Guess who pulled the trigger and retired.
Yes I did it! I’ve been planning retirement for over a decade but wasn’t sure of the timing until last summer. It became clear to me I was ready to hang it up and privately set my 27th work anniversary as the date.
Never in my wildest dreams could I envisioned my last year plus of work being at home when planning for this life change. However, it made it easier somehow in several ways. Not seeing my coworkers for 14 months, many of whom feel like family, made it easier to say goodbye. I didn’t have to transition from very frequent business travel to no travel suddenly; that happened in March 2020.
The third factor was I liked being home with my husband. It was nice having lunch with him every day and just being in the same space. As the promise of vaccinations became reality I wanted to spend the future return to normal activities with him.
When to share retirement plans is a frequent topic among pre-retirees on Facebook. I didn’t want to do so too far in advance just in case things changed. Plus it would definitely change the dynamics. Instead I created countdowns that helped see it get closer AND contain the excitement.
I made a sheet that I put up on my home office wall to tick off paydays.
I also had a desktop countdown device from Amazon but it wasn’t that reliable so I went with a couple of countdown apps.
Three months before retirement I told my boss so she could start the process to recruit for my position. I asked her to keep it under wraps with the exception of leadership and HR until closer to the date. A month or so later I shared it with my teammates since they might notice the posting for another team member and ask questions.
I’ve already forgotten the timing of when it was announced to all my coworkers but I think it was about 3-4 weeks beforehand in a virtual meeting. I was very touched about the response and messages sent to me. In these times I had no idea if there would be a send off or how it would happen. I wasn’t disappointed!
Thankfully vaccines were available for me and most of my San Diego coworkers by early May so enough of us felt comfortable getting together for a happy hour a couple of days ahead of my leaving. It was touching to see so many people driving from various parts of the county (which is huge by the way) to say goodbye. It was extra emotional because we hadn’t seen each other in so long!
Not only did we have drinks, food and lots of conversations but there gifts! I wasn’t really expecting it (don’t know why) but I loved them all. Not only did I get flowers, gift cards, a scarf and a wall hanging but two pieces of Away luggage for my retirement travels.
They really do know me.
That day or the next I received an e-greeting group card that literally had me in tears. My fellow employees across the country had signed it with messages that were truly touching. The best part was that I could save it as a PDF to cherish it forever.
The final day I attended a team meeting. Not being say goodbye in person to my teammates was very hard. Especially since we hadn’t been together for nearly 1 1/2 years. The final step was meeting IT at the office to turn in my equipment and badge.
Then my husband and I left to celebrate with a retirement lunch and plan our future adventures!