Burrus: To Retire Or Not

Over the past year, employees have been bombarded with information about the expectation that the Postal Service would offer a $25,000 incentive to those eligible to retire. This message has been targeted at the more than 100,000 employees who have reached eligibility and it is assumed that an incentive will inspire them to pull the trigger and that they will exchange their postal badge for a ticket to leisure world. In building this expectation, has anyone talked to the 100,000 employees? The plan is that a financial incentive of modest amount will be sufficient for the employees to reorder their lives and that they will transit from being gainfully employed to retired.

As a retiree, I can share with those who are considering the offer that there is much more to leaving employment than the benefits achieved from $25,000. After taxes, Social Security, Medicare and other miscellaneous deductions, one can expect to net in the range of $20,000 additional income, spread over two years. That equals about $10,000 more in family income for a period of two years. That will not change your life or elevate you to a different tax bracket. You can pay a few nagging bills, like the MasterCard that got out of hand and maybe invest in a new car, but generally, $10,000 will not change your life. If you were disgruntled before receiving the incentive, you will be disgruntled after you spend it. Retirement is about changing a lifestyle from one that is structured around reporting to work and performing required tasks to one that is unstructured, unless you plan what you will do.

After 30 plus years engaged in a structured environment among friends and associates, if you plan to walk away, at the very least know what you are walking into. You cannot replace the inner satisfaction of performing a task that benefits others, and just knowing that you played a role in the transmission of messages from point A to point B brings subconscious rewards. The challenge of serving the public, petting the dog and the human interaction with other human beings who have a commonality of interest is a part of your working day that will not be automatically replaced with something that is rewarding, unless you plan. The benefits of employment go far beyond the value of a pay check that cannot be exchanged for two $10,000 payments. Putting it in perspective, you earn in excess of $10,000 per year today than you did 10 years ago and the added income did not change your life.

I was recently asked by a member on this website for my advice on the question to retire or not and my response was to not be influenced by incentives. The decision to work or retire transcends the income, extending to the question “retire to what?” When you retire, one does not cease to exist so the principle question is are you prepared to engage in other specific activities to fill your day? The decision to retire should include the desire to engage in specific tasks in lieu of postal employment. Do not believe that you will naturally transit to meaningful endeavors in place of your postal assignment unless you plan to watch Judge Judy and other means of visual entertainment as a substitute for structured employment. When life consists of watching television it has lost purpose. It would be a mistake for you to imagine that the two days off that is incorporated in your work week is an indicator of retirement. For most of us these are catch up days for activities deferred during the work week so retirement is not weekends multiplied. Retirement is not full time employment and you will find that in short order you will be caught up and what will you do for the balance of your life? Grandchildren are also often used as an excuse, but with time they mature and their circle of companions will soon exclude you and you will still be retired.

Over the past year, I have been engaged in writing a book about my life and experiences that has replaced those activities while employed. Now that it is at the publishing stage, I must shift gears and plan daily activities that will engage my mind and body beyond “existing.” I think I have a plan, do you?

Bill Burrus

Burrus Journal

37 thoughts on “Burrus: To Retire Or Not

  1. mr Burruss, you offer sound advice and I agree with your comments. I am 56 yrs old with 29 yrs of service and I am dying to be able to retire. I hope there is an early out option that includes me and any incentive would be great! I am a clerk and words can not express how much i abhor my postal job, management, some of my co-workers and the whole postal environment! I am grateful for my paycheck the last 29 yrs and I worked very hard to earn it. However, for a very long time, I have felt like I was incarcerated( my job) and now I am ready to be paroled. The postal work environment is so unhealthy to me mentally, I feel I have to go just to become mentally well again. It seems alot of postal employees hate their job and the working environment as much as I do! Please please let there be a voluntary early out for me this year! instead of having to wait until April 2013!

  2. APWU has been suffering a severe drop in membership therefore it makes sense that they would not be that enthusiastic (and maybe downright against) about a VERA being offered to an already dwindling lemming club. So yes, they will be happy supporting a VERA that no one in their right mind will take like one that offers no money or incentives. However, $20-25000 and 5 year add-on will devastate APWU and USPS knows it. So your option is to get while the getting’s good or keep paying dem dues and dues assessments especially the dues increase around the corner y’all ! Yes…I am a scab and proud of it ! So what? Ask me if I care?

  3. Well the main problem with alot of us is our facilities that we work at are CLOSING, and they are trying to make us drive 50 miles away, or more to another facility to work at. The stress that we are all under these days knowing that the postmaster general gang wants us GONE is unreal. I for one, will take an early out, only if I am getting my supplement. Otherwise how can you pay your bills? I dont think alot will take it.

  4. Nobody is saying the the money will “change their life”, Burrus. We want our life changed by not having report to a place that we absolutely cannot stand any longer… or to deal with assholes any longer. And I’m not referring only to stupidvisors. Their are stupid co-workers as well that I am anxious, very anxious to get out of my life once and for all!

