Newsletter | Jan/Feb 2022
by Mui Ho
Many of our members are thinking about retirement, already into their retirement or determinedly un-retired. There are options. Retirement is a big transition in our lives. The unknown can be a bit scary because we have had a regular work life for thirty to forty years. We value our work, our contribution to society, our relationship with clients and consultants as well as our day to day working relationship with a group of colleagues. Losing all these, for many of us, can be rather devastating. Some of us worry about losing status or respect if we are no longer a partner in the firm or the CEO or the professor in the university. Since everyone's situation is different, there is no one good way to retire, but exploring options and planning ahead is the key for this transition. I am very glad that a few OWA members are sharing their thoughts on the subject in this issue of the newsletter.
My concept of retirement is a transition to fewer hours on architecture and more time on personal interests. I have always split my time between teaching and working as an architect, so when I retired from teaching in UC Berkeley in 2008 I was able to continue my architectural work but gradually reducing my work load. The transition was rather seamless. I will continue the pro bono work for the college in China that I have been involved with for the last 25 years. I am devoting more time to my garden, our farm in Napa, singing in our community chorus, numerous exercise groups, and volunteering in the community. Some activities unfortunately, are now relegated to zoom. I can also be more judicious in what architectural projects to take on. A small shophouse project in Pondicherry, India, allowed me to explore another part of the world and learned about a new place. I considered myself fortunate to have this combination of working and traveling.
The side benefit of having projects in Asia was that it allowed me to combine visiting family in Hong Kong with work. Unfortunately, with the pandemic, I have not been to my job site in China for two years and have yet to see the latest finished academic building.
I would love to hear more from our membership on how many of us transition into a different phase of our life.