So I have done it! My boss now knows that in three months time I will be retiring. How did that go? I work for a caring charity and my boss is a lovely person. She trusts me, knows that I am reliable and understands that I don’t make decision lightly … she also understands my need for a good work-life balance to stay happy and healthy and respects my desire to work in admin, rather than as the manager I used to be … but when I told her my news it was clear that it wasn’t something she was expecting.
Mostly she was upset that she was losing a reliable member of staff. She argued that I wasn’t anywhere near old enough to retire [I know]. I [possibly unrealistically] wanted her to be happy for me and so kept reminding her that my retirement is wonderful news and that perhaps she could be pleased for me.
We were meeting at our head office and later we went to tell other colleagues who were equally shocked and also envious. This broadcasting of the announcement helped me to really absorb the reality of it in my heart, as well as my head [this might sound silly after so much planning] and the inner joy I felt was almost overwhelming. I was able to fly the flag for the power of saving and how being frugal and strict with outgoings can pay off. Of course, everyone wanted to know what our retirement plans are and became misty-eyed with envy at all those forthcoming long trips to sunny places in our campervan.
I was feeling happy and relieved to have got this conversation over and then the mood flipped. As you might have read, the company has been through various re-organisations recently and just after I had given my news the information came through that the company is implementing an immediate recruitment freeze. A stab of guilt pierced through my joyful state as I realised I was leaving at a time when they won’t be able to replace me, but honestly this only made a small chip in my elation.
Back in April I deliberated about when to get this conversation out of the way. At that time leaving was eight months away and it was certainly too soon to tell. But after the months of waiting I feel so relieved for a number of reasons; I was feeling very awkward having being part of a number of conversations recently regarding additional responsibilities and new projects that would continue beyond the festive period and so beyond my time with the company and I also prefer to be honest and open and I was uncomfortable not sharing my plans with colleagues. Of course, that niggling guilt will keep returning because that is the person I am, but I know that I am not dispensable. Now the company has three months to plan where my workload will sit from the New Year and I feel satisfied that I have treated them fairly.
I don’t expect a big fuss when I retire as working from home I won’t leave a desk-sized gap in anyone’s office. There will be no surprise bunch of flowers, no card signed by everyone in the building, little joking about how lucky I am to be retiring and no cake baking for my last day at work. I feel a mixture of gratefulness and sadness about this, I don’t like lots of fuss but I am someone who likes to mark occasions … I think I will need to find a way with family and friends to mark the ending of my office-bound working life, after all it is now over 40-years since I walked in to my first workplace [an opticians] as a young and naive 16-year old.