Skip to main content

Until I Freakin' Die - A Spite Pension

Welcome to my mid-life crisis. I have weeks like this one when I question whether I want to continue doing what I do for a living, especially for the entity I do it for – the State of California. Given the 5% pay cut I’m facing next fiscal year in addition to the 9.4% pay cut/unpaid furloughs I’m already experiencing, I’m tempted to continue working for the State of California just until my pension vests, in about a year, just to piss off the top dogs in State bureaucracy and make the actuaries at CalPERS work harder to figure out how much I and my fellow Baby Boomers are going to cost.

See, I’m part of the big pension funding problem the State is going to have to deal with in about 20 years or less. Worse, I’m on the end of the Baby Boom generation. Even worse, my pension, should I stay long enough to vest, will be higher than your average state worker pension because my salary is higher than the average state worker and my pension is, I’m told, calculated under the older, more remunerative Tier 1 formula. My understanding is that if I put in 20 years and retire no earlier than 50 (as if!) I get lifetime health care benefits, too. The pension won’t amount to much, but because it’s a pension, I would be entitled to it and the health care benefits until I freakin’ die.

That should be enough to make the State’s big financial dogs tremble – paying pension and health care benefits to a whole bunch of healthy, elderly and, in my case, hypochondriac Baby Boomers until they decide to shove off the planet. Hell, you can’t get Baby Boomers off the stage, much less off the planet, to wit: Bill Clinton. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the State hire mercenaries from Blackwater to start taking out retired California state workers. It would be cheaper than paying health care benefits and pensions until they freakin’ die. And I'm sure Blackwater wouldn't get caught.

Call mine a "spite pension."

Mind you, there are days when I don’t like practicing law. Even in an advisory capacity, I often feel like I’m at war, constantly having to defend my legal opinions and proposed decisions to other lawyers and my superiors. I constantly allow the perfect to get in the way of the good, as do most lawyers, because you feel there’s little if any room for error in the advice you give. Someone’s going to be making plans based on that advice, so it better be correct. The quest for perfection is tiring at my age. Even a stripper is allowed a little imperfection in her work, a little cellulite without getting booed off the stage. Lawyers, not so much. Added to that is the flaming hatred most Californians have for state civil service employees. I don't remember things being so rabid when my parents worked for the State. It wears on your spirit to be hated just for having the job you have, regardless of whether you do it well.

With the State laying off employees and looking to cut salaries for employees of general fund agencies, which I am (Don’t get it twisted – state employees of the University of California, the California State University system, some special fund agencies, and agencies headed by constitutionally-elected officials have not faced unpaid furloughs), and given my ennui about law practice these days, it’s easy for me to consider laying the foundation for my immediate exit from state service (Any literary agents out there?) so I don't experience any loss of income in the short run. There's no loyalty between the State and its employees these days, and for folks like me, it's like playing financial chicken to see how long you can hold out without getting laid off. But assuming I can avoid being laid off until I vest, I will probably stay with the State for no other reason than to have a source of income, no matter how small, until I freakin’ die. Or at least the claim to one. Oh, and just to piss the State of California off.

In the meantime, I’m gonna try to get really healthy, take dietary supplements, and get in shape so I can live long to enjoy that pension when I’m old. Until I freakin’ die. Just to piss the State off.

Pilates, anyone?

Comments

eponymous said…
Amen. I can feel you on the spite pension. I hop you're able to avoid the axe long enough to vest.

Popular posts from this blog

Hillary Clinton Can Stop Trump -- If She Releases Her Electors

Hillary Clinton isn't going to be President of the United States.  At least not yet.  And not in 2017.

But she can possibly stop Donald Trump from being President by releasing her pledged electors  in the Electoral College to vote for a compromise Republican candidate.

This is part of the strategy of the Hamilton Electors, members of the Electoral College who see that Donald Trump is not qualified to be President.  They argue that the Electoral College's role is not to rubber-stamp the popular vote -- which, in this case, would belong to Clinton -- but to serve as a check on the popular vote to make sure that no one who is unfit assumes the office of President.

According to the Hamilton Electors, named for Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (Yes, he of the very popular musical for which I can't get tickets) Hamilton stated that the Electoral College's test for fitness to be the President was as follows (and I'm quoting):

Election of a Qualified Person: As Hamilton s…

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…

My Prayer and Mantra for 2017 -- Do Not Waste Time on People and Things That Don't Matter

In this era of fake news, fake political candidates, and fake people all around, my prayer and mantra for 2017 is simple:  Do not waste time on people and things that don't matter.

In 2016, I spent too much time and money on things and people who didn't matter.  I allowed myself to become distracted by stuff that, for me and Black Man Not Blogging, didn't really matter for our happiness.  These distractions not only didn't improve the quality of our life together; they decreased it with additional and unnecessary stress.

The good news is that, for the most part, we're okay.  Yeah, Trump and his ilk really suck, but instead of a lot of hand wringing and commiserating, I'm going to do the one thing my late mother She Who  Is Exalted (SWIE) did better than anyone I know:  Play the hand you've been dealt.  My mother was a black female without a college education and with six kids, so playing the hand she was dealt was her survival skill.  Now it will be mine.

S…