Capital Investment Advisors

#15 – Retirement Is The Best Job I’ve Ever Had with Tom Georgi

Tom Georgi’s wife, Suzanne, was horrified to discover that by age 60, he had saved enough money to retire. “You’ve got to get another job, she insisted.” Marines know how to follow a chain of command, and there was no wiggle room in this code red. So, Tom took his marching orders.

Being a golf marshal meant miserably early mornings, and dog walking for the animal shelter would track too much dander into the house, so when a friend suggested volunteering at the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum in downtown San Diego’s Embarcadero, he gave it a shot.

More than a decade later, he’s never looked back.

Named after a WWII naval battle that helped turn the tide of the war with Japan, the Midway was the United States’ longest-serving carrier of the 20th century and is now an immensely popular tourist destination. As a safety officer, Tom greets guests at the entrance and exit, roams the floor, monitors the flight deck, and loves every minute of it.

Tom spent twelve years on active duty in the Marines, then taught Air Force Officers how to fire the Cruise missile weapon system for General Dynamics and eventually moved to a computer science corporation. That sounds like an exciting career. But without hesitation, Tom says that working at the Midway is the best job he’s ever had, even though it doesn’t pay him a penny.

Read The Full Transcript From This Episode

(click below to expand and read the full interview)

  • Tom Georgi [00:00:00]:
    You meet people from all over the world, and it’s just the best job I ever had, and I don’t get paid a penny.Ryan Doolittle [00:00:06]:
    Tom, Georgia’s wife Suzanne, was horrified to discover that by age 60, he had saved enough money to retire. You’ve got to get another job, she insisted. Well, Marines know how to follow a chain of command, and there was no wiggle room in this code red, so Tom took his marching orders. Being a golf marshal meant miserably. Early mornings, dog walking for the animal shelter would just track too much dander into the house. So when a friend suggested volunteering at the USS Midway Aircraft carrier Museum in downtown San Diego’s Embarcadero, he gave it a shot. More than a decade later, he’s never looked back. Named after a World War II naval battle that helped turn the tide of the war with Japan, the midway was the United States longest serving carrier of the 20th century and is now an immensely popular tourist destination.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:01:02]:
    As a safety officer, Tom greets guests at the entrance and exit, roams the floor, monitors the flight deck, or handles whatever other situations happen to arise. And he loves every minute of it. Tom spent twelve years on active duty with the Marines. Then he taught Air Force officers how to fire the cruise missile weapon system for general dynamics, and eventually moved to a computer science corporation. Now that sounds like an exciting career. But without hesitation, Tom says that working at the midway is the best job he’s ever had, even though it doesn’t pay him a penny. Do you ever wonder who you’ll be and what you’ll do after your career is over? Wouldn’t it be nice to hear stories from people who figured it out who are thriving in retirement? I’m Ryan Doolittle. After working with the retirees sooner team for years and researching and writing about how they structure their lifestyles, I know there’s more to be learned, so I’m going straight to the source and taking you with me.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:02:05]:
    My mission with the Happiest Retirees podcast is to inspire 1 million families to find happiness in retirement. I want to learn how to live an exceptional life from people who do it every day. Let’s get started. I’m with Tom. Georgi, you’re head of security.

    Tom Georgi [00:02:23]:
    Tom, not ahead. I’m just a safety officer.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:02:25]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:02:25]:
    On the USS Midway.

    Tom Georgi [00:02:27]:
    On the USS Midway, right. Museum. We get all sorts of interesting stories that happen here, and a lot of our safeties and docents are in the senior years. I don’t know what the average age is. There’s no retirement that you have to be retired to work here. We do have active duty military that come and volunteer.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:02:48]:
    Tom, are you a volunteer or you’re an employee?

    Tom Georgi [00:02:51]:
    I am a volunteer.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:02:53]:
    Why are you a happy retiree?

    Tom Georgi [00:02:56]:
    When I do things that I enjoy, I’m happy and I enjoy retirement.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:02]:
    What was your primary career?

    Tom Georgi [00:03:04]:
    I was a Marine for twelve years. Then I went to work for general Dynamics. They were here in San Diego at the time. I taught Air force officers how to fire the cruise missile weapon system really well. They needed somebody with a top secret clearance. I had just gotten out of the marine Corps, so I went right into that job. And then general Dynamics left town in about 1991, they left San Diego.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:30]:

    Tom Georgi [00:03:30]:
    And I segued over into a subcontractor computer sciences corporation where I work for another ten years. So I have a pension, and that helped me make my decision. I had a pension, Medicare, and I retired.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:44]:
    Oh, that helped you decide to retire?

