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!