'I was very apprehensive about giving up work '

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'I was very apprehensive about giving up work '


Harry Browne describs his transition into retirement and how it has been easier than he had anticipated it would be.


Harry Browne


Trinity College Dublin




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I signed up for a Masters in Quality Management in 1998 at the age of 56 and completed it in 1999 but whilst in the process of writing my dissertation in 2000 I had a heart attack so I never finished the Masters completely. I had all my life been convinced that no matter what else I would die from it would not be a heart attack. One night I woke up with a severe pain in my chest, I later described it as a crushing tightness. I do not recommend a heart attack to anyone, and I would not wish it on my least favourite person. I returned to work after a few months on a short day basis and later took up a three day week but it was not satisfactory as I felt myself to be underutilised. Finally in 2006 I retired. I was very apprehensive about giving up work. Firstly I was not convinced that I could get by on a considerably reduced income, secondly my self - image was to a great degree connected to my perception of my importance in the workplace. I need not have concerned myself on either count. We had had a mortgage which started at ԣ2850.00 and finished up at _'27,000.00 after forty years of payments, this was due to the fact that we had extended the mortgage several times over its lifetime. Fortunately it was an endowment mortgage and the final value pretty much paid off the outstanding balance. My weekly outgoings were significantly reduced as a consequence. Also the effect of giving up work meant that other outgoings, such as petrol etc came down. Finally between my Construction Industry Federation pension and the Social Welfare payments I found myself better off than I had anticipated. On the second count my importance in the workplace must have been grossly exaggerated in my mind. I have had no communication from my former workmates or employers since I left in January 2006. This might have been a blow to my self - esteem but I have always adopted a practice of working myself into a position where my presence was not essential to the smooth running of the part of the organisation where I was working. This was not entirely altruistic, I always felt that there would be more opportunities for me if my position was such that I could advance to something better with the least disruption to the position being left behind. This policy has stood to me throughout my working life. I was made for retirement. Apart from a short stint consulting for a former customer I have not entered paid employment since leaving Kitform. I am fully occupied with amateur photography, babysitting, travel, gardening, reading - I read on average three or four novels per week, and generally enjoying myself.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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