Survivor's checklist

Friday - 1/4/2013, 2:00am EST

The first Friday of the new year can be wonderful or weird, a time for rejoicing and renewal or regrouping and griping.

Lots of people take time off between Christmas and New Year's. Many pick that time period to retire. Some people had great vacations and family reunions. For others, it is a tough emotional time made even more stressful by the mass school shooting and the 24/7 coverage about the fiscal cliff. I celebrated by being sicker than the proverbial dog. One Thursday, I was afraid I would die; the following day I was afraid I wouldn't. Pulled through it, although I think the illness — plus too much TV news — destroyed several million badly needed brain cells.

Thanks to the politicians, the race to January was even more exciting than usual. One reader said the National Symphony Orchestra should play the song "Send in the Clowns" before each opening session of Congress. Couldn't hurt!

One about-to-retire reader summed up her thoughts on her federal career like this:

I read your daily column with great interest each day and always appreciate your candor and sense of humor. I am one of the "Baby Boomers" who has had enough and am departing after 29 years on 1/31/13 (FERS). I find it very interesting that while I was/am employed, the managers and supervisors may or may not take my advice and are always wanting higher grade for the same work being performed for years, or because they think the job has to be Grade XX! After doing this work for all these years in four separate agencies, and now that I am retiring, I am so valuable! I have already been asked by my department if I would be interested in either being a re-employed annuitant (NO! if I wanted to work full-time I would not be retiring) or would I be interested in some "special projects" as a contractor that no one in our agency has the time or the expertise to perform…interesting.

Anyway, I will continue to subscribe to your column so that I can keep up on the "goings on" and to have a laugh once in a while. I wish all of those still trying to keep our government agencies operating, and those running them honest, the very best of luck. Thanks for your dedication and that of your colleagues to keep all of us informed. Farewell in a few more working days!" Sandy

If you took a news break last week, check out the four guest columns we ran in this space between Christmas and New Year's. All were written by readers from different agencies and different parts of the country. Different ideas too. The subjects ranged from on-the-job marijuana to pay. For instance:

Also, take time to check out the comments section with each of the guest columns. They obviously got people thinking, and some of the comments are brilliant.

Best 2013 date to retire

The best day to retire is the one that works for you. But December and January of any year are special times. One, they are favorite months for retirement. And if you are planning to pull the plug toward the end of this (or next) year, check out this week's Your Turn radio show. Tax expert Bob Leins, benefits expert Tammy Flanagan and I did a one-hour show on taxes, benefit changes, some predictions and the best date to retire and why. Picking the right day can save you thousands of dollars in taxes, maybe boost the value of your unused annual leave payment and (starting this year) increase the value of your retirement benefit using unused sick leave.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

By Jack Moore

2013 is the first year since 1987 not to contain a repeated digit.


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