Two months ago, I handed in my hard hat, my Hi Vis vest and steel-capped boots, walked out of the office and away from my structural engineering career. Those items handed back were physical yet symbolic, but asking to have my name removed from the Chartered Professional Engineer register had a true note of finality to it.
(Before I continue, a word about this picture. I did not wear ill-fitting suits. My hard hat was white. And I did not work on multi-storey building projects. However, I have taken my hard hat off for the last time, and it was the sunset of my career.)
I’m now trying to decide how to describe my status when people ask me. Am I "retired before fifty, and you can do it too", or am I retired in the manner of a professional athlete ("My body was telling me it was time to go" or "I want to spend more time with my family")?
Or am I just unemployed?
Part of me wants to show off. Retiring young is not an option for many, and nobody needs to know that I still need an income. But the athlete analogy has cachet. Plus, are there any real differences between a professional engineer and a professional athlete? No obvious ones that I can think of.
So, here I am. Walked away from a quarter-century-long career that took me places and made me a (ahem) wealthy person - I’ve decided to go with the athlete analogy - and now I’m tapping away on the keyboard to drum up business.
Why did I do it?
One word. Passion.
Passion may not have been the driver for my decision to retire from professional engineering. An absence of passion may have had something to do with it. But ever since I handed in my resignation letter, my passion for writing became the motivator for the establishment of this enterprise I’m launching.
It’s why I will (eventually) get out of bed this afternoon.
My name is Rollin Kennedy, Word Engineer. I provide copy-editing, proofreading, and writing services to the engineering, business and academic sectors. I enjoy writing, and hope to convey that through my blog posts. I will occasionally employ dry or deadpan humour in my writing. So, if you think I'm joking, you're probably right. If you don't think it's funny, don't worry about it.