Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Where I am starting from

I sauntered towards retirement, crossed the line at midnight June 30, 2008, and am now Professor emerita of chemistry. I was a faculty member at Hampshire College from the time it opened in the fall of 1970, and found it to be an extremely rewarding, exciting, and challenging place to be every day.

An essay by Richard Harries (retired Bishop of Oxford) on the BBC’s Religion and Ethics “Thought for theDay” discussed work. He llisted five goals that one might hope for in work - whether it be done for pay, love, or both.
  • work that is fulfilling and uses one’s gifts
  • work that one believes actually does some good for others
  • work that enables one to live reasonably (which begs a whole lot of questions)
  • work that gives one time to be a parent and friend, pursue some leisure activity and serve the wider community
  • work which is recognized and validated by society.
Hampshire College, specifically the School of Natural Science, has offered wonderfully satisfying work - I would even call it vocation - and it has fulfilled all of the criteria listed by Bishop Harries.

In a nutshell, I flunked retirement in the first six months. As a retired teacher, I discovered that I had lost an important intellectual, scientific and social community. My job as a retired faculty member is to find new communities and activities as well as renew old ones as appropriate, fulfilling and useful as my work at Hampshire.

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