(Q.1) WHEN MY CHILDREN STARTED high school I went back to work as office manager for an oral surgeon. It required an hour train commute each way, but the doctor and I became very good friends as well as respected colleagues and see each other outside of the office with our families. It's been 25 years, and now that I'm 65 I want to retire because I'm tired, But my husband still works, and my children are grown, so I don't know what I would do with myself. I don't have hobbies and I don't play cards or go out to lunch. Also, I now run two offices for my boss, with a small staff in each. He says he could never do this without me, and I think he's right. Should I retire, and if so, how can I do that?
(A)THERE'S A LIMIT TO LOYALTY and, when your boss' needs are weighed against your well-being-your well-being must win. If you are tired you can't continue to do the same obviously wonderful work you've done all these years. If you have staff in those offices, you must train them to take over all the jobs you do. No one is indispensable-not even you. Your retirement may also motivate your husband to think about doing the same, so you can spend some quality together before it's too late. And it's a strange thing about retirement. If you're open to change, most people find they are busier in retirement than they ever were while working, even though they don't play cards, do lunch, or have hobbies. Often community volunteerism fills the gap in many rewarding ways.