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Advice for the last month
Old 03-20-2017, 07:22 AM   #1
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Advice for the last month

I am retiring next month. I am 56 and have had my current job for over 30 years. My husband is not retiring. I am fortunate to have a pension with COLA and very reasonable health insurance for my family. I don't have any financial questions, but I would love to hear about how people emotionally handled the last four weeks. I have periods of elation and sadness,(although mostly elation!) Also, I am constantly being asked what I will do all day. Any tips for the end of the marathon?
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:43 AM   #2
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I just enjoyed the ride. In my case, I didn't give notice until 2 weeks prior (wasn't with the company that long, so 2 weeks was sufficient). So, 4 weeks out I just quietly enjoyed knowing the time was short. In the last 2 weeks I got a few of those questions about how I would spend my time.
I kept my responses non-specific, for the most part: "I've planned for this a while; I have quite a few things on my plate." "I'll run and swim every day, knowing there's no time pressure." "My wife has lots of honey-do chores for me." etc etc
Congrats on your upcoming ER (BTW I'm a Brooklyn native, grew up n Sheepshead Bay area).
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:02 AM   #3
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While it is true that the last month involved some awkward encounters, in retrospect, I remember this as a very satisfying time. A certain feeling of being "above it all" was quite enjoyable.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:05 AM   #4
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I think I went out to eat for every meal for a month.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:49 AM   #5
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Congrats. The last month or so at wo*k would probably feel a bit strained. Especially when folks know about it. I always liked the response "I'm gonna do whatever I want" to the question. I'm always so concerned about others in that I don't want to be smug about the ability to retire early.
I'm in a situation where my position is probably going to end at years end. However it's so slow I can't imagine they'll keep me on till then but who knows. Lots of folks are concerned about losing there positions but there's lots of time to find something if they want. In my case I'm more or less hanging around as I'm prepared for ER. Using this last year to pad my cash reserves.
Sounds like you are leaving on good terms and have no reason to feel badly. Start planning some trips :-)
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:56 AM   #6
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You can assure your co-workers you won't have any trouble finding things to do!! And then thank then for their well wishes.
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:41 AM   #7
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While it is a cliche that most people in retirement are soon so busy that they don't know how they previously found the time to work, I have found it true in my case. I don't believe you need to worry about boredom; there will be no shortage of things to do!

A certain amount of sadness is normal, as you realize that a chapter in your life is closing. Just keep in mind that the primary (or more likely, only) reason you went in to work there for 30+ years was the paycheque. As you will no longer need the latter, you are FREE!
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:09 AM   #8
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Congratulations! I gave three months notice to allow them to find my replacement and I was able to train her for most tasks. There was no awkwardness in the office since I worked from home as most of my team did. Lots of congratulatory phone calls and one last trip to corporate hq for a going away lunch with my team and internal customers. All but one of my team left a few weeks after I did. I guess I was the peacekeeper among our customers and my replacement struggled with the strong personalities involved. The rest of the team saw it coming and bailed. I'd heard the customer team had some terminations because of the turmoil, but a key director that needed to go was too good at deflecting blame.
So I had no sadness when I left, but was saddened later after hearing what happened.
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:22 AM   #9
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My last few weeks have felt very slow. My job has gotten tougher this year and I am ready to stop, so no regrets. I know that working gives people structure that they benefit from, but I will work on some new structure. Definitely more travel.
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:55 AM   #10
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I gave 30 days notice. There was some awkwardness because I was younger than many of my co-workers, and some seemed to be wondering to themselves whether there was more to my "retirement" than just me wanting to get out ASAP (there wasn't).

The main source of stress was the fear in my boss's eyes that I would simply stop caring and make no effort to transition my responsibilities to co-workers. But as soon as he saw that wasn't the case, he relaxed. (Somewhat ironically, they decided on my last day to reorganize and eliminate my role, so wasted effort).