    Tom Georgi [00:03:46]:
    Yes, I was 60.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:47]:

    Tom Georgi [00:03:47]:
    And I’m thinking, well, 60 you’re eligible for Medicare, and why not? My wife said, well, if you stay longer, you get more money. But I don’t think I needed the money.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:57]:
    So how did you even start working here?

    Tom Georgi [00:03:59]:
    When I retired, my wife said, okay, you can retire, but you got to get another job. So at first I thought, maybe I’ll be a golf marshal. I like playing golf. And then I realized that people tee off pretty darn early. And then somebody said, well, how about getting a job walking dogs at the animal shelter? And I thought, oh, might that be a problem for me, too? My wife is allergic to dander. And so there went that idea. And then Jack, my friend, said, why don’t you come down to the midway? He says, I’ve been doing it for a couple of months and I really enjoy it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:04:31]:
    Okay, so before you retired, you had, I mean, probably just a built in purpose that you had to go to work, you had your career, you had your family. When you retired, did you have to find a new purpose, or how did you.

    Tom Georgi [00:04:48]:
    I really didn’t have a specific plan. I’m kind of a play it by ear kind of guy and see what develops. So I didn’t say, this is what I’m going to do, this and this and this. I just said, let’s see what happens. Wow.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:05:02]:
    You strike me as very organized.

    Tom Georgi [00:05:04]:
    I am organized almost to the point of OCD. Some people think, but I don’t think in terms of a year down the road. I think in terms of today and next week, and that’s good enough. I tell people when I train them here. I say be flexible. Not every situation has a specific solution to it. So be flexible and bend with the breeze.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:05:29]:
    So how do you combine the strict, rigid organization with, like, blowing in the breeze?

    Tom Georgi [00:05:36]:
    Well, I take things not too seriously. Sometimes you have to in some cases, and my Marine Corps background, we had you do this and this and this. But I find there’s other ways of doing things rather than do a then B then C. Sometimes you got to maybe do C before you do A and B.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:05:54]:
    Okay, so we talked about this a little bit. You’re from Santa Barbara, which is just the northern tip of southern California, I’d say.

    Tom Georgi [00:06:02]:
    Right. It’s about a six hour ride. No, it’s about a three hour ride, except with traffic on Thanksgiving. Then it’s 6 hours.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:06:09]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:06:10]:
    Well, on this show, we talk a lot about core pursuits, which are like hobbies on steroids. What are some of your favorites?

    Tom Georgi [00:06:18]:
    I like to volunteer. I did it before I retired. I was a volunteer police officer, reserve police officer in Carlsbad for 21 years. Again, you couldn’t tell the difference between me and a regular officer except on my badge it would say reserve. So I went through the police academy and I went out there with a trainer for about 400 hours, and then they let me go. So I was out there in a police car with my gun and enforcing. My primary responsibility as a reserve would be to back up and cover. You’re not out there initiating stops unless something just fell in your lap.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:06:56]:

    Tom Georgi [00:06:56]:
    So we would transport arrestees to the jail, provide backup and cover for the police officers. Another thing I did not volunteered, but it was a softball umpire.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:07:10]:
    Oh, really?

    Tom Georgi [00:07:11]:
    I did that for 43 years. So policing for 21, umpiring for 43. You can see that I stay with something, and I’ve been here at the midway for ten years.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:07:22]:
    Ten years with no plans of stopping.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:07:25]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:07:25]:
    You love it here.

    Tom Georgi [00:07:26]:
    Well, I love it here. I mean, until I physically can’t do it anymore.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:07:29]:
    How long have you been married?

    Tom Georgi [00:07:31]:
    51 years.

    Tom Georgi [00:07:33]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:07:33]:
    Congratulations. You think it’s going to work out?

    Tom Georgi [00:07:37]:
    I don’t know.

    Tom Georgi [00:07:38]:
    I introduce her as my first wife. She doesn’t like that.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:07:42]:
    Some of the happiest retirees, they live near at least one of their adult children.

    Tom Georgi [00:07:48]:
    Yeah, that hasn’t been the case for us. My son being in the military, he’s been in China, he’s been in Hawaii, he’s been in DC. He’s been a lot of places. Never any place close to us. My daughter, once she left college, she went to work in LA for an advertising agency. And then she met Joe. He was stationed in England, and she went to England. They got married in Oklahoma City, and then they moved to Germany.

    Tom Georgi [00:08:18]:
    So now that they’re back in LA, that’s the closest any of our children have ever been to us. When he retires in a couple of years, they hope to move to Carlsbad.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:29]:
    Oh, to Carlsbad?