  5. uhh, shut up. Tired of the assholes…it will change my life…for the better.

  6. Retirement is a PERSONAL option!!!! Everyone should consider how it will effect their families and their fiances. I do believe anyone who DOESNT have to work, probably WOULDNT. You should EDUCATE yourself on ALL that is available to you. The bottom line is to be comfortable with your PERSONAL decision. Just make an informed one. I discovered that the Postal Service has FAILED in providing ALL the approipate information to it’s employees concerning benefits. So don’t wait for them to tell you, find out for your self by doing some research. Mr. Burrus, I believe is simply saying PLAN!!!!! If you don’t plan, you, your family and your lifestyle will suffer in the end. Everyone has an opinion on what should be done, but no one faces your problems like you do. Just make an INFORMED decision based on ALL availabe information. To go or stay, it’s up to YOU!

  7. You suckers better go while you can, because when I get in you will all be minimum wage slobs like the rest of My America! All Power to Corporate America!

  8. STOP blaming other people for your miseries!! As far as I am concerned Mr. Burrus had the best contracts negotiated for all of us!! Those that keep complaining and blaming others instead of themselves are those that can never be pleased or happy with their lives.

  9. Im retiring in a little over 2 months. I have over 35 years and don’t care if there is an incentive or not. When I walk out that door for the last time, I will NEVER look back. Having my health is more important than a lousy $20,000 or $25,000. I plan on enjoying every bit of my life that is left, and my great pension will allow me to do that.


  11. Mr Burrus should not be the person writing anything about retirement. This poor leader we had cost me $15,000 in early retirement incentive because he failed to inform local unions that this was about to be offered. I retired and two weeks later the news of the incentive came out. This guy is a loser and walked away from the members of the APWU when things got tough. We don’t need to hear your options now after the horse has left the barn. Biggest mistake this union ever made was to elect this buffoodn President.

  12. It saddens me to read these especially negative posts. Any one who is eligible and totally miserable, please: just go. You should not, for your own well-being, remain anywhere that makes you that unhappy.
    If you can’t leave (or think you can’t) because of money, that’s not USPS’s fault. The USPS paid you well for that type of work, when compared with anything else you can find, anywhere.
    On my retirement day, I walked out of my (until then) facility with $200 in the bank and $40 in my change purse. ( At least all my bills were current in payment.) I haven’t regretted my decision one second. For my too-tough co-workers who remain, waiting for the “buy-out,” if/when they get it, they’ll deserve every penny. As for me, It was time to go.

  13. What the $%@! does Burrass know? You are not getting anything better than the $25 G’s….period! Why listen to someone who is retired into the 1%….screw him! So don’t retire and continue to be treated like crap…yeah, that sounds like a plan.

  14. Give me the incentive to make the transition from leaving this sinking ship of fools.

  15. Let’s see….three back surgeries, two carpal tunnel surgeries, my body is tired…think I am quite ready for the GOOD LIFE!

  16. Mr. Burrus’s comment has much wisdom in it. We should all just be thankful of the job we have or had at the postal service. Let us remove that ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY that the union had wrongfully implanted in our minds and just appreciate the job that we have or had! Let us all admit it that the postal service has or had provided the benefits and salaries that we all need or needed in order to support ourselves and our families! It is and was our choice to work for the postal service. No one forced any of us to work for this organization!

  17. It would be pretty sad if i stay working because there is nothing else in life. After almost 30 years of wearing out my joints….it would be nice to have relief….already had one surgery.

  18. No matter what is the outcome… incentive or no incentive i’m gone. I have 26 yrs plus and another 3 yrs of military, i’ts time to relax and enjoy life. We only only live once so why not enjoy and take advantage of it…..

  19. I called my branch union hall last october looking for retirement info,and they told me to hold off retiring,that an incentive was coming out in November 2011.It’s May 2012,and no buy out.I retired the end of February,and have talked to some of my old co-workers,listening to them is pathetic.Oh,I heard thier coming out with something in March.Oh I heard thie coming out with something in September.Oh I heard thier coming out with something next January.Money has never driven me,I’ve driven it.What’s driven me is body and spirit,and mine told me it was time to move on.

  20. the post office should get of of there lazy fucken no good asses and give us the money and years so we can get out of the jail that we have been working in all of these years.

  21. the post office should get of of there lazy fucken ni good asses and give us the money and years so we can get out of the jail that we have been working in all of these years.

  22. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned in the posts is the reality of our getting out and perhaps (especially in this economy) for every so many of us who do leave, making a spot for the younger ones behind us. Remember back in the day, looking at some of the “old timers” and thinking, “Why are you still here? If I were you, I would be so gone by now . . .” Well, look in the mirror. . .does it apply?
    I agree with the posters who mention that it might be best to go while you stilll have some other choices available. Don’t be afraid to go! I think I was for a time; it seems silly, now. I’m loving my new life as a retiree. Also agree with the poster who mentions being able to live on the partial payment for probably a year. . .and possibly even longer once the “buy-out” happens.

