Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

"How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

"How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

"How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

To all,

One topic that I expected to find on this forum, is  a discussion on the work plans of those engineers nearing retirement age.

Many of us would like to keep a hand "in the trade", but also want more leisure and a chance to see the grandkids...  There comes a point when a 50 hour/week job working for a hell-bent 25 year old MBA has no appeal anymore, no mater what the hourly rate

There are significant financial problems with working part-time also....most notably the ~$13,500 annual limit on earnings for those receiving social security at age 62.

Anybody have any financial recommendations or suggestions or comments ?

How about part time work over the internet...!??




RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

About 1/2 of our engineering firm's staff fall into this category. They come and go as they please and when there is no work, or work that will keep them busy for too long, they just say no. I (as a young buck) appreciate their time, guidance, and experience!

Also , as a young buck, please find someone to pass all of your knowledge onto so it isn't lost with you. That is what our consulting firm is doing - pairing "seasoned" engineers with younger ones who want to learn!

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

Work one year on and one off.

The last 6 months of the first year (part time) and the first 6 months of the second year.

A second retired person could cover the other halves.

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

I'm a young buck as Eleceng01 says so have little advice but would like to second what he says about appreciating more experienced staff.

I've learnt a massive amount from guys in their 50's and 60's and really enjoy working with them.  I was going to say 'on the whole' but then I couldn't really think of an exception.

I was fortunate enough to work with a very experienced designer/checker from late 05 to mid last year.  Before starting here in 05 he'd actually been retired for a little while.

Sadly the management here didn't appreciate what he could provide or realize he'd probably be around a few more years yet so when lay-offs came he was let go.  I'm glad to say he's found a job somewhere else that by the sounds of it is more appreciative of what he and other experienced staff can provide.

He's a member of Eng-Tips, I'll see if I can get hime to chime in.

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

some of the design-o-saurs around here come back and pick their hours - usually something along the lines of "tuesday morning, all day wednesday, and thursday morning".

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

Plus of course they get to pick their choice of work and don't get lumbered with the whole business of QA audits, proposal writing, project management, unreasonable deadlines...

- Steve

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

I retired from BP 5 years ago.  Since then I've averaged over 200 billable-hours/month in my own consultancy.  I structured my charge rate to cover my costs with 80 hours/month, but I never learned how to work other than "hell bent" so I only say "no" to those jobs that don't look fun.  By limiting my work to things that I really like doing I just can't tell where work stops and fun starts.  This is truly the best sort of retirement.


RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

I have a couple of senior, experienced engineer friends in their seventies who just jointly took on an assignment to do construction quality control for a new FAA tower.  One works the first two days of the work week, the other the last three, and then they switch the following week.

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement


Are both elderly QA guys married to the same woman.....???

This can work out too..



RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

I'm the guy KENAT was talking about.
 I retired officially from a big Los Angeles Aircraft company in 1994, job shopped until 2001 then retired in Oregon. We had to move back to SoCal in 2004 for a healthier climate for my wife. Upon arriving in SoCal, I received an email job offer to join a start up Design Services Group in a high tech Santa Barbara company.
Seemed like providence to me, so I took it at age 67.

 It lasted 2 years, but got me back into the work ethic.

      We call it "Taking a work break".

So here I am at age 70, job shopping again with 3 other geezer checkers. Working on the new Ares 2012 Moon mission rocket, making good money and loving it.

 Interestingly, this rocket company recognized the brain drain it had after years of no new big NASA projects, and is now hiring a bunch of old seasoned aerospace engineers for their expertise on this new project.

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

Love your imagination MJC.  Did you ever see "Captain's Paradise" with I think it was Alec Guiness?

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

I guess I am an just a buck (45) but my plan is to semi-retire and do solo consulting from about 60 to 75.  My investments and the part-time income should allow me to maintain my lifestyle.

Don Phillips

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

I've seen a lot of guys try to come back part time in the AE world.  It doesn't work IMO.  They sign on for QA's or up-front schematic design for < 20 hours/wk and get sucked into working the same old 50 hours/wk as when they were full-time.  I've also seen too many friends die from the grind.

It would be nice to keep a hand in, but I'm thinking more along the lines of selling tools at Sears at Christmas, retirement is not supposed to be work!

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

Not there yet but I know many who are.