    Tom Georgi [00:08:30]:
    They’re hoping.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:32]:
    So then you will be near one of your adult children?

    Tom Georgi [00:08:35]:
    Well, it’s not the children. It’s the grandson. He’s going to be our one and only.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:40]:
    That’s your draw?

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:41]:
    Well, okay.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:42]:
    So now with them in Los Angeles, at least from our research, that’s close enough because you can get there pretty easily.

    Tom Georgi [00:08:48]:
    An hour and a half by car. Yeah, not with traffic. And with traffic, it can be a lot worse.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:53]:

    Tom Georgi [00:08:53]:
    So when we do go up there, we try to leave after seven at night.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:56]:
    Oh, after seven at night?

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:58]:
    Yeah. Okay.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:58]:
    Are you night owls?

    Tom Georgi [00:09:00]:
    Yes, we are night owls.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:01]:
    I did not take you for a night owl.

    Tom Georgi [00:09:03]:
    Well, I mean, when I say night owl, I’m in bed by midnight.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:06]:
    Yeah, but.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:07]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:07]:
    I thought you were a military man. Up at dawn? No, I will get up.

    Tom Georgi [00:09:12]:
    That’s one of the things about retirement I love to sleep in.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:16]:

    Tom Georgi [00:09:16]:
    Except for the two days that I work at the midway, I’m in bed till 839.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:21]:
    Okay, well, that’s not too late. So, any hot gossip? What are you and suzanne up to? Any date nights coming up?

    Tom Georgi [00:09:29]:
    No. Suzanne hotfoots it up to LA every chance she gets to watch the grandson.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:35]:
    Oh, that’s your daughter Nikki’s son.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:38]:

    Tom Georgi [00:09:38]:
    He’s going to be four in February, and she is totally infatuated with him.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:45]:

    Tom Georgi [00:09:45]:
    And she’ll drive an hour and a half to get up there. Actually, we used to have to fly ten or 12 hours when they were stationed in Germany. Her husband is an air force pa and he’s been reassigned to LA. Space Force base. Used to be air force base.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:01]:
    Now it’s space Force in El Segundo.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:04]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:05]:

    Tom Georgi [00:10:05]:
    They live in Hawthorne, about ten minutes away.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:07]:

    Tom Georgi [00:10:08]:
    So it’s an hour and a half drive. Germany used to be ten or twelve hour plane rides. You couldn’t fly direct. You had a chain somewhere. And it’s a lot easier for her. We’d like to travel. My wife and I love to travel. We go on cruises.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:22]:
    You just went on a cruise, right.

    Tom Georgi [00:10:24]:
    Been on a cruise to, oh, across the Atlantic from Lisbon to Miami. It’s my first transatlantic cruise. We did an earlier cruise out of Amsterdam to Sweden. Finland and Norway to see the fjords. That was a great cruise.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:40]:

    Tom Georgi [00:10:40]:
    And my kids enjoy cruising now because we take them on cruises many times.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:45]:
    Really? They go with you?

    Tom Georgi [00:10:46]:
    They go with us. Of course. Who wouldn’t?

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:48]:
    Yeah, right.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:48]:
    I know.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:49]:
    Well, I wanted to ask, on your transatlantic cruise, you didn’t run into any u boats or anything, did you?

    Tom Georgi [00:10:54]:
    Not that we.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:56]:

    Tom Georgi [00:10:56]:
    I was too busy eating in the dining room.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:58]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:59]:
    Though that’s probably a good move. And this one was. No kids, just you and brother.

    Tom Georgi [00:11:04]:
    One of my brothers, rich and his wife. And then some friends that enjoy cruising too. We went on Oceania, and that’s our favorite cruise line. The food is so good.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:13]:
    Oh, that’s the name of the cruise line.

    Tom Georgi [00:11:14]:
    Oceania cruise line. The ship was called the marina. Oh, they’ve got a half a dozen ships. They’re small boats. 1200 people is the biggest they’ve got. We usually like the five or 600. I don’t like these boats with 3000 or 5000 passengers. They’re just too big.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:28]:
    That’s why you choose this cruise line, because it’s a little more. I don’t know if intimate is the word, but, like, less.

    Tom Georgi [00:11:34]:
    You’re not going to see kids. You’re going to see a lot of people with white hair like me.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:37]:
    Okay, well, I’m fast getting there. Maybe they’d let me on now.

    Tom Georgi [00:11:41]:
    Maybe you’ll enjoy it, but you’re going to find yourself in the younger age bracket.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:45]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:46]:
    And you went over to Portugal, flew.

