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It's Not A Smooth Transition! Bad Dreamer!
Old 01-18-2018, 09:32 AM   #1
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It's Not A Smooth Transition! Bad Dreamer!

I'm brand new to the forum. I actually came across it searching for the reasons I keep having dreams about still being at work in not so pleasant situations. They seem so real I don't even feel like I'm retired yet! I'm talking about almost every night so far since I retired 3 weeks ago! I worked for a Fortune 500 company as a people manager. It was pretty high stress with high expectations but I always gave my all and did find the job rewarding and even enjoyable at times. One thing that did bother me when I left is even though I managed all my team with utmost respect and compassion- there were several that would not even acknowledge I was leaving or had the decency to to say goodbye or wish me well. These do happen to be the ones that are in these dreams. Will they subside or has anyone else dealt with this and has any advice on how to shake it? I want to be completely cut loose!
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:44 AM   #2
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Not there yet myself, but from what I've read by others here who already have retired, the mental transition takes anywhere from instantaneous to months.

As far as your former reports who didn't bother to say goodbye, try to let it go. They might feel differently about the "utmost respect and compassion" with which you treated them, or maybe they're just jerks, but the past no longer matters. Concentrate on the new path you now tread. Good luck, and I look forward to reading your future posts!
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:06 AM   #3
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As far as those who didn't have the decency to say good bye or wish you well, why do you care ? As for your dreams I would think that in time those folks will appear less and less. I would also think most who have served in managerial or supervisory positions have had the same experiences and in the overall scheme of life, it isn't a big deal or anything to lose sleep over, no pun intended.

Just FYI, I've been retired going on 12 years and occasionally still have dreams about work and the people who I worked with. The dreams in almost every case are funny and make absolutely no sense whatsoever.
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:14 AM   #4
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Welcome to the Early Retirement Forum!! Glad you joined us.

I suspect that probably your dreams are an expression of many years of work stress bubbling to the surface as you de-stress, even though they may seem focused on those individuals that did not wish you well on your way out.

Shedding stress that has built up over a lifetime of work, takes time. It's like peeling an onion. First you lose one layer of stress, and then you find out there are more layers beneath.

I think I lost 80% of my stress in the first 2-3 months after retirement, and it took me several years to lose all of it. I seldom if ever dream about work any more. Each person is different, and your "onion" may be structured differently than mine was and may take a little more or a little less time to "peel".

Don't worry!!! You'll get there. It's too soon to expect all of that stress to have disappeared already.

In my 9th year of retirement, those I knew at work seem pretty irrelevant to my life these days.
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:20 AM   #5
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Yeah it's a process. It takes whatever it takes for you. Don't worry about the people who snubbed you. Typically this is a jealous behavior, says much about them.
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:24 AM   #6
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Welcome, Shaan! I think 3 weeks is too soon to expect all of the w*rk memories to be purged from your brain, so I wouldn't sweat it. If it's still happening in 3 years, that could be different. I recall having a couple of very vivid unpleasant dreams about w*rk in the first several months after ER, but can't recall any over the past few years.
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:53 AM   #7
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Welcome! I've been fully retired for a couple of years and I still have dreams about work, good and bad. Thirty-plus years of being your profession takes some undoing. Lots of good stuff here that helped me "get a real life".
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Old 01-18-2018, 11:19 AM   #8
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Congratulations and Welcome! I've been ER for a little more than two months and still have dreams (nightmares?) about w*rk and some of the people there at MegaCorp. The dreams are getting less frequent and now appear almost comical. I still wake up at times and have to remind myself, as someone here quoted once "not my circus, not my monkeys". I think as others have said it's a process.
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Old 01-18-2018, 11:50 AM   #9
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I worked at a very high stress/deadline orientated company, and my immediate boss was a horrible, back-stabby ass who enjoyed torturing his department to feel special.

I took about a year to detox after leaving. I still occasionally have nightmares at 3+ years out. Usually upon waking now tho, it is a feeling of "oh thank dog I don't have to deal with those sorry-ass people any more!" and feel like a weight has been lifted.

In the first couple of months, it helped immensely to get started on taking care of myself. I slept more, took naps whenever I felt tired (which I did frequently due to the stress levels still causing insomnia), I ate healthy food, and I started finding fun ways to work in some exercise (both to get in shape and to relieve stress). I also got some counseling to deal with the anxiety/depression that I'd developed.

I made sure to just give myself permission to be. No hard schedules, no lists (that took a few months to let go of), just do things as I felt comfortable with and fun stuff as I started developing an interest.

