11 Replies Latest reply on Jun 29, 2010 8:33 PM by OlderThanDirt

    How to not retire

    psedlak
      I have started social security because the SS admin told me to. I have no interest in retiring. I live  off earnings and continue to accumulate TIAA-CREF, not touching it. . I am much more interested in continuing to work although the work that I do, influenza communication, seems to have bottomed out for the moment. So I am looking elsewhere. Two hours of mountain biking in the morning, bath, breakfast, emails, news, lunch at the embassy, then boredom. What to do?
        • Re: How to not retire
          tschamp
          I recommend you take up scuba diving and travel to the Caribbean frequently...
            • Re: How to not retire
              psedlak
              I went scuba diving in the Caribbean and at Cabo San Lucas years ago. I was struck by the fact that it seemed like an underwater zoo, or like the Kenyan game parks (I lived in Kenya for six years) which I did not frequent. I counted game sighting as seeing game OUTSIDE game parks, like the time the rogue elephant came for miles from Tsavo East to Roka on the coast south of Malindi and trampled the head of my assistant into the ground in search of god knows what. I live in Bamako, Mali, and I suppose I could go up the Niger and see the mosques and the cliffs of Bandiagaara again (I saw them the first time I was in charge of a social marketing project years ago). I am in a mountain biking group and we go out on to the tableland outside Bamako, which is interesting. I can add to my African art collection as I have been doing for years, but I cannot work as an eligible family member in the political section of the embassy because 1) the embassy doesn't offer eligible family member jobs in the closed political section, 2) I probably could not get top secret clearance anyway. I need an interesting job. Something will come up. In the meantime. I am going to Dakar for a few days.
                • Re: How to not retire
                  auwekamanu
                  I know this sounds dumb, but how about getting involved in the archaeology of Mali. I am not an expert in African archaeology, but the different kingdoms must be incredible, and the archaeology of Timbuktu, even though there is considerable distrubance, would be amazing.  Lots of E. Asian influence, I hear.
                    • Re: How to not retire
                      psedlak

                      Yes, hello, I don’t find it dumb at all. In fact, I know some of the archaeologists who have been working along the Niger bend, picking up, among other things, terra cotta ware and some ritual objects. There has been a lot of looting in these areas as well, and objects will show up in the drawers of some Malian (I know one Dogon) antiquities’ dealers.My doctoral work was in linguistic anthropology, but focusing on East Africa. I may get in touch with a Malian linguistic colleague here who is now working in human rights.

                      There is a two-volume novel entitled Segou, by Maryse Conde, which is a fictional reconstruction of an earlier period.  

                      As an US embassy dependent spouse, I am not permitted to leave the city limits of Timbuktu and am required to fly there. I am not sure what the East Asian influence you are referring to is, unlikely to be in the pottery or the art forms, the aggressive Chinese penetration of Africa, perhaps? The Chinese are ahead of all the western countries. One indicator of this is that in the downtowns of many of the west African capitals one sees ordinary Chinese, working as merchants and living with about the same living standards as Africans. One does NOT see even the US Peace Corps doing that. In Bamako, there are numerous sandwich kiosks run by and personned by Vietnamese (the Vietnamese make wonderful sandwiches, which we discovered living in Ho Chi Minh City).

                      What I am really trying to do is get back to gainful employment. I was working for the last several years in animal and human influenza but as there were fewer deaths than expected (although the scope of the pandemic was broad) the bottom fell out of that market and then donors lowered their funding and activity priorities. While I was working on that I had the chance to visit around twenty countries, including Nepal, where I lived for about four years. I was spoiled by being able to collect Tibetan carpets and Newari Buddhist statuary (probably the finest made in the world now) and visiting all of these places which I wish I had seen before, including Yemen – fascinating, if supposedly dangerous.  

                      I have tried getting into work with Amnesty, but my experience does not seem to qualify me for that. I thoroughly enjoyed working in South Sudan where my own personal bomb shelter was something of a comfort. Unfortunately, now the early post-conflict pioneers are out of Sudan and the establishment development experts from USAID and numerous other agencies are set up in Juba, whereas my center of operations was a small place called Yei.

                      So it’s back to sending off CVs and trying for work in HIV/AIDS communication, something about which I am not sceptical, and which I know works, if done properly. Abstinence, fidelity and condoms, at least we know they work.

                      I just did one of those mortality projections and it says that I will live to 97, which leaves 27 years to come up with something.

