Meet Fern Greene Johnson
Fern Greene Johnson retired in July 2001. She started her career working summers in 1969 and 1969 and became a permanent employee in 1971. Fern spent her entire career working mainly in Personnel and was assigned briefly to Public Works/Sanitation for 18 months.
In her retirement she enjoys sewing, arts and crafts, bible study, dining out, watching movies and YouTube videos, and listening to music. She says she really enjoys just being at home.
Activities that keep her busy that she truly enjoys are working at her church and getting together monthly with her breakfast group of retired friends.
Fern has one lovely daughter, one wonderful son and four awesome grandsons.
She enjoys cruising and has cruised to the Bahamas, Mexico, Spain and Italy. She has also traveled to Florida, New York, Georgia, Washington state, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Her retirement has allowed her to participate in LACERS Well seminars and RLACEI. She has been a member of AARP for 13 years. She faithfully attends Covenant Blessing Fellowship where she has served in various leadership positions and in various ministries. She also regularly attends bible study through Bible Study Fellowship International.
She has intermittently attended the OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at Cal State, Dominguez Hills.
Her words of wisdom for retirees are, “I would encourage them to identify those things they’ve always wanted to do and do them; try new things even though they may seem difficult; serve in your community of choice because there’s a benefit to all involved. I also would encourage retirees not to get stuck on what isn’t right with life and live in and out of what is right about life. Also, get or stay connected with those you love, especially your family, and/or those who mean a lot to you. Set healthy boundaries with them and stay cognizant that the relationship doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be purposeful.
“To those getting ready to retire: don’t be afraid. There is so much more to life when you can make choices about how you’ll spend your time. And finally, take some control and make preparations for your demise. It is inevitable.”
What was the smartest thing she did to prepare for retirement? “To learn to live within my means,” she says. “I have always had a beautiful and quality life without living extravagantly. For the most part, I’ve learned to be content with what I have and who I am.”
What does she miss or not miss about her years of service to the City of Los Angeles?
“I miss working sometimes. I loved the various assignments I had while working for the City. I feel like I had several accomplishments and made many contributions to the City’s employees and citizens. It was important to me, a human resource and development professional, that, through my work, employment prospects had access to jobs/careers based on merit and without undue bias, and that employees were treated professionally, equitably and given the greatest opportunity to develop their skills and abilities through the various programs the City offered. I wouldn’t mind telecommuting and working on projects that help improve services provided by the City to its employees or citizens.”
As she looks back on her City career, would she have done anything differently? Fern reflects that the only thing she would have done differently is to mentor those individuals she saw with the potential to impact the City in the most positive way.
“In retirement, every day is different, but most are filled with communion with God, attempting to provide wise counsel to those asking for help, visiting with friends, and engaging in some type of study or service to others.”
She says if she could change one thing about retired life, she would love to spend more quality time with her grandsons. And while she’s very content with retirement life, a little more structure, surely, wouldn’t hurt her!