I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned

Richard Haiduck Interview: A New Spin on (Un)Retirement

Diana Landau | January 19, 2021
Richard Haiduck was Carl’s guest on the podcast this week. Richard is a former Life Sciences Exec who just published his new book, Shifting Gears: 50 Baby Boomers Share Their Meaningful Journeys in RetirementThe book is based on interviews with retirees who share how they are shifting gears in their (un)retirement. Sometimes they shift smoothly, sometimes they grind the gears, and often they take some time to find their groove. The stories reveal the rich abundance of “second life” adventures, from the exotic to the mundane. It’s about the joys, challenges, and inspirations that are a part of the journey in this next stage of life.  
The interview started out extremely well when Carl asked his guest, as an icebreaker, if he knew anything about Pickleball. (Carl asks this question to every single guest, and so far he was 0-13.) Richard not only knew all about it, he has a court on his property(!) and plays often with his grandkids. So excited to get his very first positive response, Carl talked about how pickleball is the great equalizer, anyone can play together, it’s great exercise and super fun.
Now to the core of the interview—Richard grew up in Grand Rapids, MI and attended Miami University in Ohio. Even as a 7-year old, Richard knew he wanted to be an author. He wrote every day for one year, writing all kinds of fiction. Then he just stopped, wanting to focus on other kid-things like riding his bike, hanging out with friends, etc. A couple decades later, Richard turned that laser focus to the life sciences, working as a CEO for start-up bio-tech companies, their mission to discover breakthroughs in medicine.
After many years of living in Singapore and New Zealand, Richard then decided to pivot, setting up his own consulting practice. He wanted to share his knowledge and lessons learned to help new CEO’s of bio-tech start ups. He had two criteria for mentoring clients: “I worked with people I liked and I liked what they were working on.” Carl agreed that is one of the advantages of being an entrepreneur. He added, “You get to choose your employees AND choose your clients.”
Richard charted a wise and gradual course into (un)retirement life. Every year, over a span of 5 years, he began reducing his client load by 20% and adding a retirement activity. The goal was to phase out of work and ease into (un)retirement without that hard shift from “Monday you’re the boss, and Tuesday it all stops.” Richard and Carl acknowledged that depending on your profession, it’s not so easy for some people to do it that way.
Now fully in (un)retirement, Richard still cycles 3,000 miles a year, among other pursuits. As Richard talks with his friends and his network, he noticed a familiar thread. They were doing all these amazing things in retirement but not necessarily sharing about it. His desire to become an author, from all those years ago, came back. He wanted to write a book about their experiences to share with others. “I had two criteria for the book. 1) the process was enjoyable, and 2) over time, it had to feel like a useful book to people.”
A “relaxed intensity” theme emerged from these stories. Many people could still become deeply immersed in something, but in a more relaxed way. To explain it further, Richard said, “It’s like you take on something that’s difficult and a challenge without ripping your insides out about it.  You just can’t do that in your 30’s.” The end result is (un)retirees are combining joy with a sense of purpose.
Richard’s (un)retirement advice:
 •     I used to be somebody, I’m still somebody—just different now.
 •     Before you make the decision to retire, be sure you are able to identify what you are going to.
 •     Try it on and see, if it doesn’t work, move on!
 •     Define what this new freedom really means to you.
To learn more about Richard Haiduck: visit his website.
For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #14 with Richard Haiduck.
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.
Tags:    blog   interview   cycling   author   retirement   advice  

