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Dan Rather: Retiring in mid-70s is for sissies

Is retirement overrated -- especially if you love what you do for a living?Dan Rather would tell you yes. In fact, in a new book called “Dig This Gig,” Rather offers career advice to twentysomethings and reflects on his decades as a journalist. His reflections touch on those stinging moments in 2004 and 2005 when his career at CBS got derailed in the wake of a story that questioned President
Dan Rather: \"I am going to keep working.\"
Dan Rather: \"I am going to keep working.\"Suzanne Plunkett / AP file / Today

Is retirement overrated -- especially if you love what you do for a living?

Dan Rather would tell you yes. In fact, in a new book called “Dig This Gig,” Rather offers career advice to twentysomethings and reflects on his decades as a journalist. His reflections touch on those stinging moments in 2004 and 2005 when his career at CBS got derailed in the wake of a story that questioned President Bush’s National Guard service.

“I was extremely disappointed how things had come together there at the end,” Rather tells author Laura Dodd in an interview for the book.

“But by that time -- remember by that time I am at almost 75 years old -- I never thought about hanging it up,” Rather continues. “I never thought about giving up. I said, ‘Well, I don’t like this, don’t think it is right, don’t think it’s fair, but I’m going to find something else. I am going to keep working.’”

Keep working he has. He went on to start “Dan Rather Reports,” an hour-long HDNet cable news broadcast that’s available to viewers who have high-definition televisions.

“Dig This Gig” (Citadel, $14.95) will be published in late March, and it’s a cool book. After dozens of frank interviews with people in all sorts of fields, Dodd has crafted what she describes as an “over-a-beer-style” approach to career talk. What are people’s jobs really like? What do they really do all day long? And is it actually possible and practical to pursue something like a do-gooder gig, or a green gig, or an “outdoor office” gig?

Each section of the book concludes with words of wisdom from “mentors” like Rather. (He’s the mentor for the book’s “derailed gigs” section.) In offering advice to 20-somethings who are struggling to find their way, Rather says he’s always been deeply affected by Winston Churchill’s quote, “Never, never, ever give up.”

“Once you adopt it, it’s not all that hard,” Rather says. “It’s really very, very important. When you are in your 20s and sometimes confused and sometimes discouraged, just always keep putting one foot in front of the other. Just keep on keeping on. It’s what has worked for me.”