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Before and After ER
Old 02-13-2019, 07:14 AM   #1
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Before and After ER

Yes... This has been discussed ad infinitum in hundreds of threads and posts. My thought is to put into one place the psychological effects of the life altering changes that take place after retirement, compared to what we did before we retired.
In this case, not the money part, or just the extra free time, but... the change in responsibilities. The people part. How we relate to the general public... to our spouse or family. How do we change our relationships to now be together for an extra 40 hours a week.
Were we in management positions? Did we have other workers to direct and be responsible for? Were we used to "getting our way"?

And... YES!... I know there was no problem leaving it all behind. "I'm FREE!... It's crazy to think that could be any concerns... "I'm retired, and I have enough to live for the rest of my life."
Agreed!!!

And yet in the beginning... some things are missing. Maybe I'm alone, but in the beginning, here are some of the things that changed. Just my own situation.

As national sales manager... a very nice office... two secretaries and an assistant. Backed up by PR, Travel, a central advertising department, 7 territorial sales managers, 80 or more district managers (indirect responsibilities), and 2400 sales units in 36 states. Answered to vice president directly, and an active part of corporate meetings and decisions.

No... really not a big deal. Everything fits in well, and simply. all of that is just w*ork.

But.... what about the personal things? What about the friendships, the loyalty, the sharing of the lives of so many others. And how about nationwide travel, and the new experiences that become just a part of daily life? Then there's the EGO... no explanation needed here, but... things like giving talks to one or two hundred people. The unspoken deference... and that sense of "being somebody".

Or... that most important part of the feeling of belonging.

If nothing else... some preparation for those who have not yet retired. Yes... first up, is the dream of "doing nothing"... but even those who believe this... are doing a lot. Sharing experiences here... IS a part of picking up those responsibilities... pre retirement.

Whether your "before" experience was a meaningful part of life, or sheer misery, here's a place to share the psychological changes, rather than travel, hobbies, money management, or other "what to do" or "what I did ".
Just how you adjusted to the changes... and any advice to those who haven't et made the change.

After 30 years, I still miss and can't get used to missing the group/team/friendship of the workplace, and... not having the secretaries to get my coffee i the morning.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:53 AM   #2
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Have to say that I don't miss work at all. Made very good money with a very large staff, but it is now a new part of life and I purposely have no contact with any former workers.
And I did like my job a lot.
P.S. No secretaries got my coffee. lol
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:09 AM   #3
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Yes... This has been discussed ad infinitum in hundreds of threads and posts. My thought is to put into one place the psychological effects of the life altering changes that take place after retirement, compared to what we did before we retired.
In this case, not the money part, or just the extra free time, but... the change in responsibilities. The people part. How we relate to the general public... to our spouse or family. How do we change our relationships to now be together for an extra 40 hours a week.
Were we in management positions? Did we have other workers to direct and be responsible for? Were we used to "getting our way"?

And... YES!... I know there was no problem leaving it all behind. "I'm FREE!... It's crazy to think that could be any concerns... "I'm retired, and I have enough to live for the rest of my life."
Agreed!!!

And yet in the beginning... some things are missing. Maybe I'm alone, but in the beginning, here are some of the things that changed. Just my own situation.

As national sales manager... a very nice office... two secretaries and an assistant. Backed up by PR, Travel, a central advertising department, 7 territorial sales managers, 80 or more district managers (indirect responsibilities), and 2400 sales units in 36 states. Answered to vice president directly, and an active part of corporate meetings and decisions.

No... really not a big deal. Everything fits in well, and simply. all of that is just w*ork.

But.... what about the personal things? What about the friendships, the loyalty, the sharing of the lives of so many others. And how about nationwide travel, and the new experiences that become just a part of daily life? Then there's the EGO... no explanation needed here, but... things like giving talks to one or two hundred people. The unspoken deference... and that sense of "being somebody".

Or... that most important part of the feeling of belonging.

If nothing else... some preparation for those who have not yet retired. Yes... first up, is the dream of "doing nothing"... but even those who believe this... are doing a lot. Sharing experiences here... IS a part of picking up those responsibilities... pre retirement.

Whether your "before" experience was a meaningful part of life, or sheer misery, here's a place to share the psychological changes, rather than travel, hobbies, money management, or other "what to do" or "what I did ".
Just how you adjusted to the changes... and any advice to those who haven't et made the change.

