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NIH Record

Yes, There Is Life After NIH, Retirees Report

By Marvene Horwitz

Is there life after NIH? Approximately 170 people turned out to hear some former NIH employees talk about their retirements in a recent panel discussion sponsored by the NIH quality of worklife committee. Dr. Tom Malone, former NIH deputy director who retired in 1986, Mattie Jackson, who worked in the Office of Human Resource Management and retired in 1994, and Moe Hedteniemi, who retired as NICHD executive officer in 1994, entertained the crowd with accounts of their experiences since leaving NIH.

The consensus among the retirees was clear: While they may miss their friends at NIH -- and all agree they sometimes do not keep up with them as much as they would like -- they all have found rich and rewarding experiences as they have moved into this new phase of their lives. Panelists also admitted they just never seem to have enough time to do everything they would like. All three, however, reported involvement in something they had originally planned: Jackson does volunteer work for the homeless and the elderly, a pursuit she began before she retired; Malone took flying lessons, got his pilot's license and took violin lessons; Hedetniemi buys, refinishes and sells antique oak furniture.

Moe Hedetniemi

The panelists also agreed that new opportunities constantly present themselves. In Jackson's case, she discovered a talent for arts and crafts. Malone talked about other full time professional offerings that came his way at the University of Maryland and the American Association of Medical Colleges.

Dr. Robin Eggeman, a career counselor, encouraged audience members to visit the NIH Work and Family Life Center to discuss retirement plans or to use the computer and library resources in planning life after work. The audience left perhaps more comfortable, knowing that retirement is a new era to look forward to and perhaps a little envious of the fun the panelists are all having in this new phase of their lives.

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