On retirement

Alert readers may have noticed that my brief biography at the top left has changed slightly to acknowledge the fact that I retired from the university. My last day was December 31st. I have had a long and varied career at many institutions before I spent the last 27 years at Case Western Reserve University and they were wonderful ones. The students we get here are just wonderful and teaching them was a joy and I have fond memories of many of them.

One of the best things about my job at the teaching center has been that it gave me the opportunity to meet and work with faculty and staff from every area of the university. It has brought me into contact with people who do fascinating work in so many academic disciplines and this environment was perfect for an intellectual dilettante like me who enjoys learning about all manner of things. It is such a luxury to have people who can provide authoritative information about the most esoteric of topics and who so freely shared their time and knowledge. What is also truly remarkable has been the extremely high levels of friendliness and collegiality that I have experienced from practically everyone, and the strong support I received from the university administration.

Given the fact that working at CWRU has been so enriching and enjoyable, the question arises as to why on Earth I would I choose to walk away from what has to be seen (and I have described to others) as a dream job. The answer is quite simple. The attraction of staying on was very strong but there was the competing pull of wanting the luxury of writing full-time. The latter pull kept getting stronger until I finally felt that I could not resist it any longer.

Adding to that was the fact that at some point, one should leave and make room for younger people with greater energy and new ideas to take over. I read a long time ago that we baby boomers never want to leave the stage. We want to act as if we are ageless and keep on going forever, squeezing out the next generation, justifying our action by inventing catchy little slogans as we go along, like “50 is the new 40”, “60 is the new 50”, “70 is the new 60”, and so on. Unfortunately, many people have to keep working because they have no choice. They really need the money and one should not force them out. But for me whose wants and needs are few and can afford to retire, there was no compelling reason to continue and the desire to write full time was a good reason to exit the stage.

So it is with some regret that I leave a place that has been so good to me. But I do so with eager anticipation of the next phase of my life, as I write the books and articles that I feel I still have in me and are screaming to get out, whether the literary world wants them or not.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    I hope this phase of your life is as enjoyable as the previous ones.

  2. says

    It’s great that you have a solid idea of what you want to do!! And I wish you much success and enjoyment doing it.

    I’m probably going to retire in the next 5-9 years, myself. There are a few gating events that could pull that in or push it out a bit. I haven’t figured out what I want to do, though, so it’s less attractive. I used to want to find some cause to attach myself to, but watching atheo-sketicism has thoroughly turned me off causes. I’m sure something will come along; if not there’s always playstation. 😉

  3. says

    Retirement doesn’t mean death, it means more free time. Atheism needs a new voice of education, sanity and respectfulness to replace the boors and bigots who get far too much attention (e.g. Dawkins, Harris). Can I encourage Mano Singham to be that voice?

  4. says

    . Atheism needs a new voice of education, sanity and respectfulness to replace the boors and bigots who get far too much attention (e.g. Dawkins, Harris)

    No more “spokesmen” Just people who speak. No leaders. No movement. Just do.

  5. Holms says

    Give Harris the boot and replace him as one of the Atheist Thinky People, a job for which you are quite simply more qualified than he is.

    Congratulations and best wishes in your new avenue. Does ‘full time writing’ imply more blog posts perchance…?

  6. Mano Singham says

    While I appreciate the sentiment and am gratified by the confidence expressed in me, I agree with Marcus, at least when it comes to spokespersons, and have said exactly that in the past.

  7. deepak shetty says


    @6 Marcus , @7 Mano
    While I would wish it otherwise , the world doesn’t work in the anarchic way.
    Is it really possible to thwart say the attempts on… take your pick (womens rights, separation of church/state , gay rights , right to privacy , free speech) .. without a movement or spokespersons ?

  8. Mano Singham says


    I should have made it clear that I don’t think that leaders are always desirable, though movements can be good. I have modified my earlier comment accordingly.

  9. moarscienceplz says

    Congratulations, Mano.
    I am about 6 years away from retirement myself, and I would appreciate an occasional post on how you are settling into it. Like you, I am interested in many things, and I worry that in retirement I might become such a bookworm/screen watcher that I let my physical activity and social contacts diminish.

  10. Nick Gotts says

    Congratulations. Having been retired some three and a half years, I certainly recommend it -- although I have found it difficult to do as much as I planned! Lots of reading, but so far, only a few articles and conference papers.

  11. says

    deepak shetty@#10:
    While I would wish it otherwise , the world doesn’t work in the anarchic way.

    I’ll take “naturalistic fallacy” for $100, please.
    Short form: so what?

    I actually don’t agree. The idea of a “movement” is fundamentally flawed, IMO, because it assumes that one side must organize to overcome the other strategically. Another way of doing it is to play for public opinion to the point where there is enough of a majority that change simply happens because the majority’s behaviors have changed and it’s the new norm. Instead of a strategic movement, it’s more like a tide. That kind of change can result organically from having lots of people pushing in slightly different but more or less the same direction. There’s no need for theater commanders, superstars, and horsement. It’s less efficient but you don’t wind up with all the left-over superstructure of a hierarchical organization to dismantle (or that enshrine themselves as the new popes) afterward.

  12. leftygomez says

    Congratulations Mano, and good luck with your writing. Please continue writing at this blog if you can, it has been a pleasure to read it for many years.

  13. Vincent says

    I have been a reader of your blog since I was an undergrad at CWRU. While I never had the privilege of being taught physics by you, I have thoroughly enjoyed your writing for many years. I almost never comment, but this seems to be an occasion worthy of doing so. I wish you all the best in retirement and look forward to your future work.

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