    Tom Georgi [00:11:48]:
    To Lisbon, got on the ship. We were supposed to go to Funchal, which is an island off of Portugal, but the pilots were on strike. These pilot boats that take you in and out of harbors.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:58]:

    Tom Georgi [00:11:58]:
    They were on strike, so we couldn’t land there. We continued on to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Then we set across the Atlantic, landed in St. John’s, Antigua.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:07]:

    Tom Georgi [00:12:07]:
    And then San Juan, Puerto Rico, and finally Miami. Okay, so it was 14 days.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:13]:
    What does a perfect day look like for you?

    Tom Georgi [00:12:16]:
    Well, of course. Sleeping in.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:17]:

    Tom Georgi [00:12:18]:
    I get up, put my flag up outside. I fly the flag every day.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:23]:
    Oh, every day?

    Tom Georgi [00:12:24]:
    Well, every day I’m home.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:26]:

    Tom Georgi [00:12:26]:
    That’s how people know when I’m not home. They don’t see the flag flying.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:30]:

    Tom Georgi [00:12:30]:
    And I make a cup of coffee, I sit down with the newspaper, I do the sudoku, the crossword puzzle, the cryptogram, all the puzzles. And by then it’s time to work out.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:46]:
    Oh, every day, or this is the perfect day.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:49]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:49]:

    Tom Georgi [00:12:50]:
    And then go outside and do some yard work. Come in and enjoy dinner. My wife’s a great cook.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:56]:

    Tom Georgi [00:12:57]:
    And then some TV at night or continue reading the paper. Sometimes it takes me about 3 hours to read the paper because I read it cover to cover. Every day I try to.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:07]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:07]:
    Which paper is this?

    Tom Georgi [00:13:08]:
    The San Diego union.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:10]:

    Tom Georgi [00:13:10]:
    A quick story. On our cruise, I can’t read the paper. I do read it online sometimes, but with no Wi Fi, I can’t. So when I get home, they’ve collected the newspapers for me, and I go through them based on the oldest first up to the present, it might take me two weeks to get caught up.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:31]:
    But you do it.

    Tom Georgi [00:13:32]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:32]:
    So you must be a really informed person.

    Tom Georgi [00:13:35]:
    I try to be.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:36]:
    That is incredible. So you don’t leave anything out.

    Tom Georgi [00:13:39]:
    You’re going through business section, maybe on the food section.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:42]:

    Tom Georgi [00:13:43]:
    But the world news, the local news, the comics, the sports. Yeah, I catch them all.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:50]:
    What’s your favorite comic?

    Tom Georgi [00:13:53]:
    Pearls before swine.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:54]:
    Oh, I don’t know that one.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:56]:

    Tom Georgi [00:13:56]:
    It’s got rat, goat, pig.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:00]:

    Tom Georgi [00:14:01]:
    Yeah, that’s a good one.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:02]:
    My son is one year old, and there’s a little nursery rhyme video we watch with. Did you say a rat, a pig, and a goat, and they’re all in a room and they’re trying to figure out who ate the cookie in the cookie jar. I’m not going to tell you which one did, but I’ll just let you know. None of them really took responsibility for it. So you didn’t really have a plan. You just sort of figured it out.

    Tom Georgi [00:14:27]:
    I’m a fly by the seat of your pants guy.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:29]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:30]:
    And we don’t get too much into the finances. But had you been planning in that sense?

    Tom Georgi [00:14:36]:
    Yes, we did, because my wife does the investing in our family. And when I told her I wanted to retire, she says, I don’t know if we can afford it. So I had the financial planner crunch all the numbers, and he came to Suzanne and he said, suzanne, I have some bad news for you. Tom can afford to retire. And once she heard it from somebody who knew our financial situation, she said, oh, okay, thinking, I just want to retire. I don’t care if we can afford it or not. But she was told, yes, you can afford it with pension, with Medicare. We have rental property with some income from that.

    Tom Georgi [00:15:15]:
    And then she allowed me to retire.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:19]:
    She was your boss, basically. You got permission.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:21]:

    Tom Georgi [00:15:22]:
    Remember, she’s told me, you can retire, but you got to get another job.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:25]:
    Well, that’s interesting, because we see that a lot of the happy retirees have multiple streams of income once they retire. And it sounds like you do because you have rental properties.

    Tom Georgi [00:15:35]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:35]:
    Pension? Did you have like a 401K or something like that?

    Tom Georgi [00:15:39]:
    Yes, I had an IRA.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:40]:
    An IRA?

    Tom Georgi [00:15:41]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:41]:
    Okay. So you can draw down from that if you need to.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:45]:

    Tom Georgi [00:15:45]:
    We haven’t had to go into our savings. We have enough income that we live month to month, year to year, whatever, and pay the bills.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:54]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:55]:
    I read on a coffee cup once that some people get enough exercise just pressing their luck, and it sounds like maybe that’s the case.

