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Old 09-24-2012, 01:07 PM   #21
gone traveling
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eastern PA
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I retired over five years ago from a global company (HQ in Europe) with just over 100k direct employees and 20k contractors/temps.

At the time, the "official" lead time for retirement notification was three months, due to the time required for the local/global units to process your replacement (could come from anywhere on the globe), along with your retirement benefit "stuff".

In reality, my direct manager (in Europe) was notified a year in advance. Why? Simply because I had been running ragged between the U.S. and Europe (sometimes every few weeks) for many years.

While the job was interesting and paid well, it was coming to a time in my life (late 50's) when the travel was getting too much. As an example, I had been at one Euro location for two weeks straight and after returning home, I got a late night call two days later to return within a day (critical project). While we had video/PC links, some things just have to be done in person.

When I had my next annual review a few weeks later, I informed my manager that I needed to eliminate, or greatly reduce my travel time. He informed me that it was part of the j*b (not initially, but it became so during the almost 30 years I was there) and I would have a decision to make. Either continue to travel or look for another position. I pointed out that I had my own option - retirement.

It shocked him because like many others he did not understand how I could afford to retire. Also remember that in most Euro countries I w*rked in, a good portion of retirement income was/is supplied by the government, along with specific ages for benefits. That was not my case.

After speaking with his management, he got back to me to let me know that they (he/his management) wanted me to remain and they would reduce my travel. However, I would not be elegible for any further promotions and limited annual salary increases. I said I was fine with that.

That's how I came up with a year's notification.

BTW, I was busy right up to the end and did not "sit around", but it was good to know that I could have just left any day. My manager/me had mutual respect for each other and the company so the risk of me leaving them in a lurch was nor really in the cards.

I left with good wishes from both sides of the pond.

Just my story...

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Old 09-24-2012, 02:59 PM   #22
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Florida's west coast
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Originally Posted by 67walkon View Post
Reading these thoughtful replies makes me realize something else. I'm a lawyer and have a professional responsibility to clients and, for the most part, I like them! I'll finish up their matters even if I'm technically retired from my law firm.

But what I've realized after reading these and reflecting is that a major part of my frustration is that our younger partners just won't do anything to prepare for the older guys' retirement. One partner is older than me and would quit tomorrow if he had enough saved. The three younger ones refuse to come up with any sort of business plan to keep the firm alive, and it's been around for about 50 years. The younger guys are in their 50's and seem more intent on figuring out how to cut costs and contract space than they are about building a future. So I come in daily and see unhappy faces, people who aren't making as much as they wish they were making and pressure to accept cases we never would have considering taking just 10 or 15 years ago. Very little good quality work comes in except from us two older guys, and as we admittedly are feeling burned out, that means stuff we turn down gets turned over to the younger guys. It is a vicious cycle, I guess. There's internal pressure to bill a lot of hours but not enough good work to justify the hours and I'm not going to make up hours or do things that don't need to be done. I would rather not work than work under these kinds of conditions.

And it isn't that we haven't tried to get the younger guys to develop a business plan. It's partly the bad economy and people just trying to survive, but it's partly kind of what some of you referred to as the "mega corp" syndrome. We're not a mega corp, but lately it seems those folks want to work 8 hour days, go home and let someone else worry about where those 8 hours are going to come from tomorrow. We've done a poor job of developing leaders!

So that is a large part of my frustration. I can deal with it for 3 months or 6 months, but when you get to the financial point where you don't have to deal with, it's hard.
I made the original comment about giving only 2 weeks notice at a MegaCorp. I currently lead a small team and consider it my responsibility to create a succession plan by sharing responsibility and work with my higher level employees. Of course, I have carefully chosen people who want to succeed me--who "want my job". I will not need more than 2 weeks because as I get closer to my date they will be even more involved.

