New Beginnings

We’ve recently had a few retirements happen at my workplace.  These are people who have spent over a decade of their lives working here at this company.  The last one we recently had was a director, who had been with the company for 13 years.  As you might expect, there was a very early succession plan for someone to take over the large department she ran.  And because that plan was put into effect early, two things happened.

First, her departure was a non-event.  All of her duties had been delegated away and she was probably reduced to consulting and advising in her final weeks.

Second, her departure could become a huge event.  There were meetings and meetings and farewell meetings and other meetings and goodbyes, and capping the whole thing off, a send-off outside where all the employees lined the driveway and cheered (as ironic as that may sound) as she left.

This send off was utterly ridiculous.  I was trying to predict the result of this.  “She’s going to start crying, she’s going to get in a wreck and get injured, and it’s going to be all our fault.”  Then as she’s stopped at the exit with everyone clapping and waving around her car, “She can’t see traffic coming.  There’s people in the way.”  Then as they uprooted some farewell signs and put them in her car for memories, “Here’s some dirt for your back seat.”  No, I’m not cynical, why do you ask?

After that whole spectacle, I got to thinking.  Retirement is scary.  Especially so if work is the only social interaction you have in life.  I know we all know people for whom work is life.  Those people may lose their passion for life after retirement because they’ve lost all the people who they were close with.  Along those same lines, it can also be a harsh lesson to learn that the people you thought were your friends were only friends out of convenience.  That you really only ever had one thing in common – your work.

People come and go from jobs all the time.  There’s always chances to make new friends as you change jobs, even if those friends are restricted to the workplace.  But there’s really only one retirement.  Unless you come out of retirement, of course, but usually, you retire once.  And when that happens, you need to face what you have right then.

At my job previous to this one, my boss was one of those people who just would not let go.  I was hired under the promise that I was going to take over the department.  Four years later, he was still there.  He kept saying he had plans for retirement; that he had lots of things he wanted to do.  But I think the real reason for him staying was the money, despite my blog topic of hanging on to your “friends”.

So, what am I going to do at retirement (assuming I make it)?  Well, I’m in a unique situation because of my relationship, so I will probably be doing community things, both local and online.  I may do a lot of volunteering or I may just sit on my ass and see just how big the Internet really is.  I keep saying I have so many ideas and no time to do any of them.  What will happen when I have the time?  I’ll find out when I get there.


  1. I vote for sit on ass and explore internet. By the time you retire, you should be able to physically hook your brain right to the internet. There will be no need for anything else.