For Joanne Sterling, a 19 year HP veteran, reinvention didn’t stop after retirement
Blueprint for Reinvention
Joanne Sterling has reinvented herself many times over the years, and will probably continue to do so throughout retirement.
of children in day care centers, as a technical writer, as manager of a corporate diversity program, as a technical training program manager, communications manager, and an instructional designer.
Perhaps the reason Joanne has had so many opportunities is her willingness to continuously learn new skills.
After earning an undergraduate degree in English from Emmanuel College in Boston, Joanne went on to earn a Masters degree in reading at Suffolk University in Boston. After being a stay-at-home mom for five years, Joanne earned a certificate in Software Technical Writing from Bentley College outside Boston. She also earned a certificate in Project Management from George Washington University and a certificate in e-commerce strategies from Carnegie-Mellon University. In addition she has taken courses in educational media and technology and software interface design/usability at Boston University.
From Technical Writing to Software Engineering to Women's Development Programs
She has used all those skills at a variety of jobs since she joined the company in 1987 as a technical writer. Although she has enjoyed the technical aspects of her jobs over the years, she says that one of the most fulfilling positions was managing the Stone Center Program which focused on women's development. Funded by Digital Equipment Corporation the program was based in the Software Engineering Group in Nashua. The program was one of a kind, according to Joanne, who noted that the Nashua site was the first in the company to sponsor a "Take Our Daughters to Work Day."
Early Retirement Brings More Change
Despite all her training and certifications, Joanne admits to being nervous about her future when she retired from HP in 2006 as part of the company's downsizing plan. "I had not planned to retire for several years. After 19 years with the company, the thought of leaving was really scary for me," she recalls. "I was worried about losing a regular salary and benefits."
As it turned out, she got a contract job with Fidelity Investments immediately and has continued to get long-term assignments. Joanne says there are plenty of opportunities out there for HP retirees, but says that the prospect of finding a new job can be daunting, especially for long-term employees. "But once you begin exploring new areas, it is exciting. The best part for me has been the chance to experience different corporate cultures," she said.
The Next Horizon
While waiting for her next assignment, Joanne is enjoying a holiday break. She and her longtime partner, Kim Peaslee, a former DEC employee, spend weekends and at their vacation home on Peaks Island, off the coast of Portland, Maine. Joanne also enjoys painting and drawing and spending time with her recently married daughter, Meredith. Once a month, Joanne gets together with her book club, a group of HP retirees who have been meeting for the past 20 years."We started meeting at lunchtime on Fridays in the Grace Hopper Conference Room at the Nashua site. Over the years, we have shared much more than book discussions-first as co-workers and now as retirees. It's been wonderful to stay connected to other HP retirees," she says.
Read more about other retirees in action on the HP Retiree Website.