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Ask Dave

Flight Attendant Buyout

Jane has been a flight attendant for 44 years. She's being offered $60,000 to leave and has a pension. Dave helps Jane weigh the pros and cons of taking this buyout.

QUESTION: Jane in Los Angeles is 64 and has been a flight attendant for 44 years. She could have retired two years ago but isn’t ready to leave. She’s being offered $60,000 to leave and has a pension. She will also receive Social Security. Dave helps Jane weigh the pros and cons of taking this buyout.

ANSWER: You can’t really make the decision on what used to be, can you? You’ve got to make it on what’s going to be. You can see the writing on the wall, so to speak.

The thing is if you walk away from this $60,000, that offer may not be there, and you may get into a situation where it’s no longer fun based on the changes that are coming. That’s what I’m afraid of in listening to this. Basically, what we’re saying is do you want to keep trying and take a chance that the buyout’s going to go away? Because it probably will. The negative chance is that the changes are going to make this not fun.

I think you need something to do. I think you’re too busy a person to just sit at home and watch Oprah reruns. I want you to spend April reading—not watching television. I’m going to send you a couple of books. I’m going to send you one called 48 Days to the Work You Love, and I’m going to send you one by Jon Acuff called Quitter. I want you to read both of them and then start—instead of thinking about what you’re leaving, start thinking about what you could go to. I think that’s a good fleece to put out there in your prayer. “Lord, show me what you want me to go to. I don’t want to run from something. I want to run to something.” I think as you begin to see something to run to, your fear could turn into excitement. You can go be anything you want to be. You have a clean slate, and you have $60,000 in your pocket. You’ve got until the end of April to figure this out. I think that’s a pretty good timeframe. If I’m you, I’m going to spend my time soul searching and praying and looking and thinking, “Okay, what do I want to be when I grow up?” You’re only 64. You’ve got lots of time here to do something. Volunteering is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about full-on starting a small business or career. “I’ve always wanted to do this or that.” Maybe it’s moving over to a different airline. I don’t know. You decide. Let’s run to something and not from something. Let’s not run from negative changes and from a merger and from all of that. Let’s run to something. That’s my only thing I can think of right here.