    Tom Georgi [00:16:05]:
    No, we’re not lucky. We did do some planning.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:16:09]:
    Yeah, for sure.

    Tom Georgi [00:16:10]:
    I didn’t just jump off one day and said, that’s it, I’m done. Although I was happy to retire, I did not want to keep working. It was a 60 miles commute. Round trip.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:16:19]:

    Tom Georgi [00:16:20]:
    And granted I have the same commute, but it’s on a train and I don’t have to worry about other traffic.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:16:26]:
    The train I find whenever I have the chance, I do that. It makes a big difference. I mean, you could get started on reading the paper. I’m sure you do. Probably right.

    Tom Georgi [00:16:35]:
    I read the paper down and back.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:16:37]:
    So by the time you get there, you’re relaxed. You’re like, let’s start the day.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:16:41]:

    Tom Georgi [00:16:42]:
    Go in and have a cup of coffee. This is when I work two days a week at the midway, have a cup of coffee, go to the briefing, and then start working. And my friend and I are always on the entrance when the museum opens. So we are there, open up and greet the guests, and then we go on to other positions. We have watches that last about an hour. We don’t stand in the same place half a day. We go and get variety in our job so that we do the entrance, we do the exit, we do the flight deck, rove around, and there’s always some safety around if some trouble develops.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:17:17]:
    Okay, so where are we right now?

    Tom Georgi [00:17:19]:
    We are on the flight deck. We have a number of jets up here.

    Tom Georgi [00:17:23]:
    The EA six B Prowler was an aircraft, a jet aircraft flown by both the Navy and the Marine Corps. It’s a jamming aircraft so it can take radar sights from the enemy and jam them so that our airplanes are not detected or not locked in on. It seats four, one pilot and three ECMOs. ECMO electronic countermeasure officers. My son flew in the Marine Corps prowler. The Navy retired its last prowler a number of years ago. The Marine Corps kept flying theirs for another year after that. They were not donating any of them to museums because they were using them for spare parts, cannibalizing them.

    Tom Georgi [00:18:02]:
    Then a year after that, the Marine Corps retired its last one, and they offered one to the midway. And we said, heck, yeah. And it came. It was hoisted by crane on board the flight deck. And I got the bureau number, which is like a VIN number on an automobile, and I sent it to my son, and I said, chris, have you ever flown this aircraft? This exact aircraft, that exact airplane? He checked his logbooks, because the pilots and the crew members keep meticulous logbooks. And he checked, and he says, dad, I flew that exact airplane, or I flew in that exact airplane. 47 missions in Iraq.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:18:44]:
    What are the chances?

    Tom Georgi [00:18:45]:
    I don’t know, but I made a contribution to the museum, and I had his name stenciled on the cockpit, and there’s navy people on the other side, and then he’s the only marine on the port side of the plane. He’s been here a couple of times, and we’ve had our picture taken with it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:00]:
    Oh, you have?

    Tom Georgi [00:19:01]:
    Oh, yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:02]:
    It says, lieutenant Colonel Chris Georgi with.

    Tom Georgi [00:19:05]:
    His call sign Yeti just below that. Now, Yeti is his call sign. And I told you that he takes after his old man, all his body hair, and that was the call sign given to him by cohorts of his. And once you’re given a call sign, you live with it. You can’t say, I don’t like that one. I want another one.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:22]:
    You’re right.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:23]:

    Tom Georgi [00:19:23]:
    So you have to live with that for your career.

    Tom Georgi [00:19:26]:
    Ejection seat theater down here.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:29]:
    We’re not actually going to eject ourselves out of this seat, are we?

    Tom Georgi [00:19:32]:
    No, you’re not. You don’t even have to sit in it.

    Tom Georgi [00:19:35]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:37]:
    When did ejection seats become a thing? In World War II. Could you eject?

    Tom Georgi [00:19:43]:
    I kind of doubt it. Probably.

    Tom Georgi [00:19:44]:
    Once jets came about, people had to climb up out of the cockpit and jump.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:50]:
    What are the biggest challenges you faced in the retirement journey?

    Tom Georgi [00:19:54]:
    Well, I’ve been retired for, what, 16 years. And the biggest challenge is you’re getting older and things stop working. When you get older, you’ll find this out someday.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:05]:
    By things, you mean you, right?

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:07]:

    Tom Georgi [00:20:07]:
    The body parts, your legs start to go. Other maladies form. What is that? Neuropathies form nothing to prevent me from working here. But at some point in time, a lot of my friends have stopped coming because of physical ailments.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:26]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:26]:
    So the biggest challenge has been a physical. Just sort of.