Chris Farrell Interview: Push Back on Boomer Stereotypes in Our Economy

Diana Landau | January 12, 2021
Carl interviewed Chris Farrell this week. Chris has an impressive resume: economist, economics editor of Marketplace Money, a radio show host on American Public Media, a radio host on Minnesota Public Radio, and columnist for the Star Tribune and PBS Next Avenue. Chris has also written five best-selling books, most recently Purpose and a Paycheck: Finding Meaning, Money and Happiness in the Second Half of Life.
Chris has studied and reported on economic trends for decades. For years people speculated on the Boomer generation and what would happen as they age. 
FACT: Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will celebrate their 65th birthday every single day until 2030.
Chris combined scholarly research with firsthand reporting to debunk the popular myth that an aging population is a burden on the economy. Instead, he found that people in the second half of life could be as creative, innovative and entrepreneurial as their younger peers. “The Boomer big shift is to starting a business, as solopreneurs or micropreneurs. They have knowledge, experience, typically they have contacts—and it doesn’t cost much to start a business these days. Whether they are forced to start a business or it’s something they want to do, it’s becoming a significant trend in our economy.”
In his youth, Chris went to Stanford and after graduation became a Merchant Marine, working all over the world for a year before attending the London School of Economics. Carl reminisced about his 20’s in San Francisco and how exciting it was to start up his first magazine. Chris agreed, noting that people need to lighten up on a lot of the young people in their mid-20’s. “You don’t have to decide your career early on. You can experiment, you can shift, and actually most people I know may have had some sort of idea what they wanted to do, but would end up doing something very different.”
Over the course of his career, Chris has been a columnist for Businessweek, The New York Times, Kiplinger's and many others. “One of the things many of us have learned over the course of our careers is what you do—it’s important you enjoy it and like it all and a lot of that comes from the people you are surrounded with; Are they smart, are they engaging, do they care? …..Be around people you want to be with!”
Some of Chris’s tips on contemplating (un) retirement:
1. Carve out some daily time for introspection. 
2. Then go to your network and ask them what they think. Your network knows you and cares about you and will help you hone in on your strengths.
3. This is not a “one and done” decision. That never works. Have that experimental mindset.
4. Realize the significance of (un) retirement and entrepreneurship. 
“I’m so impressed with how creative people are and what they end up doing,” added Chris. “One of the most heartening economic trends I've seen in our economy is multi-generational start-ups—it’s a wonderful trend.” 
To learn more about Chris Farrell, visit his website.
For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #12 with Chris Farrell.
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.
Tags:    blog   interview   Chris Farrell   unretirement   boomer  

Mark Shaiken Interview: Figuring Out What You Really Want!

Diana Landau | November 23, 2020
Mark Shaiken talks with Carl about what comes next after a big career as a successful attorney. Then Mark took his life in an entirely different direction. He has just released a new book, “And... Just Like That: Essays on a life before, during and after the law”.
The questions started in his 50’s-- “Well, what else can I do?” The answers were not so easy for him then. “It’s sort of a loaded question,” said Mark. “The truth is there are lots of things we can do.” Carl agreed that sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in something when you're pretty good at it. Decades can fly by.
Mark grew up in Queens and his family was on the move quite a bit as a child-- 11 times in 17 years. Mark said the main impact from that experience was that it was hard to make friends, only to move on again. In high school, he was envious of his friends who already knew what they wanted to do with their lives after graduation. 
He drove a forklift for awhile, still unclear about what to do. He became engaged and took the law school admission on a whim. He figured law school would give him 3 more years to figure out what he really wanted to do. Mark recognized a theme in his life, like “kicking the can,” (which in legal terms means “postponement.”) He never imagined then that he would actually become a practicing attorney.
Near graduation, a local bankruptcy judge was looking for a law clerk. Mark had to go back to school to actually take the bankruptcy course, but then worked for the judge. After a few years, unsolicited job offers kept coming and he and his wife moved to Houston and he accepted a position with a large firm. 
Mark and his family eventually moved to Kansas City, where he practiced for 28 years in “the big firm life”. Law was all encompassing, and with the internet came 10pm texts from opposing counsel. Most of his time was not his own. As he pondered his future, he humorously started calling it the "afterlife" because he thought he'd have to die to get out of law.
"I knew I wanted to retire to something, not from something," Mark said. He realized he had been "kicking the can" in his career choices and decided to do it differently this time. He allowed himself to dream, read career pivot books but most didn't resonate. Then he read the book "Your Next Season." The book made so much sense to him he called the author at his home and they had a wonderful talk.  The author had formed a company to help people during career transitions and Mark became a client. "I give myself credit for going outside myself for help when I needed it." It was a game changer for him.
Today Mark is an amazing(!) sports and nature photographer, while serving the Denver community on several Boards. One non-profit, Think 360 Arts for Learning introduces children from poor neighborhoods to the arts. Statistics show these kids are more likely to go onto higher education. Mark also teaches photography to veterans with PTSD.
Mark's (Un)Retirement advice: 
  • The plan: "Some people retire, then figure it out. That may work, but it's not for me. I need something more structured."
  • Joining a Board or charity: "Fit is important. You have to believe in the mission."
  • Life tip: "Don't ever believe there's only one thing you can do!"
To learn more about Mark Shaiken, visit his website.
For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #11 with Mark Shaiken.
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.
Tags:    blog   interview   Mark Shaiken   photography   charity   unretirement  

