Why I’m coming out of retirement

~Tuesday~  I am thrilled that the same team at the same company at which I was working when I retired is welcoming me back with open arms. I’ll be working again on the Content Team at Red Hat in downtown Raleigh.

I’ve always said, “If you have to work, this is the place—and the people with whom—to do it.” Actually, more accurately, that’s the way I’d write it. The way I’d say it is, “If you have to work, this is the place and the people to do it with.” (FWIW, Grammar Girl says it’s okay to end a sentence with a preposition these days.)

My primary responsibilities as a marketing communications specialist will be to:

  • Partner with multiple marketing teams to craft engaging marketing content
  • Work with data analysts, SEO, and on-site search experts and UX teams to identify clear goals for marketing content
  • Connect with content contributors across Red Hat to create consistent experiences for prospects and customers
  • Apply my unique skills and insights to take on passion projects that make Red Hat better
  • Be an advocate for the Red Hat brand and voice
  • Consult with marketing and content team members to monitor content performance and suggest improvements

In other words, it’s the exact same job I had before as a web content editor.

Naturally, the first question everyone I’ve told this to asks is, “Why are you doing this?” There are two main reasons that I’m returning to the workforce:

  1. After fighting for so many years to have the same rights as straight people, Bob and I got married and our healthcare premiums tripled.

    As retired, single guys each using the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2015, we both enjoyed a tax credit on our monthly premiums that amounted to a 50% discount. So, in total, we paid about $600 a month for healthcare, which while not fantastic, was manageable.

    However, if you’re married, the ACA requires you to file jointly for coverage, so we did that for our 2016 coverage, only to find out that our joint retirement income puts us above the level at which we can get any tax credits at all.

    In conjunction with that, these headlines loomed last year: ACA premiums in NC to rise sharply in 2016, and that’s exactly what happened to ours. That, together with our loss of tax credits, our monthly premium went from $600 a month to $1800 a month. And that was for 60/40 coverage, which was less coverage than we had last year.

    We just weren’t willing to pay that, especially since I knew that Red Hat’s coverage (for employee + spouse) is about $188 a month, and I so don’t mind working there.

  2. My dad’s passing in September has reduced my mother’s income by 75%—so much so that her monthly expenses now significantly exceed her monthly income, and I’d like to be able to help her out a little while I still have some earning power.

    She has enough money to cover about another 8 years, withdrawing from savings each month in order to meet her expenses. She’s 84 years old, but her mother lived to be 98 or 99. When she does run out of money, she can go on Medicaid, but that most likely means she’d have to move from the assisted living place she’s currently in, because they don’t take Medicaid there. And it’s a nice place, and she likes it there.

    So, working again now, will put me in a better position to help her out down the road, if it comes to that. And in the meantime, I can spot her a few bucks for bingo every now and then.

My official rehire date is Monday, February 15, but I’ve been freelance editing (two days a week, through a contracting company) for this same team at Red Hat since I retired in October of 2014, so I’ve already ramped up my work back to 40 hours a week. But on that Monday, I’ll convert back to a regular employee and my benefits will begin again.

The team has been so affirming in welcoming me back, and I’m forever grateful to my manager for taking me back. Red Hat is such a great company to work for and the Content Team is the best team there to work on!

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