“Downsized to self-employment” by Wendy W. Tedder


I was “downsized” at 62 in October of 2008.  I’ve never had trouble getting a job before and had never been downsized or fired before.  I have worked as a computer programmer, systems analyst, office manager, executive assistant, marketing assistant, and human resources manager, but have worked mainly for small firms for the CEO directly and have only once experienced what I believe every willing worker wants: appreciation.  Until now.

I do bookkeeping for several clients on Quickbooks Pro. Since I was not familiar with the program, I took a quick course in it to be sure I am competent, but it is similar to Excel and Access, using cells the contents of which are accessible and can be inserted into mathematical formulas to create numbers for the reports businesses need.  These are beautiful programs.  I have also used Excel to excess for salesmen keeping track of sales by item, customer, and month for commission reconciliation and producing pivot charts to assist in analyzing and forecasting sales.

Organization is the platform for productivity and I love to organize.  I redesigned the office layout for one client tripling his usable workspace and making the flow through the office much more efficient.  He loves the result and I managed to keep the cost below $100 to him.  I have also reorganized people in offices, in one case improving profits with that one change by 400%.

And finally, I’m pretty good at making technology work.  Often my previous experience in solving these problems comes in handy, but sometimes it’s just time and patience that win day.  Being a good researcher and an engaging caller to the right vendor or representative in a vendor’s office is also very useful in getting over a mountain of trouble.

Last, but not least, I also work two afternoons/week as an after-school care worker at a private school within walking distance of my home.  The pay is surprisingly good and I have so much fun doing it that I find myself organizing my other clients so that I will not have to miss this interlude with the kids.

I currently make about 1/5 what I used to make, work about 1/4 the time I used to work and have about 500% more fun and 1,000% more appreciation.  I have had to “downsize” my lifestyle quite a bit and broaden my income sources (renting out a room in the house, doing odd jobs, etc.), but honestly, I haven’t had this much fun since I was five.  My clients love me and my work and tell me constantly how much they appreciate what I do – and I love doing it because I’m only doing what I’m really good at and I only work till I’m done with my “magic,” then I move on.  It’s a great life.  Of course, I am single and no one suffers my loss of income but me, but everyone I care about enjoys my joy in my life.  I would like to have more money, and I know how to get it – work more.  That choice is in front of me.  Even better, it is all mine.

Wendy W. Tedder
Definitely over 50 and out of work, but loving it.

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