    Tom Georgi [00:20:30]:
    It gets harder, I would say so, yes.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:33]:
    Would you say that’s the only thing that’s limiting in retirement, everything else is less limiting.

    Tom Georgi [00:20:39]:
    In our case, we don’t have any financial problems. My wife enjoys the same things I do, which is travel and our grandson. So right now is pretty much the main and only thing that I’m facing is physical limitations.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:57]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:59]:
    Because your wife, Suzanne, worked for the airlines for a long time. Right.

    Tom Georgi [00:21:04]:
    She retired from United Airlines after 20 years. So we do get some travel benefits from that. That’s one of the reasons we do so much travel.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:21:11]:
    So you’re still able to get benefits now from this because you were able to visit your kids even when they live far away for basically free or for discounted rates?

    Tom Georgi [00:21:20]:
    Yes, basically free, unless it’s an international flight and then you have some fees.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:21:25]:
    And things like that.

    Tom Georgi [00:21:26]:
    But if I was flying from here to DC, yes, it’s basically free, but your standby. So if there’s space on the airplane, you can get on. If there’s no space, you have to wait for another flight.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:21:35]:
    How about social groups? Do you have any of those?

    Tom Georgi [00:21:38]:
    We do. It’s pretty much the same social group we’ve had for the last 30 or 40 years. We get together with a group of friends that we’ve known for a long time. We enjoy going to musical events in Carlsbad on Friday nights during the summer. We have what’s known as jazz in the park. And we go to these various parks and everybody brings a different dish. We bring our chairs, we sit down as a group and enjoy each other’s company. We’re not there.

    Tom Georgi [00:22:07]:
    So much for the music as we are for the food.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:10]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:10]:
    All right.

    Tom Georgi [00:22:11]:
    And all of the ladies and people that belong to this group are excellent cooks as well.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:17]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:17]:
    And do you play jazz instrument?

    Tom Georgi [00:22:20]:
    That’s one of my big regrets in life is I never learned to play a musical instrument. I tried piano for six months, but you got to practice, practice, practice, and if you fall out of practice, you might as well. So that is a regret of mine and nothing I can do about it. I’m not going to pick up an instrument now.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:37]:
    Hey, it’s never too late.

    Tom Georgi [00:22:39]:
    Other things we do is, again, music related. We have a group that plays every few months in the north county coastal community concert band.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:48]:

    Tom Georgi [00:22:49]:
    And it’s about a 60, 70 piece orchestra or band? Band. And the same people that go to the concerts in the park will go to this as well. And then we go off for dinner afterwards.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:59]:

    Tom Georgi [00:22:59]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:00]:
    Do you play softball or you were just an umpire?

    Tom Georgi [00:23:02]:
    I played when I was in the Marine Corps. Fast pitch.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:05]:

    Tom Georgi [00:23:05]:
    But when I got out of the Marine Corps, I’m not going to compete with these 1819 year olds. So I started umpiring, and it’s slow pitch now. I umpire slow pitch until my reflexes slowed down and I started getting hit by foul balls. And we do not wear a mask. Did not wear a mask in my league. It’s slow pitch. And women, for some reason, lower their wrists when they swing through and the bell hits the bat and comes right back. At who? At me?

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:32]:
    At you.

    Tom Georgi [00:23:33]:
    And my reflexes slowed down, so I started getting a few dings, and my wife says, maybe you want to think about hanging them up.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:41]:

    Tom Georgi [00:23:41]:
    And I did.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:42]:
    Okay, so your brother, Pete, who is the train conductor in Santa Barbara at the zoo, he still plays, I think.

    Tom Georgi [00:23:50]:
    I believe he does. Probably a senior league.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:52]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:53]:
    He said it’s getting to where he doesn’t see the ball as well at night, but he still enjoys it.

    Tom Georgi [00:23:57]:
    I just had my cataract surgery in one eye a week ago, and it’s looking pretty good, even.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:04]:
    It’s not red or anything.

    Tom Georgi [00:24:05]:
    No, it’s this eye. And I’m going to get the other eye done in January.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:08]:

    Tom Georgi [00:24:09]:
    It was painless, it was short, and even the rehab is no discomfort.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:14]:
    In fact, when you sat down, I got lost in your eyes when you.

    Tom Georgi [00:24:19]:
    I pretend I didn’t hear that.