After 30 years, I still miss and can't get used to missing the group/team/friendship of the workplace, and... not having the secretaries to get my coffee i the morning.
Hi. Ive just joined this site to ask the same questions! I retired 6 months ago and went head-long into working on my daughters garden to keep me busy which is now done. I haven't yet found my feet with what to do next with my time and its difficult at the moment. Like you, I feel like any negative approach to retirement will lead to comments like "you should be so lucky" etc etc, but it's a major life changing experience. Again, like you, I had a full-on job with all the status and benefits that brings and that was my focus to the last day I worked. Filling the time spent thinking about work issues both during the hours of work and sometimes for longer, has left a lot of head space to fill. Should this be productive time, leisure time, helping others or letting it all go? A bit of a fog at the moment. I would be interested in hearing from others who have gone through this experience and any advice they can give, particularly if they started off their retirement in a similar position.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:23 AM   #4
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There are two camps who will answer this very differently: One camp was in a positive work environment and engaged and fulfilled in their careers til the end, and had to make significant adjustments after retiring. The other camp (of which I'm a member) was in a negative work environment, with a struggling company that wasn't what it had been back in the day, and couldn't wait to get out. Many of us in the latter camp made most of the transition while still working and dreaming of the day we would get out, and we tend say (somewhat exaggerated) things like "I adjusted to ER sometime between the time I walked out the door and the time I got to my car in the parking lot".
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:53 AM   #5
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I'm coming from the opposite place of power compared to Imoldernu, and therefore don't know if my experience is of interest, but ...

I feel more powerful, more confident, and more expectant than ever I did in my working life. I actually feel "younger" though I understand intellectually that that feeling is an illusion, lol!

I hear a voice in my head saying, "Now is YOUR time."
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:04 AM   #6
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Iím in Which Rogerís camp. In the beginning I loved work, having coffee with co workers that Iíd call friends, feeling challenged and rewarded by my work. My weekend and vacations were pretty stress free as there were no cell phones and calling anyone at home for work only happened in real emergencies.

By the time I left, that had all changed and weekend call ins had become standard with a threat constantly hanging over your head, especially if youíd had the audacity to get older.

So, in short, I could not wait to escape and have not missed it one minute.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:12 AM   #7
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Well expanding on post #2, I truly did really like my work. However when I volunteered for a package, I expected to find another job. When it didn't materialize and I realized we could FIRE, then didn't want anything to do with work going forward.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:01 AM   #8
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When it's time to go it's time to go. Enjoyed the work immensely until I didn't. Yes,, I miss the people but all I have to do is go out to lunch w a former colleague and I walk away just shaking my head.

Worked in the water and sewer business from early 70's until 2010. Talked with co-workers about how in the early days we built plants that literally got raw sewage out of creeks and treated it to higher and higher standards as the years went by. Major improvements in drinking water quality. All made us feel pretty good about what we did for a living....seemed kind of important. Now I see headlines about nail biting about synthetic compounds in drinking water that are ubiquitous in the environment, and gasp; at 20-30 parts per trillion. Yeah, trillion. I know enough about epidemiological studies to know the certainty of danger isn't there. So call me uncaring or ignorant, but I'm not interested in building and operating stuff to eliminate 30% of some chemical from drinking water or wastewater discharge that's all over everywhere (in one particular case non stick cookware). So I've been infected with the "we did all that seems to have mattered, it's not that important to me any more" malady.

Chuckle. I guess that's a pretty specific/unique reason for someone to have lost interest in what they did for a living. But, it pretty much wraps up why I'm perfectly happy to let others deal with such stuff. And set aside contracting, politically balanced hiring, cow-towing to developers for special deals, the whole deal that just made the core mission just about irrelevant to the folks above.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:58 AM   #9
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When it's time to go it's time to go. Enjoyed the work immensely until I didn't. Yes,, I miss the people but all I have to do is go out to lunch w a former colleague and I walk away just shaking my head.

Worked in the water and sewer business from early 70's until 2010. Talked with co-workers about how in the early days we built plants that literally got raw sewage out of creeks and treated it to higher and higher standards as the years went by. Major improvements in drinking water quality. All made us feel pretty good about what we did for a living....seemed kind of important. Now I see headlines about nail biting about synthetic compounds in drinking water that are ubiquitous in the environment, and gasp; at 20-30 parts per trillion. Yeah, trillion. I know enough about epidemiological studies to know the certainty of danger isn't there. So call me uncaring or ignorant, but I'm not interested in building and operating stuff to eliminate 30% of some chemical from drinking water or wastewater discharge that's all over everywhere (in one particular case non stick cookware). So I've been infected with the "we did all that seems to have mattered, it's not that important to me any more" malady.