I think that your problem may be equally shared. I can understand wanting the business you grew to continue after you're gone. And yes it would be nice if the younger guys would step up to the plate, but are they the right type and have you done your job to get them to that point? If you don't have the right employees in place then maybe you need to think about that--you can choose who works for you if you own the business. Maybe you need to find someone who wants to keep up your "legacy".

Forgive me for being so "tough-love" but it's my experience that not everyone is right for every job and not everyone is meant to lead a department or business. Some people are just followers, and only aim at mediocrity. Have you (1) recognized when people have potential and the desire to lead, and are you (2) willing to mentor them to reach their potential. And finally, are you willing to make the tough decisions if you need to replace non-leaders.

Just my opinion after managing people for 30 years in several MegaCorps.....

PS Despite my strong words, I wish you all the best and hope that someone steps up to the plate for you. My family owned a business and when none of the kids were interested in taking over, my dad had to sell it and I am sure it was a sad day for him.

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Old 09-24-2012, 03:40 PM   #23
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2more, it doesn't really matter at this point. The firm has to pay me, over time, for whatever the book value of my stock is when I resign, and it won't be a big number. Its not like I'll have any continuing ownership interest or pension or anything. And yes, we did a poor job of developing new leaders. I realized that years ago, but there was just no way in a small law firm to dictate anything to anyone except associates. Once guys become partners, its hard to do much about the situation. We are all very friendly and collegial, so it has been a pretty nice place to work.

For at least 10 years, I've tried to get a business plan in place and there were always excuses. First, "we're doing fine without one, so what's the reason". Then, when the economy went south, it was "we don't have time for that now, we've got to do everything we can to cut costs and bill hours". I don't know what it will be after I leave, but that isn't on me. Maybe it will be a good motivator.

We developed some really good lawyers who produced well when work was pouring in, but they never had to be business producers, just work producers. Fortunately for me, my wife and I have our financial affairs in order and can just step aside. I don't think I'll miss it.
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:41 PM   #24
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And this is a great place to anonymously vent. Only my wife and a very few close friends are privvy to my feelings about this stuff. And now the million or so people who read this forum.
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:48 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by 67walkon View Post
My wife and I have decided that the stars and our retirement accounts all align for an April 1, 2013 date, although the numbers would work fine as of January 1. The only magic of April 1 is that I will be within 18 months of being 65 and can COBRA for 18 months. That and our youngest will be about finished with his next to last year of college and we have the last year's expenses in a 529 account. April 1 is also the start of the 2d quarter, so that works nicely.

The few remaining months between having made that decision and carrying it out make my motivation at work really low. There are a few things I need to wrap up and I will, but all the little nit picky stuff that goes on is really, really irritating.

I haven't discussed the actual date with my partners but will do so in October or November.

How have other people maintained that motivation during those final months and weeks?
Not directly answering your question, but do not assume that COBRA is less expensive than what you can get on the open market.

Is Cobra The Best Option For You?

Good luck and congrats!
"Live every day as if it were your last, and one day you'll be right" - unknown
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:31 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by 67walkon View Post
The few remaining months between having made that decision and carrying it out make my motivation at work really low.


I haven't discussed the actual date with my partners but will do so in October or November.

How have other people maintained that motivation during those final months and weeks?
I'm struggling a little bit as well. I've set a date of 30 June 2013 for my retirement and let three partners with whom I am quite close know, but that is all at this stage.

The main motivations are professionalisim and wanting to do the right thing by by partners and other colleagues (in one case we have worked together for more than 20 years). Given the size of my firm, succession is something of a non-issue.

Like you I care about my clients (well, most of them) and an orderly pass over of outstanding matters will be arranged nearer the time. Once I leave the firm, I will not be able to actively work on any matters - local law society rules will kick in because I will not have a practising certificate, I will not be covered by insurance and some communications to me may no longer be legally priviledged. Sure, I'll respond to historical legacy type questions but have to be a little careful.

Good luck with your retirement.

Budgeting is a skill practised by people who are bad at politics.
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