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The Official Baldrige Blog

retirement on the beach

In this more personal column I want to answer a question that many people ask me. The question is, am I enjoying "retirement" and what am I doing to keep busy? The question often comes from friends and Baldrige community members who are approaching retirement age themselves..

My plate is full. I have always enjoyed my work with Baldrige, and particularly enjoyed all aspects that dealt with ongoing learning, both mine and the opportunity to teach others what I have learned. I have great admiration for the institution (NIST) that has been my home from my days as a chemist to my days with Baldrige. I wanted more time with family than I had before retirement, and I wanted more leisure time. Add all that up and it is a pretty big combination to accommodate, without foregoing sleep.

For those who want a little more detail, my focus for the Baldrige Program has been on writing, including blogs and the Insights column (for which I am always reading background material and learning) and the Baldrige Executive Fellows Program. Also, in terms of learning, I am teaching a graduate course on Strategy and Organization Analysis in the executive master's program at American University. And I learn a lot from the students!

I have been on various task forces and had numerous assignments for NIST. Having learned through Baldrige what a good employee on-boarding program should be, I am currently helping NIST develop and staff such a program. Anyone interested in leading the on-boarding program at NIST, we will be seeking applicants soon. Let me know and I will make sure you are informed of the vacancy!

I am on the board of the NIST alumni association and continue my 30-year commitment to and love for STEM education through a Saturday morning hands-on science program at NIST, called Adventure in Science.

With grandchildren an hour away by plane, we have been able to make those trips more often and are about to host our annual Camp Grandma and Opa (that's me) for two of our granddaughters for two weeks. While that is a source of leisure time use, my forced leisure time comes through a small second home in Sarasota, where I am "required" to relax a little more. I also still find time for playing racquetball (although my knees are rebelling more and more), walking, swimming, and since retirement, have resumed bread baking.

Probably best of all is the fact that I am now responsible only for myself (and my family). Work responsibilities are largely what I choose to take on. What hasn't happened yet? Accomplishment of the still long "honey-do" list at home. Please, don't tell my wife!

Finally, for the Baldrige geeky part, you might ask how did I come to where I am in retirement. Believe it or not, I thought through a personal Organizational Profile using the Baldrige Excellence Framework. I had to mentally modify some questions, but it works! So, if you are approaching retirement, consider doing a personal Organizational Profile and let me know how it goes!  

About the author

Harry Hertz “The Baldrige Cheermudgeon”

I am Harry Hertz, the Baldrige Cheermudgeon, and Director Emeritus of the Baldrige Program. I joined the Program in 1992 after a decade in management in the analytical chemistry and chemical sciences laboratories at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the home of the Baldrige Program. I started my career at NIST (NBS) as a bench analytical chemist.

My favorite aspects of the Baldrige Program are: (1) the opportunity to interact with leading thinkers from all sectors of the U.S. economy who serve as volunteers in the Baldrige Program, who participate in the Baldrige Executive Fellows Program, and who represent Award applicants at the forefront of the continuous journey to performance excellence, and (2) the intellectual challenge of synthesizing ideas from leading thinkers and from personal research into Insights on the Road to Performance Excellence and other blogs that tackle challenges at the “leading edge of validated leadership and performance practice,” and contribute to the continuous revision of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework.

Outside of work I spend my time with family (including three beautiful granddaughters), exercising, baking bread, traveling, educating tomorrow’s leaders, and participating on various boards and board committees.

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Congratulations Harry. It sounds like you've struck a great balance between passions and goals in your retirement, with a bit more downtime. Wishing you and your wife a wonderful few weeks of Camp with your grandkids. Margaret Dospiljulian
Excellent, Harry. And in the spirit of Baldrige, you're sharing it as a best practice.
Thanks, Harry, for helping me with my "retirement", round 2! The first time I retired, I became an Examiner. I am retiring this month from my consultancy! I have joined a gym, where I go 2 or 3 times a week, purchased some new books, and am doing some "catch-up" with friends and family. I had not thought of doing a personal profile. Think I will try it. Best wishes to you for a wonderful retirement.
Congratulations Harry. All the best for your nicely thought and worked out retirement plan. Highly appreciate your sharing of best practice of planning retirement using Organizational Profile in MBNQA.
Harry - My sincere congratulations to you.
Congradulations Harry
Harry, great to hear from you! Since you were one of my role models it sounds like that will care over to my retirement. With Highest Regard, E. James Tew
Thank you for sharing your professional and personal side Harry, it is much appreciated. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blogs and pleased to hear that writing will continue to be an important part of your retirement life.
Harry, You are a stud!! Please make sure I never have my picture taken standing next to you... I feel inadequate enough without a visual image like that!! Enjoy life my friend!!
Excellent Harry, keep up the good work. It is vital for many company needs to work on Baldrige's pant and an ideas how to promote and respect their employees and customers.
Sounds terrific Harry! You, my friend, will never get old! You have the secret of eternal life! J
Great to hear what is happening with you Harry - sounds wonderful and more balanced. I love hearing how you used the Org Profile to assess perspectives and consider focus! THANKS for all you have done in the past for so many - and thank you for sharing your blog on a more personal note - it made a positive difference to me today as I near retirement.
Thanks to everyone for your kind words and for letting my thoughts percolate as some of you ponder your own retirements!

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