Posted by Tim Stobbs on December 8, 2011
Well it was with a bit of shock last week that Jacob over at Early Retirement Extreme announced that he was unretiring and taking up a paid job again after being retired for a few years. Of course like any big decision like this some people consider it a betrayal and decided to call Jacob a hypocrite, which is well bloody stupid.
Perhaps people like that need a little refresher on terminology. Jacob is still financially independent, he has a enough income from his investments that he doesn’t need to work. While the term ‘retirement’ does typically indicate that you are no longer working at a paid job, it doesn’t prevent you from changing your mind and taking up a job. You don’t need the money, but you just might like the challenge of the work or perhaps the socialization.
Sydney over at Retirement: A Full Time Job took up a consulting job after a few years of full retirement as well and I don’t recall anyone calling her a hypocrite. Hell even for my own plans I’ve been honest that I will likely do some paid employment even when I no longer need to do so. Just likely not a lot of it.
In general there is a misunderstanding by some people that early retirement means they will never work another day of their lives at paid employment, which of course is an option. But the world isn’t divided into black and white, there is a lot of grey between full time work and full retirement. This can be a happy place for a lot of people, but again it doesn’t prevent a person from going back to full time work if they choose to do so.
The ultimate freedom of financial independence doesn’t limit your choices in life. Instead it grows those choices exponentially, including picking full time employment again. Nothing is off the table when you get to that point of your life. So if an unretirement works for you, go ahead and enjoy it. I personally like the grey world of part time work but that doesn’t prevent me from working three part time jobs (like I do now) after I quit my current day job. Heck, I might even manage to work out a further reduction of hours at my day job and stay on for a few more years. It’s a valid choice, even if you personally won’t make it.
So in the end, don’t judge other people’s choices. We rarely get to know everything that went into the choice, so while it might not make sense to you, it likely does to the person who made the choice. Jacob, enjoy your next adventure in life. While I won’t have picked that option, I’m not you. Good luck.