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Not Entirely Retired
How two longtime employees found a way to ease the separation anxiety

These days, retirement is getting to be less an abrupt event and more a gradual process. Increasingly, retirees are taking part-time “bridge” jobs to ease the transition. They might work for different employers or even pursue different lines of work. Others return to their longtime employers on a part-time basis as consultants.

That is the case with Paulette Hynson and Joyce Jones. Both retired earlier this year. Now they are back, working part time, doing what they do best.

Now, HR consultant Paulette Hynson can enjoy life.

Paulette Hynson

Everyone was surprised when Paulette Hynson announced her retirement. She is only 52, after all. But Hynson, who never earned a college degree and yet rose to become one of two assistant directors in the School of Medicine’s Department of Human Resources, had worked for Johns Hopkins for 33 years—every year but one since she was in 10th grade.

Hynson retired officially as assistant director of employment and staff relations on Aug. 16. It had not been an easy decision. “Johns Hopkins was my life for a long time, so I had to give it lots of thought. There was never a right time. I always had a big project on the agenda.” But with an empty nest, a retired husband and a new grandson, Hynson finally made her move. In May, on what she describes as a “very emotional day,” she told her boss, Gloria Bryan, senior director of HR, that she was leaving.

“I don’t want to lose you,” said Bryan. From her perspective, Hynson had done it all: managed the temporary pool, then the recruiters, then special projects and finally employee relations, where she dealt regularly with sensitive, complex workplace issues. So Bryan offered Hynson the opportunity to stay on the team as a consultant.

The arrangement allows Hynson to work two days a week in employee relations. It satisfies her need to remain busy professionally yet leaves time to volunteer at her church and grow a small fashion accessories boutique she runs.

Looking back on her career, Hynson admits she was a workaholic. “But that probably helped me make the decision I made. Now I can enjoy life. I’m looking forward to the next phase.”

Joyce Jones, taking JCAHO to international heights.

Joyce Jones

As the longtime coordinator of regulatory affairs, Joyce Jones had to make sure that Hopkins Hospital measured up to standards set by numerous credentialing organizations. But it is for her oversight of one particular survey, done by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, that she will be best remembered.

Few knew more about the exacting, triennial JCAHO audits than Jones. Her mock surveys were legendary. She became the very embodiment of compliance; even her initials, J. J., seemed to bring it on: “JAY-co.”

So when Jones announced her retirement last fall, some protested. “You’re not going anywhere,” said Liz Von Kessler, director of performance improvement for Johns Hopkins International. Von Kessler had been among Jones’ cadre of mock surveyors and now was providing consulting services to affiliated, overseas hospitals seeking accreditation from JCAHO International. Who better than Jones to have on her team?

“It was a natural fit,” says Von Kessler. “It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we could capitalize on all the knowledge and expertise Joyce had amassed over the years.”

Now Jones spends one day a week with JHI’s global collaboration division. She conducts assessments to determine if hospitals abroad are ready to apply for accreditation, then prepares them and monitors quality. She’s already been to Singapore and Beirut and soon will visit Turkey and Mexico.

JHI wasn’t the only office to capitalize on Jones’ regulatory savvy. In Strategic Planning and Market Research, now based at Bond Street Wharf in Fells Point, she’s compiling and centralizing data on the myriad certifications JHM is subject to. “We’re doing this so that we don’t let a license slip and know that all our services are appropriately certified, licensed or accredited,” says Jones.

When she made up her mind to retire after 18 years at Hopkins Hospital, Jones was hardly headed for the rocking chair. “I thought it was time to look for other adventures, and I was considering teaching,” says the master’s-prepared nurse, adding that no one else her age (which she declines to reveal) is staying at home. “The friends I’ve grown up with professionally have all had careers. I don’t know of any who are not doing something now.”

—Anne Bennett Swingle



Johns Hopkins Medicine

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