward move b/c that’s where the money is. If I’m going to do the work, I might as well have the lead, right? I love leading projects that depend on me; I don’t love leading people. I can do it, but I don’t love it. When I retire from all this my goal is to 1) take at least a year off and 2) find something part-time that I love to do, where I can contribute BUT NOT MANAGE PEOPLE ………………. yes! This post makes me happy 🙂 MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I want back to work part time about a month ago after being retired for a year and a half. I love interacting with people again. Plus the location, hours and pay is perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I even like having a reason to get dressed up again.

      Like

  12. Sue

    My co-worker’s father is somewhat bored with retIrement, and so got a parttime job at a big-box. She warned her dad not to disclose his reason for taking the job … because too many young people really need atleast a few extra hours to make ends meet.
    Btw, i cannot help but to be skeptical, whenever i hear some boomer crow about being ” ored” – especially, since half of us really don’t have the spare money.

    Like

    • How do you know I don’t need the money?
      Some of us Boomers on fixed incomes are confronted with increasing property taxes, escalating utility bills, medical expenses not covered by Medicare, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kathy Zurcher

        Perfect answer, Nancy. We took our grandkids on annual trips as their Christmas gifts, and took both of my “bonus daughter’s” families on trips to Hawaii and Switzerland—before we retired. Their inheritance while we could enjoy it with them. Now we are on fixed incomes. People assume too much about others’ lives and finances.

        Like

    • sdprairie

      I think you are making some incorrect assumptions. Many people on fixed incomes could really use a little extra money.

      Like

  13. I agree with both points….I don’t really want to boss people around either, but I resent it that women who are strong and provide direction are referred to as bossy. Or worse yet, “Karen.”

    Liked by 2 people

  14. If you are happy then all is good

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Have you noticed that men are never described as bossy? Or strident, come to think of it. It’s always annoyed me, so I’m delighted that you’re reclaiming the word in a positive way…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes! Strident is a word used exclusively for women. Men are Leaders and at worst…”Demanding.” I personally have seen some wonderful women leaders. I just know that it is not a good fit for me.

      Like

      • Gabi Coatsworth

        I forgot opinionated. Men are never opinionated. They have belief, ideas, opinions… Grrr

        Like

  16. Nancy, I understand exactly how you felt being the “boss”. Like you I was very good at my job and I was a very good teacher to my people. Many of them went on to very successful careers. You know there is a “but” here. Delegation (or lack there of) pretty much was my downfall. I always felt like an imposter whenever I delegated the responsibilities away. Now I don’t have to worry about that and it is easier. If we ever get back to work, I am ready to be bossed around. 😉

    Like

  17. sdprairie

    This sounds like the perfect job. I don’t mind supervising a few people who are trainable, but willing to work hard. But being responsible for people who think they know it all or who are inordinately lazy makes me crazy.

    Like

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