I have now reached that season in life that many people dream about … retirement from corporate life. Yes, I’m loving it.
I started my career in 1968 upon graduating from Winona State and immediately joining IBM in Rochester. The next 40 years brought many changes in the computer industry, at IBM, and in my life. I had a variety of roles in operating systems development, including programmer, line manager, and project manager on the IBM Rochester family of mid-range systems (System/3, System/38, AS/400, iSeries, System i). My last 8 years were the most satisfying as I managed several key programs that supported ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) that deliver industry applications that ran on the IBM mid-range systems.
In the late ’90’s, IBM became a big proponent of PMI (Project Management Institute) certified project managers and made a large investment in establishing it as a profession. After a careful assessment of my strengths (planning, organizing, coordinating, and working with others), this new career path was an excellent fit for me. I proceeded to earn my PMP certification in 1998 and a Masters in Management in 2001. IBM uses the PMP certification as the basis for its own highly respected certification program. After managing several large ISV projects and meeting other stringent requirements, I became an IBM Certified Senior Project Manager in 2004.
As my 40th anniversary started approaching and I had thoughts of retirement, I knew that I needed something else to move unto. Several years earlier, through a PMI Minnesota Outreach event held in Rochester, I met another Fissure Guide. This led me to contact Fissure to explore using my project management experience in helping others to develop their skills in managing projects. After several meetings, playing with the simulation software and seeing their teaching materials and approach, I was convinced that I wanted to be part of this team. I have found being a guide and meeting people from other industries to be rewarding and just plain fun.
Retirement has provided me with several opportunities to serve others: First, as a board member for the Rochester A Better Chance Foundation. It is a non-profit that provides high potential, inner-city, minority high school students with an opportunity to live in Rochester and receive an excellent education and a “better chance” to succeed in life. As part of my board role, I chair the committee responsible for maintaining the 100+ year old house used to house the students. Last summer, I led over 100 volunteers to make important improvements. Second, I lead the women’s mentoring program at my church.
Retirement also needs to provide fun. Along with spending time with my two grown children and enjoying traveling, gardening, and sewing, I discovered ballroom dancing; this has become my “fun time” passion. Last year, I competed in several local and regional competitions; plans for this year include a national competition.