Then I walked out the door any never looked back.
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:16 PM   #11
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Savor your days in the office because you won't pass this way again. If things are moving slowly - remind yourself next year how boring WORK was! I simply told people "I'm going to do as much as I can, and as little as I want!" :-)
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Old 03-22-2017, 02:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bklyn55 View Post
Also, I am constantly being asked what I will do all day. Any tips for the end of the marathon?
How about responding, "after unplugging my alarm clock, I plan to do whatever I feel like doing, 24/7, for the rest of my life!"
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:30 AM   #13
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With four weeks to go, our department scheduled a long range planning meeting to determine our direction for the next five years. I asked if I should be excused, given my four week status. My "boss" said no! I attended the all day event. I was the most relaxed I have ever been in one of these meetings. As I listened to my coworkers, contemplating heir navels, trying to decide if we should imbue, or instill to our customers, I was just smiling "inside" ear to ear!
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:39 AM   #14
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It will be one year for me last day of April so my memories of the last month are still pretty fresh.

I can say it isn't easy I left after 35 years with the same company and left when I ws on top and not pushed out etc.. I think leaving like that there maybe more emotions then leaving on a low note and hating the place.

I say enjoy the last month be thankful for them for giving you 30 great years. If you start to feel bad about leaving think how lucky you are to be able to retire early. Not all people can retire early!
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:28 AM   #15
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My BFF, who ER'd a couple of years before me, sent me a very comprehensive list about handling the transition. Here's an abbreviated version:
1. Develop an exit statement (just don't tell others that's what you
call it). It should be positive (even enthusiastic). It should not knock
your company so you can use it equally internally / externally. It should be
truthful, but it doesn't need to contain all the truth. It should answer
the obvious questions the listener would ask, so that they will congratulate
(not embarrass you to your face or whisper about you behind your back).
Questions people may initially have: whether you were fired, whether you are desperate for your next job, whether you plan to travel / volunteer / relax.

2. Give your exit statement to your boss, desirably as an agreed
follow-up email after s/he gets the resignation news orally and directly
from you. If you are leaving without a severance package, your boss does
not have to agree to your statement, but at a minimum s/he should know that
this is exactly what you plan to tell everyone else, inside and outside the
company. Desirably s/he will also quote your exit statement when describing
your departure to others, so there are no contradictory theories on why
you're leaving.

3. Deliver your exit statement, desirably face-to-face or at least
orally, to as many people as you can. Even a vmail left personally for one
individual at a time, after you tried to phone each one, seems more personal
than a mass-mailed email.

4. Stay on good terms with your boss. In the future, send a birthday
message or service anniversary message or promotion congrats or whatever, so
that s/he still thinks of you positively.

5. Stay on good terms with all possible HR / Payroll / Benefits
people. When one gets tired of you, others will still help you straighten
out your COBRA premium or unpaid vacation days or 401(k) rollover.

6. Shortly before you leave, write every boss that you have ever had,
desirably by snail mail on nice formal stationery. Include your exit
statement and a personal anecdote about some wonderful moment you shared.
Thank him/her amply for all past leadership and guidance (here you can
stretch the truth if you have to).

7. A week before you leave, send tailored email messages in batches to
current colleagues, former colleagues, clients, friends and
relatives. Include an abbreviated version of your exit statement [perhaps
separate your batches between those who already knew you were leaving and
those who will be surprised]. Include future contact information.

8. Celebrate after that last day

9. Don't commit to the first volunteering suggestions, but be open to
all ideas.

She also suggested taking pictures of my desk before the last day (of course, she had a nicely appointed office and I was relegated to a hideous cube for my last year).

I didn't do all of these things but most. YMMV.
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:08 AM   #16
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Consider keeping a daily diary of your thoughts and feelings as well as notes about various "housekeeping" issues that crop up in your final month. Each day of this home stretch, jot down what you faced and what you felt that day.

Think of the diary as your own personal confidante, who will listen to your joys and fears without judging. When we are struggling to manage our own emotions, sometimes what we need most is finding someone to listen. The listener often doesn't need to do anything; the primary benefit to us is organizing our thoughts so we can articulate them.

There might also be a lingering benefit in having a record you can refer back to in a week, a month, a year. It could help ward off the postpartum depression some retirees feel after a while out of the rat race.

