“Good friends never say Goodbye; they say ‘See you soon!’ ”
My last day at work came with little or no fanfare. We had a nice team luncheon, which I was pleased to see was nicely attended. We had some great discussion, telling each other what we appreciated about each other, and what I would actually be up to. I will miss my work team – they were intelligent, hard working, and problem solvers. They will continue to thrive.
What I truly valued, though, were those constant, honest, direct conversations that many people wanted to have. People wanted to know what I would be doing. Several people were curious how I was going to make it work. There were many questions about what drove me to my decision. There was a very long (LONG) list of people wanting to talk about their situation…needing a break…and the steps they were taking as well. They wanted to share their stories.
I’ve noticed since I started talking about the topic of (r)etirement (remember, it’s lowercase “r” since I’ll be back, doing something, one day!!!), that the discussion is a popular one. What is not popular is people actually taking the action to stop the madness and take steps to take a break. People are mid career. They see what a great job market is out there. They have been burning the candle on both ends – with 3 hour a day commutes, kids in travel sports, and 24×7 support. They see the light at the end of the tunnel coming as they age. Several want to take time off. Many folks were already visiting places they might want to live (“anywhere out of Illinois”). What I loved most was the honest, direct conversation we were able to have. There was no longer a “keep the company line” feeling where I had to guard my comments, I could speak with people from the heart, and I had some fantastic in-depth conversations. I was mindfully present, and I was a role model for some. There are people out there looking to make a change, and I hope I was able to at least make them brave enough to consider it seriously and take actions toward a different outcome.
My last day, by noon, I took a final, freeing step. I removed work email from my phone (a huge battery drain and time waster!!!) and removed myself from receiving 24×7 alert support messages. I stood taller, I felt free. I spent a lot of time in the lobby, as I kept running into friends and colleagues, and it was a popular passing place. I received several comments. “You look relaxed, Janet.” “Looks like you’ve grown 3 inches taller”, “Wow you look refreshed”.
I suppose this (r)etirement option is going to pay off.