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Old 04-04-2012, 11:55 AM   #1
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I'll be retiring at the end of August and I just found out that 2 of my collegues have been asked to find out what kind of retirement send-off I might like. I find this kind of odd. I've been teaching at the college for the past 20 years and I am friends the folks that teach in my discipline but I don't really know or socialize with the rest of the department. I am just not interested in any kind of retirement party. I find them boring, depressing and a forced obligation. I would prefer to quietly close my office door and leave but I also know that some people want to do something nice before I go.
In the past many of you have offered sage advice. What would you do in this case? Thanks.

Cheers!
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:04 PM   #2
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I had a similar preference to just fade into the woodwork and slither away unnoticed. However my boss insisted on hosting a few hours of open bar and appetizers at a local watering hole for colleagues to drop by and reminisce and say goodbye. I have to say while it wasn't my first preference that I really enjoyed seeing many people that I had worked with over the years and telling old war stories and sharing my future plans with them.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:47 PM   #3
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Why not simply request a lunch out with a few of your closest work friends. I'm with you, I don't like those big send offs either.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:53 PM   #4
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I have done many sendoffs and I would say that everyone enjoyed them, even the recipient. I would leave it open to anyone who wants to say a few words. You might be surprised at who shows up.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:54 PM   #5
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I didn't want a party, or especially one of those expensive luncheons, so I compromised. We used a conference room for an hour long informal get-together, with potluck appetizers if anybody wanted to bring them. People came and went, and this allowed those who were swamped with work to say goodbye without having to spend forever doing it. Others stayed the whole time.

This was mostly for them, I think. It was more fun that I had thought it would be. The appetizers were plentiful and fabulous. Those who brought them took home the excess. The section chief gave me an award, which I did not expect, complete with plaque and lapel pin and such, and my supervisor took photos of it.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:39 PM   #6
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I'll be retiring at the end of August and I just found out that 2 of my collegues have been asked to find out what kind of retirement send-off I might like. I find this kind of odd. I've been teaching at the college for the past 20 years and I am friends the folks that teach in my discipline but I don't really know or socialize with the rest of the department. I am just not interested in any kind of retirement party. I find them boring, depressing and a forced obligation. I would prefer to quietly close my office door and leave but I also know that some people want to do something nice before I go.
In the past many of you have offered sage advice. What would you do in this case? Thanks.
Tell your colleagues that you don't want a retirement send-off. Tell them that you really mean it, and you'll even provide them with a notarized statement that they can show to the skeptical dept chair.

Military commands have this problem all the time. They're afraid that the retiree would complain to their Congressional representatives afterward that they didn't get a proper retirement ceremony. So the command would essentially coerce the retiree into going along with the ceremony... "See, they just wanted us to show a little interest and cajole them into it!"

As a backup plan, tell them that this is a very busy & stressful time for you. Offer to get together at an office potluck a month or two after you've retired. When it comes to setting a date, you may find that they rapidly lose interest among all the other commitments on their calendar.
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:04 AM   #7
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Thank you for all the suggestions. I think there is a plan now.

I spoke with one of the "planners" yesterday afternoon. I like the idea of a short and simple potluck get together in the faculty lounge. That should take care of any perceived obligation. Later I can have my close friends over to the house for a cookout with adult beverages and music.

Something I didn't consider is a gift. I don't have any interest in some kind of dust catcher (I'm in the midst of getting rid of a lot of "stuff" around the house as it is) and I feel uncomfortable about people contributing to yet another in a long line of requests during the year for a gift for someone. However, I would like a department photo. So I will drop a hint today.

I know this may seem like a minor foolishness but I never cared to attend these types of send-offs. I have always enjoyed working with my students and helping them prepare for their future health careers but I don't otherwise feel comfortable being the center of attention.

Cheers!
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Badger View Post
I'll be retiring at the end of August and I just found out that 2 of my collegues have been asked to find out what kind of retirement send-off I might like. I find this kind of odd.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:46 AM   #9
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Thank you for all the suggestions. I think there is a plan now.

I spoke with one of the "planners" yesterday afternoon. I like the idea of a short and simple potluck get together in the faculty lounge. That should take care of any perceived obligation. Later I can have my close friends over to the house for a cookout with adult beverages and music.

Something I didn't consider is a gift. I don't have any interest in some kind of dust catcher (I'm in the midst of getting rid of a lot of "stuff" around the house as it is) and I feel uncomfortable about people contributing to yet another in a long line of requests during the year for a gift for someone. However, I would like a department photo. So I will drop a hint today.

I know this may seem like a minor foolishness but I never cared to attend these types of send-offs. I have always enjoyed working with my students and helping them prepare for their future health careers but I don't otherwise feel comfortable being the center of attention.

Cheers!
Don't want a gift......ask them to donate any money they collect to your favorite charity.......everybody should get a warm fuzzy doing that. And, tell them about the pic as well.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:49 AM   #10
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Ditto on the charity, but the picture is also a nice idea.
And a potluck is perfect--let's everyone feel a part of it, but not obliged to a huge after work dealie!
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:54 AM   #11
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It's your sendoff, so just let your wishes be known.