  23. Just show me the money! Why try to stay aboard a sinking ship? It’s a perfect match, they want to get rid of 100,000 people, and I want to leave this accident waiting to happen! I just wish they would quit dragging it out!

  24. I been retired 2 years now without 25 grand and I been enjoying every day of it. I enjoy going to my granddaughters activities, which I was not able to do while working for the uspo. As far as petting customers dogs on the street, I will pet my own dogs.
    don’t let Burris’s article dissuade you from retiremnt, you will be just fine. So retire, and enjoy life, you earned it.

  25. Collect unemployment while you requested retirement
    To collect unemployment while you requested retirement you must have good cause!
    You must prove that you to tried to stay but you were forced out… You may show a recent copy of a grievance or other relevant documents like an EEOC complaint. Don’t try to show that you got out in 2012 with a grievance from 2010.
    Reasons you may clam are because;
    1. Management created a hostile working environment
    2. Management told you to retire (maybe because of your age)
    3. Your medical condition, you were forced out for medical reasons because the post office was not providing you with reasonable accommodation or your doctor told you that for “health reasons” you should retire. ( have a letter from your doctor ready)

    Like in any battle one should always set up a plan. Get ready now to put in for retirement when the door is open.

    You must be able to show good cause for retirement and be able to prove your claim.
    Remember “But For” the above noted reason(s) you would not of retired. So now you may be properly able to apply for the unemployment money ($450.00) per week for up to 92 weeks.

  26. i believe burrus offers some sound and rational advice in this
    piece. he is not saying don’t retire. he is saying don’t make a
    quick and nearsighted/irrational decision based on a mere $25,000 incentive.
    the money is pretty irrelevant. it is not much and will be gone almost
    immediately. the important thing, as burrus pointed out, is that the employee
    has a plan or map of what they will do with the rest of their lives and how they will
    spend their time and all the “free time” they suddenly have. as a postal worker
    five days of your week are pretty much spoken for with the commute, work, and
    other litle things. as a retiree you will suddenly have 7, 24 hour days to fill with
    activities. that can be a problem for someone who retires without a plan.
    if you have a plan and are ready for retirement then retire and enjoy yourself!
    but, if you haven’t given what you will do in retirement any thought, don’t
    be suckered into retiring by a mere $25 thousand dollars. stay until you have
    a plan/map for your retirement and are sure you are finacially and mentally

  27. Waiting for some money is stupid. Get out now start collecting your money. I gave the Postal service one month this year to decide to whether to give an incentive. they are still talking about it.It’s now May. Glad I left. I also got fed up with so called managers telling me that I had poor work performance,when they themselves never did my job.

  28. Wow, these comments say it all. Many years ago I liked my job and did think it was serving the public and did it with pride. Now, however, its shame. To see management drive a great organization into the ground with incompetence and stupidity. Hate to bad mouth the union, but I think they dont want people to retire due to membership decline. Everyone who retires is not going to vegitate. Some are happy to work part time and do volunteer work. Every day is what you make it and spending any more time than we have to at the dreaded PO is a waste. Leavingas soon as eligible!!!

  29. Some Postal Idiots simply don`t get the Math. For every (extra) year that you work and avoid retirement is 1 less you you will collect it! Just because you postpone your retirement by a few years does`nt mean the “Grim Reaper” is going to postpone the time he comes looking for you and “pulls your plug”!

  30. Mr. Burrus seems to think that the incentive really doesnt matter. It does matter. It helps you to get by until you get your first “real” check. Remember that OPM is gonna wait probably one year or more before you get your 100% retirement annuity check. I’ve never seen a retirement system so screwed up in my life. Normally when a person retires he gets his benefits immediately. I’m like the guy up at the top here……I’m not gonna wait much longer then I am outta here. The Postal Service no longer stands for service but dumb ridiculous moves that is destroying our company. I’m tired and fed up!

  31. Burris……Bottom Line is everyone thinks they are going to live to 100! Look at it this way: If you are Sixty Years Old and you live to 75 or 76 (national average for a Man?) you only have approx 15 or 16 Years left. How many of them will be healthy years? Burris I think your article does have truthful elements however, GET REAL.

  32. I didn’t even bother to read it. I’m just curious who keeps posting this clown’s stuff on this site. He’s irrelevant. Are we going to start posting every Joe Retiree’s blog on post office matters as well?

  33. I stayed 30 years too long in a completely dysfunctunal organization. Time to do something with real redeeming social value. I would also like to say thanks to fellow Marines. Semper fi , Till We Die, OOH RAA !

  34. Don’t care. I’m still leaving this rathole soon, with or without an incentive. It’s just too much of a sh*thole now, with incompetent bullies in charge. I used to not mind going to work, now I absolutely hate it.

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