Chuckle. I guess that's a pretty specific/unique reason for someone to have lost interest in what they did for a living. But, it pretty much wraps up why I'm perfectly happy to let others deal with such stuff. And set aside contracting, politically balanced hiring, cow-towing to developers for special deals, the whole deal that just made the core mission just about irrelevant to the folks above.
Then of course, there was Flint...
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:04 AM   #10
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Thanks for this post Imoldernu, I much prefer these threads than ones about electric cars that go on and on and on and on and on...

Anyway, this is a thought provoking subject. I am going on my 5th year of a pretty early retirement and to be honest, I just have been too damn busy in retirement to think about how things have changed since I left w*rk. How so? Well, the biggest thing was being very involved in my Dad's life after retirement. I didn't realize how much time this really took until he was gone. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want it any other way...it was about as perfect ending one can get out of a very good relationship...but his needs took a lot of time. Also, I got the smart idea to go to law school since that was one of those "oft thought about goals" that I could actually do...and of course, that was a big time suck.

Fast forward to today when we are finally settled in our home (recently relocated) and things are pretty calm. I am scheduled to take the bar exam this month, but in all honesty, my heart is not in it, and I haven't studied like I should have so odds are I will defer to later...probably never. Law school was a goal for *me*, not for a vocation or income. I think the bar exam was one of those goals I set for myself that..well, in my situation doesn't make too much sense. Oye...sorry for the ramble, but it's setting up my thoughts on my "last life"...

In my professional career, I had really reached the highest point I could have reached. I never had the goal of being a manager of people...a mentor...sure, but a manager? No way. And of course, in the military...if you want to get promoted to the highest grades, you had to be a people manager...and that meant getting out of the game of "getting **** done!" So...I excelled at my job operating airplanes. My last gig was doing flight test of airplanes after they were highly modified by a large defense contractor. It was the best j*b a kid could ask for...and I was even able to do it in my home town. Our test group was very small, a total of 7 flyers and we were all good friends. We w*rked hard, and played hard. We got to take a very large airplane and operate it to the limit...much past the limits imposed on "normal" Air Force flight crews. We were one of the most autonomous w*rking groups of flyers in the Air Force...we didn't even ANSWER to the Air Force since we flew for whole 'nother defense agency. Our "boss" was the tax payers...if the airplane didn't meet the requirements after modification, we didn't sign for it...and the contractor dealt with it.

When we weren't flying (most of the time), there were a lot of meetings and other time wasters that were very annoying and taxing on my soul. When we got to hit the ramp and actually *fly* the airplane..it was awesome. I could still do that to this day...hell, I would probably do it for free. But, the sad reality is that less than 10% of my "w*rk time" involved even being near the airplane, the other 90% of the time was just torture. And that's when I decided to retire.

The days in the plane we some of the best days of my life. The view was the best, the co-w*rkers were fun to be around and...well, I got to wear pajamas to w*rk (what my DW called my flightsuit). Plus I got to do some really, REALLY cool stuff with an incredible piece of machinery, and for that, I will *always* be thankful.

Today, I enjoy the solace of my home and DW. The co-w*rkers have moved on to other assignments (or retirement) and I rarely talk to them. I do get the occasional email from someone and we catch up, but all in all...we all lead very "boring" lives these days. And yes, I have to admit that I miss sitting around our office area discussing everything under the sun and solving all the world's problems and the occasional overseas trip.

I also think back to my time in law school after I retired. All those "kids" just starting out. Getting into what I think would be one of the most insufferable j*bs in the world...an attorney. Blah!!! I would not have traded my life, experiences, or career with those kids for all the gold in the kingdom.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:19 AM   #11
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Something to keep in mind for all of the "but I really enjoyed my work" line of thought retirees. You are lucky you got out before things changed. Ask current Sears employees (I met one recently), former Toys R Us ee's and Auto workers for Plymouth, Pontiac, Saab, Mercury and Saturn. Ask a Realtor who had the misfortune to be self employed when the Market crashed in 2007 (My hand is raised....). Ask anyone whose company was bought out and that was the end of their happy career, or pink slipped teachers in an area of declining student enrollment.

Just because life was good when you left is no reason to believe it would have continued. You are darn lucky you got out while the lights were still on. Savor the memories and look forward to new adventures.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:23 AM   #12
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Something to keep in mind for all of the "but I really enjoyed my work" line of thought retirees. You are lucky you got out before things changed. Ask current Sears employees (I met one recently), former Toys R Us ee's and Auto workers for Plymouth, Pontiac, Saab, Mercury and Saturn. Ask a Realtor who had the misfortune to be self employed when the Market crashed in 2007 (My hand is raised....). Ask anyone whose company was bought out and that was the end of their happy career, or pink slipped teachers in an area of declining student enrollment.

