Claudia Turner agrees with those who say retirement is the busiest time of life. She’s not just taking their word for it though. After an almost 19-year career with Pfizer, Claudia has been living the life of a very busy retiree since 2010.
“I’ve always liked to stay busy and have enjoyed trying new things—both professionally and personally,” says Claudia.
An Unlikely Journey in Pfizer
Claudia, who has a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, had plenty of opportunities to tackle new challenges at Pfizer. She joined the company in 1992 as a researcher in the Discovery Group, focusing on Asthma research.
After four years, she moved into the Research & Development (R&D) group as a business manager for the then head of R&D, George Milne. In this role Claudia had the opportunity to take on such tasks as writing her boss’s speeches, crafting op eds for the news media and publishing an online employee newsletter. “This was an unexpected but welcomed opportunity that was a departure from my background as a research scientist,” says Claudia. She was already interested in writing, and the R&D assignment helped her hone her skills.
In fact, she was so good at it that she was asked to start up and manage the R&D communications group after Pfizer acquired Warner Lambert in 2000. Next up was several years in the medical writing group of the Regulatory Affairs department and, finally, as Executive Director of risk management leads.
“I was never bored working at Pfizer,” says Claudia. “I was given the opportunity to do many different things, and I knew I’d want to continue having new experiences in my retirement.”
As Busy As Ever
Claudia has led an extremely busy life in retirement. Soon after she left Pfizer, she went to work on her first novel. Using the discipline and research skills she applied at Pfizer, she wrote a suspense thriller titled, “Scars and Stripes Forever.” The novel is based on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and was published in 2014.
Now, five years later, her second book, “The Scions of Atlantis,” was just published in February. “It’s a sequel to the first book but is more of a reflection on what is going on in today’s world,” says Claudia.
In addition to writing two books, Claudia has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, travelled extensively to learn about new cultures and heaped tons of unconditional love on her three grandchildren. Oh, and she is an avid gardener, golfer and reader, and she volunteers at a local food bank.
What advice does Claudia have for others who are approaching retirement? “Unless you absolutely know what you want to do, take some time to explore things—you might find a passion you haven’t been aware of because you’ve been too busy working,” she says.
Another piece of advice is to view retirement as a new beginning and not an end. “You can start over and do the things you’ve always wanted to do,” says Claudia.