At retirement plus four months, this topic seems boring and cloying. But let me finish it off. Here some excepts from my notes of what now seems like someone else's life.
Retirement is an adjustment and more and more people who have been retired for a while tell me that it "takes time." I can vouch for that, but I don't think that means years. At four months, I think I'm getting there.
Friday, July 15, 2016 – 8.7 workweeks to go; 18 calendar weeks to go
It’s interesting to me that people get a vicarious thrill on my coming retirement. “When’s the date, Dan?” I guess it’s like the way I used to get a vicarious thrill out of the last day of school for my daughters each year. I couldn’t take the whole summer off, but I could virtually enjoy that event and the sense of freedom through them. I guess that’s what people are doing by tracking my approach to the finish line -- virtually experiencing freedom by tracking my progress.
Friday, August 5, 2016 – 17 weeks, 41 workdays to go
As I transition out, it hard for people to see that I’m doing just that – transitioning out, not checking out.
I think “checking out” is the lens through which people view someone who has announced his or her retirement. Managers don’t know what to do because they lose power over someone whose time is short. Performance appraisals, raises or the lack of raises no longer influence behavior. As I transition out of my long-term responsibilities, direct reports and others can see me as checking out. I think it’s more a reflection of what they think they would do once they decided to retire versus what I’m doing. Projection and, perhaps, envy.
I do think that there’s a big difference in transitioning out and checking out. The former is necessary for a good ending. The later, while attractive to some, is not in my repertoire. My work habits and work ethic won’t allow me to do that. Still, as I get to the last couple of weeks, I’ll have to force myself as part of the transition to “let go.” In that sense checking out is not such a bad thing at the right time. Checking out early is the bad part. I think I’ll know when the time is right to close-up shop.
Friday, August 19 – 13 (Recalculated) Weeks, 36 Workdays to Go
One of the things I notice is when I tell people I’m retiring is that I’m congratulated – as if I’m doing something notable or courageous. The most recent example was when I talked to an investment advisor at T. Rowe. His congratulations were over the top enthusiastic. Perhaps it’s more a reflection of the congratulator’s desire to retire and fear of doing so than anything that the “congratulatee” has done to earn praise. Anyway, it makes me a little uncomfortable. I’m fortunate that I’m able to do this now (but I’ll be 66, for crying out loud!), but I don’t feel particularly praise-worthy for doing it.
Thursday, September 8, 2016 – 10 Weeks, 28 Workdays, 224 Work Hours to Go
…but as I always say, who’s counting?
I found myself adding to my answer to a question about when my retirement date is that “it’s starting to feel pretty good.” And it is.
All in all, I’m starting to get the feeling of freedom and of excitement. It’s reminiscent of the feelings I think I used to have when I was in elementary school and the end of the school year was neigh. But that was so long ago in the last century that I really can’t remember.
Friday, November 4, 2016 – Seven days, five workdays, 40 work hours to go
Well if this isn’t the end of the game, I don’t know what is. In the football game of my employed life, I’m down to one second (!) left in the game. I’m up to date on assignments and transitions. All I need to do is to take the hike, down the ball and let the clock run out.
Still, I know that, but (amazingly) don’t feel it yet. What am I waiting for Who knows? But at some point, I have to realize that my ducks are in a row and it’s safe to celebrate my new freedom.
If I feel anything right now, it’s relief. Relief at not having to do emergency non-value added things at work. Relief in losing a few bosses. Relief at not having to monitor, follow up and cajole to get things done. Relief in not having to think about HR stuff anymore.
Meanwhile, it’s time to savor the final approach and celebrate the end to a long and lucky career. And to get excited about the future!
Let go of the past it’s done and completed
The good and the bad can now be deleted
New start and renewal -- the tasks of the day
And remembering the person who was lost on the way
Lost in achieving and in pleasing others
Buried within the question of druthers
To arise again at this stage of life
From the gift of time and the end of strife.
Or something like that.