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In January, 2021 I “semi-retired”; that is, I began working three days per week instead of full-time. And I love it.

My stress level is way down. Part of that is due to the fact that I no longer have a management position - I am strictly an engineer now. But most of it is due to not having to cram all the household chores and non-work activities into evenings and weekends. I have more time to devote to other interests - woodworking, music, reading, cooking and baking. It’s also nice in this plague time to go to the store or other places when they are relatively uncrowded and less risky, and therefore less anxiety-inducing.

To be clear, I have less disposable income than I did when I was full-time. But the trade-off for improved quality of life is more than worth the reduction.

Time-management is a challenge that I haven’t yet overcome. Everyone I talked to who retired said that it was a challenge at first. When you have a lot of unstructured time, you tend to think “oh, I have plenty of time to accomplish X”, and you wind up pushing it off until later (at least I do). After a few days you realize you haven’t accomplished half of what you set out to. I’m still working on this.

I must acknowledge the enormous privelege I have in order to be semi-retired. I work in a field that is well-paid, so even though I make quite a bit less that I did when working full-time, I am still paid more than most Americans who work full-time. I own my house outright. And because I am 65, I have government-subsidized healh care. My employer was willing to allow me to step back from full-time work.

There is no reason why anyone can’t work less than full-time, other than the choices our society has made:

  • we (as a society) have chosen extreme income inequality
  • we have chosen to restrict housing, causing it to be very expensive
  • we have chosen to limit subsidized health care to a subset of the population.

This is nuts. And it must change.