    Tom Georgi [00:24:22]:
    Ours is the number one museum. According to Tripadvisor, it is the number four museum in the United States, number 24 in the world. So we’re very proud of that.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:35]:
    Wow. That’s really high up there.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:37]:

    Tom Georgi [00:24:37]:
    And it’s one of the number one attractions people want to see when they come to San Diego. I mentioned that there was an original objection to the fact that the Midway, when it came to San Diego, would block the view, but in hindsight, it has become the view.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:54]:
    What else about the Midway, can you tell me in terms of its significance in combat or in its use in days?

    Tom Georgi [00:25:03]:
    It was not in World War II. It came out after World War II. It did serve during Korea, but not in Korea. It was in the Vietnam war. It was in the cold war, the first Gulf war, and longest serving carrier for a while, and then it was decommissioned in 1992, and it opened up here as a museum in 2004. This will be our 20th anniversary as a museum. Like I said, the number one naval ship museum in the world.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:25:38]:
    That’s incredible.

    Tom Georgi [00:25:39]:
    It’s a great place to work, and you don’t have to be former military to work here. They’ll take volunteers from any and every walk of life we’ve got couples, married couples. We’ve got a former lifeguard. We’ve got former fire department. We’ve got people with no military experience at all. And we train them for whatever they need to, whatever their interests are. We have other departments. We have docents.

    Tom Georgi [00:26:05]:
    We have ships restoration, aircraft restoration, safeties, librarians. So there’s always something for somebody. Whatever your interest is, there’s something for you here.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:26:18]:
    Do you have a favorite happy retiree memory?

    Tom Georgi [00:26:22]:
    Well, it would be, obviously, the birth of our grandson almost four years ago. Like I said, he’ll be our one and only, most likely. And my wife is totally in love with the kid. I do, too, but she just falls head over heels for him. Another memory involving the midway was this is probably eight or nine years ago. We had a blind couple come on board, both totally blind. I’m not sure if they were husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend, but they each carried a cane the male held onto the backpack of the woman in front of him. And I’m thinking, why would they come here to the midway? This is a site, type of a museum.

    Tom Georgi [00:27:04]:
    And I was escorting them. I was assigned to escort them. And they walked around. They would touch things, they listened to things. They would ask me questions. And I was very impressed because the next day, they said they were going to SeaWorld. So here was a couple that were going out and making the most of their situation and doing things that nobody would expect them to do. And I walked with them for a couple of hours, and then they left.

    Tom Georgi [00:27:32]:
    And I thought, wow, what courage. And what? I don’t know. What’s the word I’m looking for?

    Ryan Doolittle [00:27:40]:
    Optimism. Courage. What a grateful attitude.

    Tom Georgi [00:27:44]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:27:46]:
    Is there a rivalry between the branches of military?

    Tom Georgi [00:27:49]:
    I tell people that they say, isn’t the Marine Corps part of the Navy? And I said, yes, we’re part of the department of the Navy, the men’s department.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:02]:
    I haven’t heard that one. Your. A lot of your brothers are in the army. What do you say to them? They’re not even worth.

    Tom Georgi [00:28:12]:
    No, I mean, they don’t bother criticizing the Marine Corps. They know it’s worthless or try to do know.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:20]:
    You would know. I don’t know. But from what I’ve heard, it’s harder to get through the Marine Corps training and all that.

    Tom Georgi [00:28:26]:
    Of course.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:27]:

    Tom Georgi [00:28:28]:
    Watch the army parade sometime, and then watch the Marines parade mark different.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:32]:

    Tom Georgi [00:28:33]:
    One of the most impressive things to do would go to the Marine barracks at 8th and. And during the summer months and watch the evening parade.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:40]:

    Tom Georgi [00:28:40]:
    Oh, my gosh. Yes.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:42]:
    Is that in San Diego or is that.

    Tom Georgi [00:28:43]:
    No, that’s in DC. Oh, the commandant’s house. And the yard right next to it is the Marine barracks. And these guys are so precision, like, go see it if you ever get the chance in the summer months.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:55]:
    Is that where they spend the guns?

    Tom Georgi [00:28:57]:
    Yes, it is. That’s the drill team, the silent drill team.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:59]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:00]:
    The midway. Tell me what it’s named after. The battle is named after the Battle.

    Tom Georgi [00:29:04]:
    Of Midway, which was the turning point in the war in the Pacific. The Americans were able to decode the Japanese, and they figured out where they would be at a certain time, and they sent all of these ships into the battle. And like I said, the battle lasted just a short few minutes, and it changed the tide because we sank four japanese carriers one day and then three one day and one the next day. So that really took the Japanese by surprise, and they pulled back and we were able to continue our advance in the Pacific.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:38]:
    And that was really the turning. I mean, before that, we were kind.

    Tom Georgi [00:29:42]:
    Of losing on the defensive.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:43]:
    Yeah, right.