Just because life was good when you left is no reason to believe it would have continued. You are darn lucky you got out while the lights were still on. Savor the memories and look forward to new adventures.
Great reply.... +1
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:39 AM   #13
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My work experience was fulfilling, but challenging. Always new technology to tackle, people and projects to manage. And do it all at a profit. I worked a lot of hours. Generally 50-60 hours a week with a couple of peak periods around 70. Did this for 30+ years before I started to gear down.

The gear down was the best phase. Luckily I had good people to pick up the slack as I transitioned from a 60 hr per week guy to an 8 hour per week guy over several years. Luckily my business partners bought into this transition as well. The true feeling of pending retirement came when I sold my company stock one year before fully retiring. At that point, I felt no pressure to help keep the company chugging forward.

I retired after a several year transition to retired life. So retirement was easy at that point. The psychological adjustment was easy because it was incremental. I can see how people who go from full throttle to full retirement instantly have some difficulty initially in retirement.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:52 AM   #14
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I was done, happy to leave, and don't miss it. Yes, I had a great engineering/management career, but it had run its course and provided the opportunity to move on. I did enjoy change throughout my career and took on a variety of fully different challenges. It kept it interesting. So far this new challenge of RE is pretty awesome, but then like most things I had prepared myself for it.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:49 PM   #15
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Something to keep in mind for all of the "but I really enjoyed my work" line of thought retirees. You are lucky you got out before things changed. ...
Just because life was good when you left is no reason to believe it would have continued. You are darn lucky you got out while the lights were still on. Savor the memories and look forward to new adventures.
Too true.

Had lunch with an old office-mate a month ago. Micromanagement has exploded. She just quit.
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:30 PM   #16
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I haven't retired yet, AND I love the work that I get to do, but the 11 months of unemployment in 2017 was great. I have zero worries about missing work, even though there are totally days I currently get up excited to be heading in to do things. This last saturday's crunch day standing up a demo of our game was really rewarding. If I had the wherewithal to spend all my days gaming with my friends or on my computer and hanging out with my doggo and cooking meals with my wife and throwing parties, I'm ready for that too.
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Old 02-16-2019, 05:22 PM   #17
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The days in the plane we some of the best days of my life. The view was the best, the co-w*rkers were fun to be around and...well, I got to wear pajamas to w*rk (what my DW called my flightsuit). Plus I got to do some really, REALLY cool stuff with an incredible piece of machinery, and for that, I will *always* be thankful.
Military camaraderie: it's been 17 years of retirement since I hung up my pajamas, er, I mean my submarine coveralls.

I miss two things:
1. Surfacing ~50 miles south of Oahu at 3 AM to head inport. I'd guard the lookout as they opened the bridge hatch, and we'd be the first two people to get up on the bridge to rig for surfaced operations. We could see everything we needed to see because the Milky Way would be spread out above us with only the boat's bioluminescence for contrast. The Navy routine would settle down within 30 minutes or so and you could find a dozen crew volunteers who were happy to bring a pot of coffee to the bridge. We'd drive for home and enjoy the ride.

2. The military culture and its shared values.

I haven't figured out a way to replace the first, although I can get pretty close on a cruise ship. However it turns out that the second is alive & well in veteran's organizations and all over social media.

I don't miss any of the other good stuff with enough sentiment to make me tolerate the pain of the not-so-good stuff.
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Old 02-16-2019, 05:31 PM   #18
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The military culture and its shared values.
Many of us, I'm sure, can relate. Even after all this time since hanging up the uniform, I still feel the tug, and when I'm traveling I often stop in at a military base just to soak up the ambiance (and check out the commissary and exchange). They're extraordinarily good people, and I always felt I could rely on them 100%.
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Old 02-16-2019, 06:17 PM   #19
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Then of course, there was Flint...
And, of course, there is a lot more to the story. "Officials failed to apply corrosion inhibitors to the water. As a result, several problems occurred that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger." See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_water_crisis

So, the problem was not what they added, but what chemicals they didn't add.

If you read the story, it was far more political than technical.
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Old 02-16-2019, 06:26 PM   #20
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I had a great job, great employer, and for the most part I enjoyed going to work. Worked with great people. Lots of travel, excellent runumeration.

Eight years later do I miss any of it. Not at all. We have moved on with our lives. It is about the future, not the past for us.

I was employed in IT. I was accustomed to constant change throughout my career. This may be one reason why the change and the transition to early retirement was not an issue or had me pining for the ‘old days’.
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