Good luck, and the sooner you can revel in unalloyed delight over this milestone the better!
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Old 03-22-2017, 04:43 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MBAustin View Post
My BFF, who ER'd a couple of years before me, sent me a very comprehensive list about handling the transition. Here's an abbreviated version:
1. Develop an exit statement (just don't tell others that's what you
call it). It should be positive (even enthusiastic). It should not knock
your company so you can use it equally internally / externally. It should be
truthful, but it doesn't need to contain all the truth. It should answer
the obvious questions the listener would ask, so that they will congratulate
(not embarrass you to your face or whisper about you behind your back).
Questions people may initially have: whether you were fired, whether you are desperate for your next job, whether you plan to travel / volunteer / relax.

2.Give your exit statement to your boss, desirably as an agreed
follow-up email after s/he gets the resignation news orally and directly
from you. If you are leaving without a severance package, your boss does
not have to agree to your statement, but at a minimum s/he should know that
this is exactly what you plan to tell everyone else, inside and outside the
company. Desirably s/he will also quote your exit statement when describing
your departure to others, so there are no contradictory theories on why
you're leaving.

3.Deliver your exit statement, desirably face-to-face or at least
orally, to as many people as you can. Even a vmail left personally for one
individual at a time, after you tried to phone each one, seems more personal
than a mass-mailed email.

4.Stay on good terms with your boss. In the future, send a birthday
message or service anniversary message or promotion congrats or whatever, so
that s/he still thinks of you positively.

5.Stay on good terms with all possible HR / Payroll / Benefits
people. When one gets tired of you, others will still help you straighten
out your COBRA premium or unpaid vacation days or 401(k) rollover.

6.Shortly before you leave, write every boss that you have ever had,
desirably by snail mail on nice formal stationery. Include your exit
statement and a personal anecdote about some wonderful moment you shared.
Thank him/her amply for all past leadership and guidance (here you can
stretch the truth if you have to).

7.A week before you leave, send tailored email messages in batches to
current colleagues, former colleagues, clients, friends and
relatives. Include an abbreviated version of your exit statement [perhaps
separate your batches between those who already knew you were leaving and
those who will be surprised]. Include future contact information.

8.Celebrate after that last day

9.Don't commit to the first volunteering suggestions, but be open to
all ideas.

She also suggested taking pictures of my desk before the last day (of course, she had a nicely appointed office and I was relegated to a hideous cube for my last year).

I didn't do all of these things but most. YMMV.


This is too much like work!
I sent my notice to all managers that were affected by email writing only two paragraphs. One to say I was retiring and on what date. The second to tell them the three weeks of vacation over my last three months I planned on taking.
I was invited to a luncheon hosted by my internal customers that I had to drive three hours to get to, but it was nice.
On my last evening before I turned in my laptop I sent a nice note to my coworkers thanking them and wishing them all well.

The last day I turned in my laptop and badge and was done by 9:00 am. Haven't looked back.
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Old 03-27-2017, 04:18 AM   #18
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Thank you for all your suggestions. I have been keeping busy filling out retirement forms and cleaning my office. Wrote my resignation letter and it felt good! People are still asking me what I will do when I retire. I usually answer with "whatever I want" or I ask them what they would do if they didn't have have to work. Its amazing to see their faces light up as they about that idea for a few minutes.
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Old 03-27-2017, 06:06 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mystang52 View Post
I just enjoyed the ride. In my case, I didn't give notice until 2 weeks prior (wasn't with the company that long, so 2 weeks was sufficient). So, 4 weeks out I just quietly enjoyed knowing the time was short. In the last 2 weeks I got a few of those questions about how I would spend my time.
I kept my responses non-specific, for the most part: "I've planned for this a while; I have quite a few things on my plate." "I'll run and swim every day, knowing there's no time pressure." "My wife has lots of honey-do chores for me." etc etc
Congrats on your upcoming ER (BTW I'm a Brooklyn native, grew up n Sheepshead Bay area).
+1. Unfortunately my retirement was announced 3 months in advance. But mostly I just gave non-specific answers to co-workers, and got them off the subject after a minute or so. It's very easy at work, you can always change the subject to - work!

And it's not that none of your co-workers care, but many are just making conversation, they're just curious. Your answers aren't that important.
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Old 03-27-2017, 11:54 AM   #20
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I kept a retirement countdown on my phone, cleaned out my desk and updated files for new manager following me into my position, kept doing my day to day duties. Every day, I answered the "what will you do?" with the same answer--take care of family, travel, have fun, enjoy life! It went by faster than I thought it would.
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