Highest school level: College/University degree
Social background: After secondary school I served two years as an officer in the army. Upon graduation in physics I joined a major oil company (see below) until my (early) retirement when I was fifty. This gave me an excellent opportunity to fulfill an old desire and I studied astronomy, which I completed with a doctorate. Now, at 76, I still enjoy working in astronomy and spend time on my other hobbies. I am still married and have the occasional pleasure to assist the children of my two sons while they prepare for their school exams.
Career: Started in research in a team which developed automated warehousing and automated lube-oil blending and then helped with disseminating these concepts to the group’s operating companies and assisted with the design and realisation thereof in various countries. To get more ‘field’ experience I became distribution manager for lubricants (packed and bulk) of a major operating company. Then followed a period in another major operating company, where I was first responsible for health, safety and environment and then became the manager for its domestic natural gas interests, where I worked closely together with the national gas distribution company, the government and another oil company. Finally I joined the company’s central office as a member of the major projects division and worked among other activities on the realisation of a (joint venture) oil refinery in China. During my period as an astronomy student, I became the “spiritual father” of a new, all digital, receiver for radio pulsar signals and as project scientist I served on the team which designed, built and installed the machine at a national radio astronomy obervatory.
Retirement plans: Already wholly retired.
Forced into retirement: No
Retirement preparation: I did not prepare for my retirement. During the China project there was an excellent opportunity to leave the company with a very attractive early retirement scheme.
Describe typical day: I enjoy working on my astronomy, electronics and computing hobbies.
At present I am working on new methods for detecting very weak signals from radio pulsars, designing and building (and sometimes repairing) radios and amplifiers and programming computers for fun.
Look forward to retirement: No
Expectations: See above
Hobbies: Yes, computing and electronics, as well as sailing, hiking, camping and hunting, and spending quality time with my family and dogs.
Continue to work: Only in the astronomy part of it.
Retraining: It was my idea to study astronomy upon my retirement. As a PhD-student I did not have to pay for my tuition. It took me more than four years to get my PhD.
What would you change about second career: Nothing.
Encounter ageism: Judging from my career path and increasing seniority, I guess that I did alright in that oil company.
Did you relocate: No
Live near family: Yes and No
Advice for others: Assuming that you have enough attractive hobbies or other (planned) challenging activities and the means to support yourself: DO IT!
I couldn’t have done any of my work and studies without the invaluable help of my wife, family, friends and co-workers.
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