                       

                        • Re: How to not retire
                          auwekamanu
                          I would love to visit Mali sometime, but I am still working.  One of our young Sudanese graduates, James Malula Murray is working for Winrock International on a USAID sponsored Bridge project in Sudan.  Difficult to find positions there, though.  He was with the High Commission on Refugees before that, i think.

                          I hadn't realized how stifling being an embassy dependent was.
                          Maryse Conde visited us a few years back for our Red Ruver World Literature Conference.  Gav e a great talk.  I have not read Segou.  I will.  I am white, but of mixed heritage, and we have always thought that some of our ancestors were from Mali-family talk, no evidence.

                          Someone suggested diving the Caribbean to you.  Is that why you are going to Dakar-- a little Plongee?
                            • Re: How to not retire
                              psedlak

                              I am not sure where the suggestion to go to the Caribbean and go diving came from. My one experience with diving was in Honduras, where I dove off the Bay Islands. I was greatly disappointed. I felt as if I were in a zoo, but underneath the water. One of the most underwhelming experiences I have had. I had about as much fun off the coasts of Kenya and eastern Indonesia snorkelling.

                               

                              I have friends and property in Dakar, am on the board of directors of the social marketing organization there and am thinking of doing the Dakar-Goree 5 km. swim again this year, after a two-year hiatus. In general, after the East Coast of Africa, I do not see why people go to the beaches there. It is similar to the experience I had skiing in the Northeast US. I skied for the first time at Squaw Valley, so a cloudy day in New Hampshire skiing on what I thought of as ice was a bit of a come-down.

                               

                              I don’t suppose being an embassy dependent is what is stifling so much as not working. There are some intelligent people at the embassy, but at a certain point they become so apolitical that people spend time guessing who they might have voted for. Part of this repression is due to the USG regulation about State not permitting expression of political affiliation inside the embassy. This spreads to life outside the embassy.

                               

                              You should certainly see Mali some time, especially the mosques along the Niger and the Dogon villages below the Bandiagara escarpment. The latter is a UNESCO World Heritage site and deserves to be.



                              “White with mixed heritage” mystifies me, when you add that there were ancestors from Mali. I am Czech-German-Croatian-French-Irish with possible Catholic-Hussite and Jewish forbears, brought up as Catholic.

                               

                              I am very ill at ease in these public fora. I share different things with different people and am incapable of not saying something that someone will not find offensive.

                                • Re: How to not retire
                                  auwekamanu
                                  I am from Boston originally, but except for a house in Kennebunk, Maine, abandoned New England after college.  My great grandmother was born a slave on her father's farm in Georgia.  He was Irish and her mother, who had nine other living children in her shortr life, was one of my great great grandfather's slaves.  The kids all went north early and were raised Catholic.  The boys went into the priesthood, the girls to convents. My grandmother and two siblings were the only ones to marry.  They lived in Irish neighborhoods in Boston and did well.  They claimed their mother was from Gao or Mali-- We don't know if it is true.  An odd family indeed.

                                  No offense here.  I wonder about retirement sometimes.  The thought of it scares me.
                                    • Re: How to not retire
                                      psedlak
                                      Dear auwekamanu, Any way we can continue this discussion off this site? I am at psedlak@stanfordalumni.org if you wish.
                                      • Re: How to not retire
                                        OlderThanDirt
                                        First TIAA serves a very Specialized group of people. I tend to be conservative in most aspects. If you are in the general area of 55, then I would look at setting up a business or 2, on the Internet, either soft goods or hard goods
                                        For SOFT GOODS (something than can be electronically downloaded after payment)  such as articles, books, HOW to"s, I would look at Sitesell, they have a very good program. Costs about $30.00 a month, cheaper by the year. This a do-it yourself way. You can also pay for some one to help, costs depend on how much help you want or need. They also run specials, 2 for 1, at most holidays in US.

                                        If you want to do hard goods(chairs,camping equipment) thru them that gets a bit more complicated. That can be done.

                                        Generate money coming in, aside from job. Internet businesses can be run from anywhere in the world!!
                                          • Re: How to not retire
                                            jls
                                            Have you actually sold any soft goods yourself?  Were you successful?
                                              • Re: How to not retire
                                                OlderThanDirt
                                                A short answer to your question is NO. It was just an IDEA on how someone with expertise, Green stuff, or other things could generate income by writing a booklet, on some subject, do a blog using Wordpress or some other blogging software.

                                                My wife makes Gold Jewelry we are working on putting it up on the internet. We live in the PI. Tried to get her a bank account in a local bank for almost 8 months. Was not able to, took me a half hour to get one in my name.