What a lovely morning! It's very cold outside, a thick frost, but the sun is shining brilliantly, I've had a hearty breakfast, the bed is made, and the dishes done. The only things on my agenda today are to write my Christmas cards (which will take the rest of the morning); shower and wash my hair; and then contemplate dropping in at the Clare Project late in the afternoon, afterwards adjourning to our 'favourite' LGBT pub, The Marlborough, for a couple of glasses of house white. Then, an evening meal (with more wine) at the home of a friend - an intimate, cosy, pre-Christmas thing. And so another leisurely day is under way, with good company and cheer thrown in. It can't be bad.
Of course, my leisurely days depend on two things: not having to work, and not having anyone special around. I like it that way. But working and relationships are the chief things in life for most people, and without them I'm arguably 'not living a proper life', just existing, albeit in a self-indulgent bubble of pleasure.
We (some friends and myself) were discussing jobs only last Sunday.
I admitted that I would look for a job in 2013 or 2014 if there was something I badly wanted or needed, and extra money had to be found. Like a fantastic holiday, or a new central heating boiler.
After 2014, my income would have risen, and I'd be working only if there were some other reason. Widening my non-trans friend base would be one - the buzz of working with congenial work colleagues was not to be lightly dismissed. Giving myself something important to do would be another. But only if my social life was lacking, or I'd become bored with my present way of life, tired of leisure, and needing something new and challenging. The point was rightly made that my current work record was stale, and I'd need to refresh it with a preliminary series of jobs to demonstrate that I was reliable, sensible, honest, good to work with, economic with resources, and produced exactly the results that my employeers were looking for. Then I could apply with confidence for that really interesting position, the one I'd want to stay with.
Let's look at this. What sort of jobs? My previous 35-year career ended in 2005, and the experience it gave me is not easily transferrable to modern workplaces. I'd been an Inspector of Taxes - engaged in investigation work directed at individuals and companies and trusts - a long series of responsible casework and management jobs in different locations, ending up at a big office in Croydon, where I was a senior Corporation Tax investigator. It hadn't been a self-chosen career, but I'd stuck with it, I had done a conscientous job, and when the chance came to apply for early retirement there had been a strong possiblility that my skills and experience would disqualify me from leaving.
But all of it is useless experience if I now fancy driving a bus, or working for the National Trust, or being a checkout or delicatessen girl at Waitrose. So rejoining the work market means a fresh start right back at the bottom. Well, I have no hangups about having respect for past status or technical ability. I feel that I am up for most kinds of work except positive drudgery, provided that I can do it well, will get proper recognition, and that it adds value to my work record.
Being as old as 60 seems like a problem, but it might not be. I don't see it as any kind of impenetrable barrier. So much of working well depends on how you relate to your colleagues and your customers. I'm sure that I have adequate interpersonal skills, that I will see to the heart of problems, and will apply the right solutions. I might be tripped up on technical expertise, or product knowledge, but that's something time can fix.
Compared to my age, being trans is much less of a problem, especially with any employer that has proper standards in place and enforces them. Such an employer won't be thrown by my transness. And to be honest, if I am taken on to meet some trans recruitment target, it won't make me feel uncomfortable. The precise considerations do not matter. I will be in, and can go on to show what I can accomplish.
Funny how being able to choose how I spend my time, without interference from anyone else, makes the idea of a job seem strangely attractive. I don't mean that I really wll take steps in the new year to secure one - that depends on my spending plans - but it's not a fearsome prospect by any means.
Meanwhile, I don't feel I'm wasting my life. And one thing you can say for retirement, it gives you the time to find out so much. If something takes your interest, you can nowadays research it to your heart's content. And that could easily involve travel, to see some place or relic or artifact for yourself. I wouldn't be able to do nearly so much of that, if tied down by a job.
More cash then, or time to pursue a multitude of interests? For me, this is the essential choice.