My MegaCorp always did an all local employee (about 80) pizza & beer party after that was also a good natured roast with speeches etc. --- but some employees declined and had a low key cake & coffee party in a conference room instead. I did the latter. I also had a nice dinner with my 8 favorite co-workers, the company was glad to pay.

I enjoyed both events more than I expected to, don't rule out that possibility. I enjoyed going around and saying goodbye to people one on one.

Our Corp guys wanted to fly me down for a big sendoff at HQ too, but I politely and repeatedly declined. They were disappointed, but most understood.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:56 AM   #12
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I would say it makes a difference in who is paying....

If it is the company, then why not have a nice gathering and let the rest of the people enjoy an evening... most don't really care that you are retiring, they just want to have a get together and this is as good excuse as any....

If the participants are supposed to pay, then I agree that a cake (or something similar) and potluck is great...


One of the things that some forget about it that these are not only for the person leaving..... it is also for the people staying....

And heck, as others have said, you might enjoy it...
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:59 AM   #13
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I too don't like being the center of attention. I refused any kind of gathering upon my retirement. To appease folks, I suggested that they circulate a blank journal so anyone that desired could write a line or two. That worked out well for everyone, especially me
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Thank you for all the suggestions. I think there is a plan now.

I spoke with one of the "planners" yesterday afternoon. I like the idea of a short and simple potluck get together in the faculty lounge. That should take care of any perceived obligation.
Wonderful! I have attached a photo taken at my potluck. It was pretty low key, as you can see, and fun. I blocked out the faces of my co-workers to preserve their privacy.

Quote:
Something I didn't consider is a gift. I don't have any interest in some kind of dust catcher (I'm in the midst of getting rid of a lot of "stuff" around the house as it is) and I feel uncomfortable about people contributing to yet another in a long line of requests during the year for a gift for someone. However, I would like a department photo. So I will drop a hint today.
That sounds like a good idea. I got some money as a gift, which I didn't expect but unexpected money seemed more like a good thing than not.
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File Type: jpg party.jpg (33.0 KB, 10 views)
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:37 PM   #15
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I'm really burned out on retirement ceremonies, and I was burned out way before it was my turn.

In the 1990s, the Navy went through a 25% downsizing. Training commands were hit especially hard. Many were forced to retire when they'd hit high-year tenure. A few were forced into early retirement, which in the military means "before you get your 20, and at a substantial discount to the usual pension".

One of my shipmates, Bill, got the early-retirement letter and told the chain of command that he didn't want a ceremony. He continued on through the retirement checklist, and the week before he checked out on terminal leave he had his interview with the CO. Shortly after Bill left the building for lunch, the CO called an immediate wardroom meeting. He said "I know Bill said he didn't want a retirement ceremony, but I got the feeling from him that he wants a retirement ceremony. Make it happen." So we did.

At the ceremony Bill said "You know I asked for no ceremony, and I meant it. You guys really didn't have to force me into this." We said "No, Bill, we really did" and told him about the CO's meeting. The day left a bad taste in everybody's mouth... except for the CO's mouth, of course.

At one point my spouse's command was holding retirement ceremonies three times per week for over six months. The PACFLT band was put on a quota limit so that they could keep up with the requests for them to play at the ceremonies. Merely the act of arranging all the logistics for the (frequently unwilling) retiree would suck up a significant portion of the workweek.

When it was my turn, I said "No ceremony" and "No retirement award" about sixty times. The CO and I had served together before, I thought he was a psychopathic jerk, and I wanted nothing to do with him. When I went into the CO's office for my retirement interview, I kept it as short as possible and left as soon as he was done.

When I walked out his door I was ambushed with an awards ceremony. The CO smirked "You didn't expect me to let you get away with that, did you?" and gave me my award.

The problem was that I had expected no award, and had been planning to trade on that leverage to leave behind a slew of awards for my troops. Now it looked as if I'd back-doored them and cut them out of the whole thing to boot. Instead of having the award pinned on in front of them, and being able to share the ceremony with them, I'd been forced to do it in the CO's office with a bunch of staffers who had little to do with our department. I ended up racing back to my department and calling together the troops to tell them what had happened, what I'd intended to have happen, and how I felt that my award was really theirs for all of the support I'd received from them over the years.

Then I called together the supervisors and explained who else was going to get awards after I'd left. Major damage control, but it worked out.

A few weeks later on my "last day in the office" I came in at the usual time. I'd already said my farewells so nobody was hanging around for me. I left at 9 AM for "an appointment" and didn't return. Sure enough, word got out that the CO had wanted to see me. I suspect that I'd been set up for a retirement ceremony. I never returned his calls and he never made an issue of it.

So... stick to your guns, tell everyone what you want, and make your feelings public enough that the boss can't decide to do it his way instead of your way.
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