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Old 07-25-2009, 10:14 AM   #21
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I worked my entire 27 year career at a high-tech mega-corp and the (troubled) group I was in had no tradition of retirement parties. A couple of years before I left a co-worker retired at the normal age and I was horrified to find that nothing at all was planned even though he had worked there for more than 30 years. I took him out for a nice lunch.

When I left, the small team that I was a part of took me out for lunch, low-key and not anywhere near $30/head. No gifts. It was fine.

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Old 07-25-2009, 10:16 AM   #22
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When I retired from the hospital in new Jersey were I had worked and partied with most of my co-workers they threw a large surprize party .It was really touching that so many people came and said how much they liked me . At my final job I was offered a retirement party but declined since the last person we had a retirement party for passed away shortly after the party .They did have pizza and cake for me on my last day .

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Old 07-25-2009, 10:34 AM   #23
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This is something I have been pondering on myself. The company offers to put on cake and snacks in the cafeteria buffet style on the last day at 2 in the afternoon and have a presentation etc. ( a clock I think)

If you don't opt for this then the department manager will usually arrange a company paid lunch with the department.

I'll have been with the company for 31 years with 16 years on this particular site and I know and like many people from all departments so I think I'll opt for the cafeteria buffet. It has been an excellent place to work and even though I can hardly wait for the day to come in January when I see the place in the rear view mirror for the last time I'll look forward to a formal 'do'.
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:38 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
... the last person we had a retirement party for passed away shortly after the party.
Talk about going out with a bang...

When the start-up I was with failed, I was literally the one turning off the light at the local office here (I was in charge of it), meaning returning the keys of our office suite to the landlord after the walk-through. No partying... I was not that sad, in a way glad that it was over, and a burden off my shoulder.
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leon Trotsky
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:44 AM   #25
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I've been to a few retirement parties that were held on a Friday or Saturday evening and involved excessive alcohol consumption. These usually ended up with some ugly incidents when a few individuals starting acting like asses.

I would want the take-out BBQ bash that many former coworkers have chosen. Plenty of chicken, ribs, beans, salads and desserts held in the meeting room. No booze allowed on site. We have a 24/7 operation and this allows the people on duty to attend as well. A few hours on a Friday afternoon with coworkers and I'll be off to ER land.
"There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means." Calvin Coolidge
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:49 AM   #26
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Seems like I left hundreds of j*bs and departure events ran the gamut but most of the departures were transfers within MegaCorps. My all time favorite good-bye event was a lunch with my favorite person in the office when I left after only seven months. He said management gave him cash to cover the “event.” My other friends in that dept. had already been terminated sans trompettes and the remaining people roasted me in the coffee area.

Since the job I retired from was at a small family-owned business, it was just the three of us at lunch in a place where we all always felt comfortable, and certainly my preference. They gave me a card and check that seemed more like a gift than a benefit.
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Old 07-25-2009, 12:34 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Go with the bigger bash - it isn't nice to deny the opportunity to those who want to take a parting shot at you.
+1 I was tempted to blow off the party but my folks were pretty insistent so I went along with it. I had spent 31 years with he organization so it is hard to slip out unnoticed. I ended up thoroughly enjoying the deal. It was a luncheon at a nearby hotel complete with a video they created - interviewing my family, co-workers, etc - spoofing the "Swift Boat Veteran's for Truth" thing.
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Old 07-25-2009, 12:50 PM   #28
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I want to have a blow out party with steaks and booze for everyone in my office.

Of course, I work at home so my office is pretty small...

I suppose I'll have to go in to the home office location to sign papers and return my laptop and stuff like that. I don't know what will happen then. I don't want anything huge, and I don't work on the same project as most of the dozen or so people in my department, so even a dept gathering doesn't appeal to me too much.
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:34 PM   #29
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My last tour was a training command of a couple hundred military & contractors. I worked on Ford Island, a few miles away from the main command building on Subase Pearl Harbor, so I had little supervision and lots of autonomy-- just the way I like it.

I was there for nearly five years with great COs & XOs but the final 15 months was presided over by a CO who was, to put it politely, an utter jerk. We'd served together before so this time we steered well clear of each other and we all knew that I wasn't going to let him anywhere near any official military ceremony involving me. Personally I didn't even want a retirement ceremony at all, let alone with this guy, but it was much easier to let people form the opinion that I wanted to avoid the CO than it was to defend my personal preferences. So no military retirement ceremony.

We Ford Island staff threw ourselves a regular Thursday lunch BBQ fundraiser ($1 burgers & dogs) that rotated among the divisions. A couple weeks before I went on terminal leave I manned the grill and bought everybody lunch. People who wanted to make sure I was really leaving say farewell could drop by, everyone else had a choice. No fuss.

The command's Ford Island contractors ran the firefighting trainer (among other things) so they had access to plenty of CO2 and other extinguishing agents. The supervisor is a retired chief petty officer nicknamed "Willie" who found a way to keep serving in the Navy without having to shave. The day before I went on terminal leave they invited me to a BBQ at their building. It's on the southern tip of Ford Island with lovely views of Pearl Harbor and the channel, along with shade canopies & picnic tables. When I strolled over arrived I was escorted through the retirement ceremony's eight sideboys, equipped with their arch of CO2 extinguishers that made an impressive saluting battery. (Never would've gotten away with that at a formal military retirement ceremony.) Then we all took the afternoon off for lunch and sea stories. I was hundreds of yards away from my office and I suspect that I missed quite a few "farewell ambushes" by hiding hanging out at the picnic area. I never returned to my office again. Willie and I still keep in touch.

A month after I'd gone on leave I was invited to lunch with the civil-service staff. We went to a beach restaurant on Hickam AFB, well clear of the command, no uniformed staff invited. They got a chance to see me with longer hair and to catch me up on the latest gossip. We all enjoyed watching the ocean & beach activities without having to do the usual formal farewell stuff.

As was the custom at the time, I left six months before my relief arrived. I turned over my office to a junior officer substitute, reminding him to change the classified safe's combination, and to keep track of the files that the command would need for a nuclear inspection in about 15 months. When "my" relief finally arrived the JO was already on his way out of the Navy, so turnover (let alone corporate memory) was kinda sketchy.

Sure enough, 14 months later I got a panicked call from the new guy. He'd finally looked through the nuclear inspection files and found the (heretofore untouched) note that I'd left with my phone number. He needed the classified stuff but couldn't find the safe combination and was getting ready to drill out the dial. I suggested he try my old combination and-- surprise, surprise-- it still worked. He invited me to lunch at the Navy Exchange food court to talk about handling the upcoming inspection. We set a date for a couple days later. I showed up early and waited 30 minutes past the appointed time. I left voicemail at his office saying that I was sorry we'd missed each other. