Work Life Writing

A Stop En Route to the Finish

Work Locker

My supervisor at the home, farm and auto supply store unexpectedly called me to the office and offered a salary commensurate with the work I do.

“Commensurate with the work,” means closer to the average wages for the position as defined in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, which lists a job closely matching what I do.

He would convince me to either stay or continue working part time. I said I’d consider the offer and respond this week.

In every job I’ve held since leaving for military service, I’ve become a valued member of the team. In many cases, mostly when I worked for a large transportation and logistics company, I was replaced with two people after resigning. I understand the value of my work.

People have reasons for taking lowly paid work. This is especially true in my county, where there are numerous job opportunities for anyone willing to work. People take a low-wage job to generate income then move on to something better. We all have our reasons.

I took work at the home, farm and auto supply store and stayed because they offered a family health insurance plan to cover us until Medicare. Now that both of us are on Medicare, that reason was eclipsed by a desire to do other things. We have delayed gardening, talking, writing, reading, repairing and retooling our home for too long. That’s reason to retire March 16 while still young enough to accomplish some of that.

Opening the question whether to leave is also about security. Financial security partly, but physical health, being accepted in society, and the ability to live a life free from worry. The offer moved security to the front burner after simmering from the initial math of planning our retirement.

We are never completely secure. If a catastrophe happens in a life, people will invest everything they own to recover and return to a semblance of normal. Such normality is the endgame, especially in Iowa. Complete security does not appeal to people like me. I’m still a risk taker and know my limits.

I don’t know my answer and will mull it while soil-blocking at the farm. I did the math and the extra income would help pay down some of our debt. It is a bird in hand against the unknown of how could we generate extra funds in retirement. It would come with a cost I’m not sure is worth the price.

Today will be about figuring that out.