Monday, April 4, 2011

Early Retirement and Zazzle

This is the first time that I have ever done a public blog.  The main reason I have decided to write a blog is to promote my Zazzle store.  I also have another reason to start this blog; today April 4, 2011 is the first Monday that I am retired from my job of almost 28 years.  This is not a normal retirement, but what my company calls “Special Early Retirement Offer”.  When there is a reduction of the work force for whatever reason, like shipping our product lines to Mexico to be manufactured, my company offers some of the long term workers, who have reached at least 55 years of age and has at least 25 years of service with the company or a company they purchased, this early retirement package.  I met both of these requirements so they made the offer.  I being of rather lousy health lately and of a frugal and fiscally responsible nature, decided to grab the offer and run as fast as my arthritic knees would carry me.

 I plan to do some chronicling of my early retirement as well as promote my Zazzle store.  For those of you who do not know what Zazzle is, it is a “Print on Demand” company or POD.  I have been a contributing artist for Zazzle since 2007.  I don’t physically handle the products.  I just upload my designs and place them on products and post them for sale.  From then on it is all Zazzle.  Customers purchase the products from Zazzle and they print and ship them.  Zazzle pays me a royalty when someone buys a product with one of my designs.

Up until now Zazzle has just been a hobby for me.  I have been making computer graphics of some sort from the time I bought my first computer, a Commodore 64 back in 1985.  So when I discovered Zazzle in 2007 it was a perfect fit for me.  I already had a stock of graphics that I could use and a great deal of the know-how and software to make more.  I have been really just playing around with all of it, not really worrying if I generated much of an income from it or not.  I did after all work for one of the largest corporations in the world and they paid me more than I needed.  Now that I have taken the early retirement, my income has been reduced considerably, Zazzle will be a way for me to make this time a little more financially comfortable.  I have two stores on Zazzle, my main store is AuntBetsy where I feature mostly my own original artwork and Flag_Maker featuring Vintage artwork that I purchased. 

For the last two days I have been working on my own website called Aunt Betsy’s Art about my Zazzle stores.  I also have a link to several pages of animated Christmas graphics that I created several years ago.

It is going to be an interesting time in my life.  I turned off my alarm clock on March 31, 2011 when I got up and did not reset it for the next day.  My retirement started April 1, 2011.  My time is now my own, after decades of following a rigid schedule, what I do and when I do it are now up to me.  This is a good thing and yet a disquieting thing at the same time.  I had enjoyed my job and it gave me a wonderful sense of accomplishment.  I also had a feeling of purpose and service to my fellow man.  I made and tested electronic medical equipment that helped to save people’s lives.  This is not something to give up easily.

The weekend before I retired, I had a respiratory infection and was taken from my doctor’s clinic to the hospital in an ambulance.  While in the emergency room I was being monitored by a piece of equipment that had been made by my co-workers and friends.  Once I was admitted and moved to my room I was placed on a telemetry transmitter to monitor my heart.  I had just a little over two hours before been testing that very same type of transmitter.  I was later diagnosed with a heart ailment by another piece of equipment made by my company.  This was not the first time I or a one of my family members had our lives dependent on equipment that I had helped to make.  I am finding that this is a very difficult thing to give up.  Making pretty graphics is a fun thing to do, but it does not compare with helping to save lives.  To really enjoy my retirement I will somehow have to come to terms with this change.


  1. I wish I had known what you did and who you worked for; in the past 3 years I've seen lots of heart equipment!! Jesse was in hospital for so many days before he had heart valve replacement. He had 2 cow valves put in. Our Kenyan friends who love cows more than their wives ( almost ) thought that was so cool.

    I hope that you will get to do some great traveling and seeing some of this wonderful world that God created.

    God bless you as you begin the new adventure. How I would love to have your experience here in Kenya. I miss Jesse and his love of graphics and his love of communicating with our supporters. He was the communicator of our work.

    I have been busy having a school / dorm built on our Kweli property. Next project will be the meeting hall. After that I am going to have a mud house built of me to live in.

    Again, enjoy this new adventure.

  2. Welcome to the blogging world Betsy. I know you're going to find it difficult to move on from what you enjoyed doing. I believe that everything happens for a particular reason, even if it doesn't make a lot of sense at the time. You've said your health is not so great right now, and perhaps it's your time to rest a little. You don't want the demands and stress of your job to kill you, of course! The job you performed was a great one, and it helped saved lives. It's time to save your own now. :)

    I've been Zazzling since 2008, but I hadn't had the time to put in a lot of serious work until last summer. I've definitely noticed an increase of success, but I still have a lot of work to do. I'd be ahead of where I am if I had consistently worked on it back when I started. This month I earned $28 from Squidoo, which is the most I've ever received. I usually only get a dollar or two. I was really excited to get that payment, because I'm realizing my efforts are starting to pay off and will continue to. I can only go up from here. You are very talented and have wonderful products in your shop Betsy and I know you will be very successful in your endeavors at Zazzle. Wishing you the best of luck.