    Tom Georgi [00:29:44]:
    You could take the offensive after that.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:46]:
    It’s hard to even think about, what if that hadn’t have gone, that know.

    Tom Georgi [00:29:51]:
    We’D be speaking Japanese, and so it’s.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:53]:
    Sort of an honor to be on a ship that’s named after such a momentous battle.

    Tom Georgi [00:30:00]:
    I think so.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:30:01]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:30:01]:
    Tom, do you have any advice for other people who are either retired but they’re not happy, or maybe they’re thinking of retiring and they want to make sure that they are happy?

    Tom Georgi [00:30:12]:
    Well, I would tell them you need to be able to think outside the box. If you don’t have certain interests, try something new, and your time is precious. You want to be able to make the most of it. Don’t waste it. If you try something you don’t like it, try something else. Try something different.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:30:30]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:30:30]:
    And then that’s kind of what you’ve done.

    Tom Georgi [00:30:33]:
    I didn’t have to change my interest. This fell right into my interest. And there’s a lot of friends here that are former military that I can relate to, but I can also relate to the wives of husbands that come down here to volunteer. So it’s just such an enjoyable experience for me, and hopefully I’m going to do it for many, many times. You should make sure that it’s a joint decision between you and your spouse if you’re married and that you can afford to do it and that it’s not going to be too much of a pain so that you begin hating that job, too.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:06]:

    Tom Georgi [00:31:07]:
    Just because you hate your job, don’t necessarily retire from it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:11]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:11]:
    And a lot of people that we’ve found in our research who retire and become unhappy, they think that the only change they need to make is retiring, and then they can just watch TV all day and they’ll finally be happy. And that doesn’t seem to work out very well.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:27]:

    Tom Georgi [00:31:27]:
    You may end up with another paying job that you’re not going to like, but you may have to get something to pay the bills.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:33]:

    Tom Georgi [00:31:34]:
    I can afford to retire and volunteer.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:37]:

    Tom Georgi [00:31:38]:
    That’s a lot less stress on me for that.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:40]:
    So you’re still active, but you’re doing things you want to do.

    Tom Georgi [00:31:44]:
    I enjoy doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, how I want to do it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:48]:

    Tom Georgi [00:31:49]:
    That’s my definition of retirement.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:51]:
    That’s beautiful, Tom. You should maybe write a book.

    Tom Georgi [00:31:55]:
    Works for me. No, that’s too much work.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:57]:
    Maybe someone could write it for you.

    Tom Georgi [00:31:59]:
    Sure, go ahead.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:32:01]:
    Well, is there anything you wanted to say about the midway in terms of getting people to visit or. I mean, this is your time to plug it.

    Tom Georgi [00:32:08]:
    This is a joyful place for me and for most of the other people who work here, people that don’t want to work here, if they don’t. So everybody that’s on board loves the midway, and I hear that all the time. We have an all hands meeting every month, and everybody gets up there and says, thank you, thank you, thank you, all you people. This is a family. This is close knit family. Everybody likes everybody else. They like what they do. And we get rewarded for it in little perks here and there from the midway.

    Tom Georgi [00:32:38]:
    There’s a woman on this ship that have worked here 33,000 hours.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:32:42]:
    Oh, my gosh.

    Tom Georgi [00:32:43]:
    That’s what I say.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:32:45]:
    How long did it take her to get that many?

    Tom Georgi [00:32:47]:
    Well, the ship’s been open ten years. No, I’m sorry. 20 years. 20 years. I’ve been here ten years. I’ve been here ten years. And I’m just getting my 6000 hours award in January.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:32:57]:
    Oh, congratulations.

    Tom Georgi [00:32:58]:
    Thanks. She’s been here since the ship opened. But you do the math. It’s like she lives here.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:03]:
    So when she sees you, she’s like, there’s the new guy.

    Tom Georgi [00:33:07]:
    No, the new guys are the guys just getting their 1000 hours awards.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:10]:

    Tom Georgi [00:33:11]:
    I put in two days a week.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:13]:

    Tom Georgi [00:33:14]:
    And other people work here more, but I think two days is enough for me.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:18]:

    Tom Georgi [00:33:19]:
    I don’t want to burn out.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:20]:
    Right. Exactly.

    Tom Georgi [00:33:22]:
    But it is the best job I’ve ever.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:25]:
    Let’s. I think that’s a probably good place to close it. Tom, Georgi, thank you so much for coming on the happiest retirees.

    Tom Georgi [00:33:31]:
    Bye. Thank you, Ryan.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:32]:
    Appreciate it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:32]:
    You have a good one.

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