Deborah McColloch Interview: The Philadelphia Story: “Do-Gooder” Does GREAT!

Diana Landau | November 13, 2020
Carl had the opportunity to catch up with his long-time friend Deborah McColloch -- who he discovers "really was somebody!" So many of us understand the importance of community service and want to do it “some day.” Philadelphia’s Deborah McColloch devoted decades of her career to affordable housing development, at the OHCD (Office of Housing and Community Development.) She is still going strong in (un)retirement, devoting much of her time to serving on Boards that make her community a better place to live. Her career was dedicated, hard work combined with ribbon-cuttings, ground-breakings, a $100 million budget  and a staff of 75 to manage, plus definitely some masterful political maneuvering.
Carl met Deborah back in the 1970’s when both were day camp counselors for the Shaker Recreation Department in Cleveland. They had, in Carl’s words, maybe too much fun? (Carl and Deborah have been long friends and recently reconnected again.) Deborah’s parents were teachers and inspired her commitment. “I have always had this passion for community,’ she says. Her three brothers eventually pursued careers in community service as well.
In 1978 Deborah started as summer intern and eventually worked her way up to OHCD Director , a position appointed by the Mayor. Deborah not only worked with many diverse groups (often with opposing agendas) but also negotiated between the Mayor and the City Council to get things done. It’s a difficult job, and possessing huge amounts of patience is key. “In this field you need to be flexible. You need to like people and like interacting with people. While the rewards may not be monetary, they are soulful.”
Every four years usually meant a different administration and the opportunity to evaluate whether she wanted to keep doing the same work. In 2015, she decided it was time to do something new. “I didn’t have a specific plan, but I had things I definitely wanted to pursue, in addition to my hobbies, like quilting.  Before spending time ticking off items on her bucket list, she took a break. “Go on vacation as soon as you retire. It creates a clear space between work and starting the next thing.” After a 3-week trip to Hawaii, Deborah came back and tackled her bucket list, including attending Philadelphia Phillies' spring trainings, a trip the Grand Canyon, and even singing songs with her daughter on the actual Greek island featured in the movie, “Mama Mia.”
Deborah now serves on an impressive list of community Boards: The Neighborhood Gardens Trust, New Kensington Community Development Corporation, Community Ventures and St. Laurentius School. She is still working hard to create housing and neighborhood services for those in need, as well as urging thoughtful land preservation. Deborah’s three most powerful words to describe this new phase of her life: “Purposeful, creative and….contented!”
 Wise(un)retirement advice from Deborah:
  • “It’s important to think about how you want to spend your time, energy and creativity in retirement. Think of ways to contribute without sitting in long boring meetings.”
  • “When volunteering, it is very easy to get swept up into doing other people’s grunt work. Be selective. Are they good people who are committed to the community?”
  • “It’s a huge life transition to retire (or do something new), like when you become a parent. Your career is your identity. How do you want to redefine your identity now, for yourself and to others?
  • “Remember that you have a lot to give AND have a lot of experience. You have value!”
To learn more about Deborah McColloch and one of the many non-profits she works with, go to New Kensington Community Development Corporation: visit their website.
For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #10 with Deborah McColloch.
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.
Tags:    blog   interview   Debb McColloch   Deborah McColloch   philadelphia   housing   volunteer  

Mike Krukow Interview: Winning Strategies for Life!

