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Barry CoeWEB

Community Columnist Barry Coe

Retirement? Yes. Politics? No thanks.

The experts advise that retirement is on par emotionally with a death in the family or a divorce. Fortunately, I have never felt that my job was my life and my identify has always been distinct from any of the jobs I had along the way.

As a result, I have found the retirement/reinvention experience warm, reflective and not negative in any fashion. In the two months since my formal retirement from Mission Services, I have not experienced any regret or longing to return to my former employer, nor felt any sense of diminished worth. Perhaps it can be best described as a feeling of contentment and happiness at a fulfilling and diversified work career.

Rising to make coffee for my wife every morning at 6:30 a.m. remains a part of my daily ritual as Susan continues to work and keep me in the posh lifestyle to which I have become accustomed. The experts advise that a routine is important, with daily objectives. I have communication protocols whereby I access my computer 9–5 on weekdays, but I carry no mobile nor access the laptop on the weekend.

One of the amusing things to unfold has been the proposals from politicians and would-be politicians seeking my communications advice in the upcoming elections. I respect the personal commitment and hard work it takes to commit oneself to public office, whereby the media and public can scrutinize your every action.

Although I have helped out in the past with political campaigns, I have decided to pass the  torch this time around to a new generation of communicators who are not jaded by the spin doctors and sound-bite experts who are so much a part of the contemporary political manipulation industry.

The era of the professional politician is upon us with no thought of another career or term limits. In looking back when I was in college, I cannot recall anyone that I knew who said he or she was going to be a professional politician.

But today there appears a distinct process. First run for Board of Education, build your profile and avoid any controversy. Cost is minimal and most people don’t vote for trustee. Next step is municipal and then the road to Queen’s Park and then Ottawa and the silver-plated pension.

I can still recall when municipal politics was a part-time job and the remuneration was minimal, but those days are long gone.

Besides, it is much more fun to cast stones from the sidelines than have a direct impact upon the success or failure of a candidate.

Best of all in my reinvention experience has been my board work with the CHML/Y108 Children’s Fund and the Canadian Club of Hamilton. Dedicated people, who want nothing in return.

In the months ahead I will delve into the garden more and enjoy my first summer as a retiree.

Who knows, maybe by the fall I will reconsider my political options and bring more absurdity to the political process.

Barry Coe is recently retired from careers in  the charity sector and the media.

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