Thursday, May 16, 2013

Why everyone should retire at least once....

It is a good thing that it is spring time and the weather is nice and I am feeling so rested and jolly...

Because, I tell you, this whole retirement party thing could bring you down.

In the last week, I have gone to two events in my honour.  I have two more to get in over the next month.

Oh don't get me wrong.  It is kind of nice...

First, they ply you with flowers.



They give you jewelry



And fancy journals and pens


and a book to send you on your way (and this doesn't include the gift certificates and the wine!)


Then a bunch of people get up and say heartfelt things about you, shove a plaque at you, and send you on your way...

Your whole professional career is played back for you.  You are surprised by the people who show up.  You are surprised by the stories they tell or the things they remember you said.  What makes you feel really happy is that every one of them describe you as loyal and nice to work for, and really, you can't ask for more than that.  It is like getting to sit in on your own eulogy, at least your professional one.

And then they let you talk.  To be honest, I didn't focus very much on my professional achievements.  They speak, or not, for themselves.  I spoke at great length about how important it was for them to be kind to one another, to support one another and to have fun.  I spoke about how there is a world outside of the office and they must remember to priortize their family and friends, because in the end, work doesn't come and sit on your death bed.  And I encouraged them to be the heroines and heroes of their lives and to follow their dreams and destinies and do the best job they can do every day in all aspects of their lives.  In the end, I quoted the original bon vivant, Noel Coward, who said:

“My importance to the world is relatively small. On the other hand, my importance to myself is tremendous. I am all I have to work with, to play with, to suffer and to enjoy. It is not the eyes of others that I am wary of, but of my own. I do not intend to let myself down more than I can possibly help, and I find that the fewer illusions I have about myself or the world around me, the better company I am for myself.” 

Several of them asked for a copy, which I was happy to share.  In the end, I did  not have a lot of pearls of wisdom to share, but I did my best to share what few I had.  And then I went for a glass of wine.  Which is how all good careers should end, isn't it?  Onwards and upwards, I say.  It is good to get a taste of what they say when you are 50 - gives you time to make changes if need be before they have a go at me again when I turn 100 and King William has to give the eulogy for me...

But all in all, it is exhausting stuff, this getting feted, and I am happy to let it be for awhile until I win the Booker prize or something :-)

Happy Thursday and stay safe out there!




21 comments:

  1. RETROSPECTIVE Here's to the Booker Prize party then! Do <3 that they gave you a Suessical gift.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes,I think that book is the #1 graduation gift and love it that someone gave it to them in this context!

      Delete
  2. It's been an especially tough week and next week will be even worse, I'd like to retire now!

    I remember once when I retired from the corporate world and taught cooking for health. It was the most rewarding work I had ever done because some of my students showed how what I taught drastically changed their lives for the better. Darn one of my previous bosses convinced me to go back and once in, it is, or at least it feels like for now, nearly impossible to get out.

    Enjoy! I love that they gave you Dr. Suess too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hang in there Tiffany Rose! It is funny you say that - when they were convincing me to stay, I knew I was either in for another 5 or 8 years or out now. Sometimes leaving our old careers is like leaving the mafiosa! I love that you used to teach cooking for health. That is one of those things that has the potential to save many lives!

      Delete
  3. You are very lucky for the opportunity to be feted and to experience a proper goodbye from your co-workers. I work in investments/finance and it is a very tough environment. People are being let go and they just have a short moment after being told such devastating news, to clear their desks and get going. My friend's blackberry had to be taken back right away and she did not even had the chance to move all her contacts to her phone. It's cruel!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh - I hate that stuff! That only happens in government if people are let go for something improper. otherwise, it is quite civilized

      Delete
  4. It's the nature of the beast in our sector and quite common. I just feel badly that the first reaction when profits slow down is to cut the workforce. But it is what it is, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are doing that more and more in the public sector, too. I think as the economy slows and other costs rise, people are looking for ways to trim costs and sadly, HR is the first place they look.

      Delete
    2. Marie, have been around for more than one of those lay-off days at public companies with forms, banker's boxes, immediate email cut-offs etc. Fortunately, while I have been been laid off and had to manage the message around staffing cuts, I have never been "walked," as many corporate HR teams put it.

      It is also challenging, stressful and a morale killer for those who remain. Plus the process overall for those leaving is so de-humanizing. Sorry fact of modern life, mentality employees are now largely viewed as temporary, out-sourced and expendable.

      Delete
  5. Hang on, I need a proper job first, I still haven't found my niche! Though I've made my peace with that now and will write 'hermit' under occupation.

    Love the Dr Seuss book, you do indeed have further to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll throw you a retirement party whenever you like! There will be speeches, champers and someone will accuse you of hogging the photocopier and of the inappropriate use of email for sending too many jokes!

      Delete
  6. i have never heard of ongoing retirement events like this. Granted I was never a high level employee, but when someone left the company, it was one event and done. I think the first one or two would be nice but then I don't think I'd like it after that, although I like the sentiment behind it. They must have thought a lot of you to do so much for your leaving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is all different groups of people sadly, as I was part of a number of different teams. Everyone wants to send you off - maybe they want to be sure I leave!

      Delete
  7. What a testament to you-- I'm sure not everyone gets this sort of fete.
    Everyone is mad at us for leaving...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it great when people are mad that you are leaving, as opposed to feeling relieved????

      Delete
    2. I am sure you are both leaving furious hoardes!

      Delete
    3. This must have been very emotional moments... I love the words you have chosen... It must also be a good feeling hearing people saying nice things about you and seeing many people showing up :-)

      Delete
    4. Thanks Steph - though I mustbe truthful and say it was during working hours and there was cake...

      Delete
  8. Congratulations Wendy, and that is a wonderful quote.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! I wish I had written it myself!

      Delete
  9. Congratulations! It sounds like a wonderful time. I love your speech and the wisdom you shared. Thanks for sharing it with us :)

    ReplyDelete

Kindness is a virtue...