Diana Landau | November 09, 2020
Jon_Miller_and_Mike_Krukow_at_2012_Giants_victory_parade.jpg: Bruce Washburnderivative work: Arbor to SJ, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia CommonsThe one-and-only Mike Krukow was a guest on the podcast this week. Carl is a HUGE San Francisco Giants fan and interviewing one of his personal heroes was a major thrill! Mike was not only a star pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and then the SF Giants, but after his playing days were over, he eventually found his way to broadcasting, becoming one half of one of the most famous sports broadcasting duos in the country.


Growing up in San Gabriel, California, Mike always wanted to be a baseball player. As a kid he was surrounded by baseball, becoming a batboy and playing in baseball games every single day, up and down his neighborhood street. “Kids talked about becoming blue collar or white collar workers when they grew up—I knew I wanted to be a  ”no-collar” worker!” he laughed.


Carl asked Mike where he gets his positive energy. (You can even hear it through his broadcasts, one of the many reasons he’s so loved in SF.) Mike said his mother was a nurse who never had a bad day. “She had the ability to pump people up, to be open and always engaged in the conversation. Our house was always the house where all the kids in the neighborhood hung out. It’s about being either half-full or half-empty—it’s your choice how you want to look at things.”


Mike last played baseball in 1989. That year the SF Giants competed in the World Series with a motley crew of players that weren’t even predicted to make the playoffs. Carl noted that podcast guest Joan Ryan has a new book “Intangibles, Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry” that was partly inspired by that team in 1989. “We loved each other. We all bought into the concept of giving all that we had for each other every day,” Mike agreed.


Mike had 3 surgeries on his shoulder and his pitching arm was shredded. So after that winning season, Manager Roger Craig offered Mike a position as a pitching coach. Traveling with the team, coaches often worked 12-hour days. Mike turned it down. He had 4 kids and his wife was pregnant with the fifth. At each point in his life when he pivoted to something new, Mike made family the priority. Instead of more baseball, he and a college friend opened a restaurant. “Perfect timing—the recession!” Mike joked.


He decided he had to learn about everything, from being a busboy, waiting tables, hosting, prep-cook, finance and more. Mike said it was an invigorating time—failure was on the doorstep every day. “I have an incredible amount of respect for the business owners who are willing to risk everything to run their business and create jobs for other people.”


Mike became a full time broadcaster in 1994. He’s known for his deep knowledge of the game and his tremendous humor, and is a 7-time Emmy Award winner. In 2014, Mike was diagnosed with IBM (inclusion body myositis) and although he does not travel with the team anymore, you can count on Mike and his partner Duane Kuiper broadcasting from the Oracle Park studios during the baseball season.


Mike’s advice will resonate with I Used to be Somebody listeners:


“Don’t EVER retire! What’s so wonderful about life is that there are so many new surprises; you just have to look for them. Go out and do something that is creative and fun. Go someplace where you can do it with other people. Don’t just be content with sitting on the couch. That’s where it all ends. If there’s anything I’ve learned in this life, it’s that there are so many new, wonderful things to explore.”


It’s pretty evident that nothing is going to slow down Mike Krukow. He is living his moment!


For more info about Mike Krukow and how to donate to the Northern Nevada Children's Cancer Foundation, visit this website.
For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #9 with Mike Krukow.


Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the I Used to Be Somebody weekly blog.
Tags:    blog   podcast   interview   giants   mike krukow   baseball   unretirement