As far as feeling angry and resentful at the coworkers? Sure, still think about how much a few of them were total jerks, and a few others that kind of ignored me when I left. But concentrating on the bad stuff isn't worth the headspace in the end and you'll eventually be able to get that through your brain and hopefully evict them and forget about them completely. They are there, still getting up and doing the daily grind for the next umpteen years... and you are FREE. You won.
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:44 PM   #10
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I have been retired 18 years (I retired at age 50). I was in a high stress profession. I still have nightmares about my employment, although it gets less as time goes by. I also still have occasional nightmares about college exams! I usually forget about my drams as soon as I wake and I seem to have no ill effects so I just forget about them.
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:57 PM   #11
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I still have dreams/nightmares about college--40+ years afterward--usually when I'm under some stress (but don't have much stress after ER eight years ago.)

I probably now have the college dream/nightmare just a couple times per year--always similar--tomorrow is the final and I don't know where the classroom is, never been to the class, never bought the book, etc.

Maybe that's because it was a little similar to real-life-college!

But yours will probably become less frequent as you settle into ER.
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Old 01-18-2018, 01:29 PM   #12
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Sounds like you are suffering from a form of PTSD. Seriously. Exposure to stress is cumulative and you had a very long exposure. When I retired, I slept for the first 3 weeks. I didn't allow myself to examine how much stress I was under while working as a coping mechanism. I had the same experience when I was discharged from the military; I kept having dreams I was going to be deployed right back to my worst assignment, plucked from my civilian life and back to the remote tour from hell. They faded over time and so did the work dreams.
As far as coworkers, it's understandable on their part; they have to keep up the facade that they are there by choice. To closely examine your good fortune exposes their own unhappiness with their lot and that they can't do anything about it for the foreseeable future. It's just easier to move on with your absence than that. Give them time to settle into their own new routine without you and they will come around. By then you really won't care. Heck, guys I worked with for decades I can hardly remember their names any more. Guys I served with in the military even more so. Occasionally I'll see a facebook about someone from my past, but that never seems to trigger anything I'd call happy memories, so I just let it go.

Time heals all wounds.
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Old 01-18-2018, 01:37 PM   #13
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I still experience frequent dreams after almost 3 yrs retired. I too was in a stressful field, but not really sure what triggers these things. Maybe some unresolved issues spinning around the primitive area of my cranium. But the occasional wild sex dream makes it all better, although those seem to be happening less frequently as time goes by.
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Old 01-18-2018, 01:42 PM   #14
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I'm 1.5 years in, still have dreams. But then I still have (bad) dreams about college, and that was 30+ years ago!

Some people, I've noticed, see managers not as friends or even co-workers, but simply someone who needs to be dealt with, avoided, ass-kissed, or whatever. If you're not their manager anymore, then you don't even show up on their radar - they don't need to impress you or kiss up anymore, so why even acknowledge you? Best to just let it slide. You retired (I'm guessing) to get away from stuff like this, and now you are. You won!
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:42 PM   #15
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I think dreams are often a way you work out conflict or bring up deeply felt emotions. The indifference or the way some people seemed to snub you when they learned of your retirement have probably hurt you more than you admitted to yourself. The dreams of work are unpleasant and recurring because you haven't until now allowed yourself to name what has been bothering you.

I'm not a psychotherapist, but I think that if you name what really bothers you about their behavior, say to yourself truthfully that you treated everyone fairly, and conclude that their apparent resentment is their problem and not yours, then eventually these dreams will fade away.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:52 PM   #16
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Wow what an interesting look back. Hubby who retired quickly due to my job change still has panic work nightmares (12 years outJ. I worked 10more years and did a glide path to retirement and have no work dreams, in fact I used to dream vividly all the time and now I can’t remember the last dream I had...is it the lack of stress?
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:09 PM   #17
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A Reverend who was being transferred once told me: "...10% of the people are sad to see you go, 10% are happy to see you go and 80% just don't give a damn either way."

As far as dreams, 13 years out I still get work dreams once in a while.
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:37 PM   #18
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Good to Know It's Fairly Normal.

I want to thank each of you for sharing your experiences- good advice and words of encouragement. I believe this site is going to be a wealth of good all around. Thanks Dear friends and we'll talk soon!
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Old 01-18-2018, 07:16 PM   #19
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Shaan

You know what would de stress you? A nice long relaxing trip to Europe. You can send selfies and cards to your former coworkers
Label them:
Relaxing at the Eiffel Tower
Italian coffee at the Roman Coliseum
Playing at the Parthenon
Sleeping in Budapest
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Old 01-18-2018, 07:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luvdogs View Post

I probably now have the college dream/nightmare just a couple times per year--always similar--tomorrow is the final and I don't know where the classroom is, never been to the class, never bought the book, etc.
This seems to be the common college nightmare most of us dream. I had this exact dream a lot.

I finally quit having this nightmare when I realized it meant I didn't feel I was keeping up with the workload at work.
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