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Kathy DeYoung works at the Coach store at Southdale Shopping Center in Edina.

Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune

Beyond retirement: 'Value attached to a paycheck'

  • Article by: LAURA FRENCH
  • Special to the Star Tribune
  • April 3, 2012 - 10:46 AM

Kathy DeYoung was fully retired for a little over three years after a 36-year career as a middle-school English teacher.

In 2011, she went back to work part-time as a salesperson for Coach at the store in Edina's Southdale mall. "I was very concerned about leaving the intense structure of teaching for nothing," she recalled, but she threw herself into the 2008 presidential campaign and began volunteering at PYC High School in north Minneapolis.

In between those activities, "I slept, and I cleaned," she said.

Last fall, just as she was starting to think it was "time for structure," DeYoung, then 62, stopped into the Coach store to share a compliment she'd gotten on her new handbag. The salespeople said, "You should work here," and the next week, she was hired. "The job appeared when I was ready," she said.

The company appreciates her flexibility, working as few as four hours some weeks and as many as 30 hours other weeks. DeYoung has found that many of her teaching skills -- engaging people, being able to carry on multiple conversations at once -- translate well to the retail world.

While DeYoung acknowledges that "the money is nice," she says she's working primarily "for the social interaction and structure." She continues to volunteer but says that those tasks are often less challenging. "There's a value attached to a paycheck," she said.

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