Jerry Osteryoung: A time to reflect

March 14, 2014 

Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.

-- George Burns

On February 25, I turned 72. It came as a bit of a surprise -- I had no idea people really lived this long!

This stage in my life really seemed to creep up on me. It still amazes me to think that I have retired twice from FSU, but I am enjoying life so much more now that I do not have a regular job. With retirement pay, I really do not need to work at all, but I just know sitting home and doing nothing was never an option.

Retirement has allowed me to explore so many things including incredible hiking and biking trips. I am doing a lot more traveling -- at least once a month, I get to go to some neat place and am frequently paid to do so. I am also playing a lot of tennis.

Clearly, all this keeps me busy, but I still have plenty of time for an active social life.

In so many ways, my retirement really is a continuation of what I have been doing the last twenty years as far as being involved in the community. After serving as chairman on the Goodwill Board of Directors about a year ago, I moved directly into the chairman's seat of the First Commerce Credit Union Board. I teach two weekly entrepreneurship classes at Gadsden Correctional Facility, am a member of the Judicial Qualifications Commission and serve on numerous other boards.

It would be untrue to tell you that I planned to have this kind of retirement, because I did not. Fortunately for me, it happened that way, but in so many ways, the seeds of community service were planted when I was just getting started in my career.

Much earlier in life, I developed a keen interest in

working with and caring for other people, and throughout my career, I have been an active community volunteer. I never really imagined this would be a practice that would continue in my retirement.

Learning to give back is an important virtue every leader should develop. Money and greed will not seem very satisfying as you come to the end of your career. Being concerned only with monetary rewards while ignoring our society's real needs is a shame.

The next 10 years are likely to be fraught with medical issues for me, but as long as I can, I am going to do as much as I can to leave the community in a better condition than I found it.

Jerry Osteryoung, a consultant to businesses, is the Jim Moran professor of entrepreneurship (emeritus) and professor of finance (emeritus) at Florida State University. He can be reached by email at

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