Dr. Joe Files, Professor Emeritus of Medicine, is a beloved alumnus of UMMC. He trained and worked at UMMC for over 40 years and served as Director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, Division of Hematology, UMMC Cancer Institute as well as Interim Chair of Medicine to name a few. During his tenure, he published over 100 abstracts and publications and served on numerous UMMC committees and councils. Here, he shares what life has been like since retiring in 2011.
What have you been up to since retirement?
As much as I enjoyed working at UMMC, I have loved retirement. We spend a great deal of time traveling between Winston-Salem and Seattle, visiting and vacationing with our grown sons and their families. My days are filled with projects and I take pride in the fact that no one has ever cut our grass but me. These projects require lots of boy toys and mine include a tractor, several lawnmowers, tillers, golf cart, John Deere gator, chain saws, and two trailers. Oh, and a new Ford F-150 pickup truck. Gardening started in January when I planted my onions and doesn’t end until November. Outside of these projects, I read books frequently, mostly fiction and the New England Journal of Medicine.
What is something you have learned in retirement?
As much as I loved my medical career I discovered I truly enjoy planning my day without the structure of rounds, patients, and administrative responsibilities. My wife thought I would die without my head at a microscope! I guess I surprised a lot of folks.
What do you miss most about UMMC?
By choice, I spent my career at UMMC, 41 years of my life. I mostly miss my patients and loved my time with them in the clinic. I also miss the Hematology staff I worked with on a daily basis. These are some of the finest people I have ever known and they remain lifelong friends. In fact, I loved and sometimes miss everything about working at UMMC.
What advice would you give to those career planning for the future?
First, unless you are independently wealthy, take full advantage of allowed retirement savings plan. It will enable you to retire on your own terms. Second, I told students to focus on being the best doctor you can be but develop healthy activities outside of work. Third, it doesn’t hurt to wear cowboy boots on Saturday rounds!