I am thirty-something, a few years shy of being 40 years old. I decided to go ahead and officially retire. Now. Actually, I retired a few months ago.

I never really wanted to have a job. I never wanted to get married. I couldn't see myself having children. From my vantage point in the suburbs of Flint, Michigan, I saw absolutely nothing I wanted to replicate.

My parents struggled to send me to college. With a good education, I could get a good job. I, on the other hand, was incredibly relieved to find that college wasn't anywhere near as brain-numbing as high school.

I briefly considered getting a degree in computer science. In high school, I programmed better and faster than my peers. On an Algebra final exam, I proved I could solve algebraic equations better and faster than any of my peers at the University of Michigan-Flint. But, alas, I found my true love: sociology. Introduction to Sociology, Social Stratification, Urban Sociology, Race and Ethnicity...

I was in heaven.

My parents were mortified. (What can you DO with a degree in sociology?! )

I responded by saying, "I can get a PhD and be a college professor". I'll never forget the response I got to that statement. I felt like I was 5 years old and had just announced I was going to be a fireman when I grew up. (Neither of my parents ever completed a BA or BS degree. Apparently me attending graduate school seemed about as realistic a possibility as a trip to Pluto. Now might be a good time to mention that I have always been the "black sheep" of the family, breaking all of the rules.)

With all the talk of web 2.0 and health 2.0, I'm surprised we don't hear more about "work 2.0." What is work 2.0, anyway? I'm not completely sure, but I do know that it's probably similar to "unwork" (think "unconference") in the sense that hierarchy is considered an antiquated concept. Think cooperation. Mutual respect. Not what can you do for me, but what can we do together?

On that note, I am pleased to announce my retirement from "work 1.0."


  1. Wasn't the planet Pluto demoted? In any event, great to see your musings. Congrats for pulling the plug on Work 1.0 and entering a way of living while making a living.

    I did, in fact, go for the Ph.D. in Sociology and spent a decade entertaining undergraduates. From there, I did the Work 1.0 thing until I couldn't stand another nano-second of bureaucracy. Didn't seem to matter whether I worked in the public or private sector, a large organization or a small company. Even creative teams at the ad agency were constructed like military units and deployed to attack.

    I opted out of this lunacy in 1989 and while I've had years of white-knuckle terror about projected income or lack thereof, I cannot imagine going back into a "regular" work environment. As a consultant, I can build or jump into fabulous teams as necessary. I also have much more control over the food and nap situation.

  2. I hear you. I've done the academic thing and the non-profit thing. A few years ago, I switched over to the for-profit sector for a bit, convinced they could somehow "do it better." Nope.

    Now that I've spent some time in health care, I am completely convinced that if everyone tries to "fix" health care within the parameters of their current "paid work," we're not going to make much progress. There is work in health care that needs to be done, but people aren't necessarily ready to pay for it.

    Cheers to you Meredith, and all the other great people out there who have said "no, thanks" to traditional employment and redetermined "career paths."

    Don't even get me started on the recuperative powers of a nice afternoon nap...