Timothy McIntyre, of Tinley Park, a volunteer at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, authored "I'm a Type A, How the Heck Will I Ever Retire?" | Supplied image
Updated: December 14, 2013 6:27AM
In a fast-track accounting and finance a career that culminated in positions of chief financial officer, chief operating officer and president of some very successful and high-profile businesses, Timothy McIntyre’s Type A personality always served him well.
Even before the business world, the Tinley Park resident graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame, earned his MBA from the esteemed University of Chicago and achieved the Top Scorer Award as a certified cash manager.
Then came retirement. McIntyre had done well enough in his career to be able to retire at age 46, but the idea of relaxing and taking life easier caused him great anxiety.
“I knew retirement would be even more challenging than the job,” he said.
He also knew it was time, though, admitting his “heart was no longer in it.” He was ready to pursue other interests for which he never had the time, such as photography. But it was more difficult than he thought to leave the structure of the workplace.
“I was frenetic with projects at first,” he said, “and then I got bored. I was so worried about not being able to find something I would enjoy doing.”
That was in 2004. After much thought and experimenting with ways to make his life work, McIntyre finally settled into a life of retirement that he finds enjoyable. It’s difficult for a person with a Type A personality to relax after an ambitious career, he said. Once he found the balance, he wrote, “I’m a Type A How the Heck will I ever Retire?”
It’s kind of an instruction book on how those with a Type A personality, or that which the Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes as “marked by impatience, aggressiveness, and competitiveness,” can plan for and have a successful retirement.
It’s a fun read, peppered with stories of McIntyre’s driving personality and search for peace. Becoming a Christian helped him with his perspective and goals and is the guidebook for his life, he said, but as a Type A, he has read the Bible through several times and it is full of colored tabs and markers.
Running errands, he said, used to be approached “with a military precision.” If there was a slow cashier or a person in front of him with coupons or complaints, “all was lost.”
His book, he explained, has suggestions on how to use the positive aspects of a Type A personality while keeping the negative under control.
“We Type A’s are productive and focused,” he said, “but maybe less patient than what we could be. . . We need to lose the arrogance, impatience, and being too hard on ourselves and play to our strengths in our retirement.”
McIntyre suggests countering the loss of job status with serving on boards or helping organize fundraisers or, even better, spending time “just giving for the sake of giving.” One of his volunteer efforts is at Silver Cross Hospital.
“That’s what God really values,” he said. “Humble service. Consciously making that decision not to have status.”
Not having to be in control of every situation is another key to a happy retirement, he said.
“For Type A’s, control is just central to our thinking,” McIntyre said. “It’s important to choose what you’re going to react to and how you’re going to react. . . Don’t be afraid of trusting yourself and God to find your way through it. You won’t spin out of control if you don’t manage every detail.”
McIntyre said his life now has more meaning and less agitation. And he doesn’t have to choose new goals of climbing Mt. Everest or running a marathon, either.
“Now I choose fewer and less-challenging goals, and I just enjoy them more,” he said. “And it’s OK to have a day when you don’t have any plans.”
Timothy McIntyre’s book, “I’m a Type A How the Heck Will I Ever Retire?” is available for purchase in print and as an e-book at amazon.com.