Not always a good thing for companies.
At one I worked at, retirement was usually the last HR option for getting rid of nuisance employees when all else failed. The ultimate failure for HR with one such employee was that they had to have him back on his terms in retirement because he had long ago mastered the skill of keeping secret a fund of knowledge and skills unique to his role. Of course, this was a management and HR failure because they had passed him around between departments like a parcel with no one manager ever even really trying to solve the problems he presented and HR living for the day he retired and not helping solve the problem.

But in the main, age and experience are a tremendous asset to a company and whatever the arbitrary rules of employment, when retirement comes around it is a win/win for retiree and employer.

Engineering isn't just a job or a career or even a vocation. For many of its practitioners it is a way of life.
Retirement is either the end or the reward.

Retirement means spending unaccustomed hours, days in the company of the significant other who has long ago developed an independent life while the engineer was busy at work. Having a retired engineer about the house is a nuisance and both partners should give serious thought to a garden shed (home workshop) to which the engineer can be banished during the working day or continued employment.

Frankly, unless that garden shed has some special projects in store (model railway layouts, scale steam locomotive manufacture or whatever) continuing to be involved in the mainstream has to be the best reward.

This is the real reward, free from the fears "downsizing", "rationalisation", "restructuring" etc., except from political infighting, able to refuse all the tedious chores that go with full time employment, the engineer is at last able to focus on that which really makes him tick.


RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

I've discovered that one of the keys to a satisfactory relationship with an employer is having the freedom to say no.  You can endure more pain if you have even the illusion that you have control over when you call it quits.  Ultimately, as an employee, that means the freedom to find another job if necessary.  Without this freedom, you're a wage-slave rather than an employee.

Obviously this kind of satisfaction SHOULD be much easier to come by when you're retired than when you (and the rest of your family) are depending on the income from your work!

That means a high potential for personal satisfaction in your work as a retiree:  being able to say no to assignments too boring, too tasking etc., along with providing a real sense of accomplishment when you save a lot of people's work by virtue of your wisdom.  But it's a two-edge sword:  that freedom to say no can also make you a real PITA as a team-mate- especially if you're being offered by the boss as an alternative to a fully committed team member.  How many people's bosses confuse bodies with resources?!  Mine can't be the ONLY one to do that routinely, can he?!

As long as the expectations and limitations are made clear up front to all parties involved, a retiree can make a fine addition to a team- note as an addition to, not substitute for a fully committed resource!  A retiree's role should be one of consultant to the team doing the work, or as subcontractor to the team given specific tasks to complete, rather than as a true team-member.  Being a full team-member implies more commitment than a retiree, by definition, should be willing to give.

If you're going to act as a consultant, the best way to do that is AS a consultant.  These pseudo-employment arrangements are far more likely to be unsatisfactory to your teammates, and hence to you.

Of course, I'm presuming that you actually have something to offer: I can play a tape recorder which says, "We tried that once and it didn't work" for far cheaper than I can hire (the wrong) retirees!  Without any context to judge the comparative conditions of the two situations etc., such comments are not useful, even if you posess part of the context in your own head.  The tendency to confuse experience with wisdom is one we all have to struggle with as we grow longer in the tooth.

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

One thought.  It's not just retirees who (arguably with some justification) try to pick and choose what they'll do.  People in all stages of their careers do it, from Interns on up and both direct employees & contractors/consultants etc.

I'd say for all of them it's up to management to manage it (managing may include terminating them).

I'm tempted to say the work ethic/willingness to stick at it has been at least as high amongst my older co-workers as with younger ones, in fact probably higher.

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement


I hope you mean terminating their employment rather than the other possibility. wink Admittedly I can think of a few for whom the other option wouyld probably be better but...

I love working with the semi-retired guys. They have usually forgotten more than I know about their field of expertise because in their time my industry was nationalised and had true specialists rather than people like me who are supposedly specialists in everything. The old timers frequently don't give a damn about office politics of ruffling the odd feather either. It makes for a great working relationship.

If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

ScottyUK said -
"The old timers frequently don't give a damn about office politics of ruffling the odd feather either."

Please say you don't have to be an old timer to fit in this catetgory.  I have slowly been adapting to that phliosophy.

RE: "How about us Geezers ?" - Working in retirement

Scotty, well I too can think of some coworkers where the literel translation would be tempting but they aren't in their retirment years.

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close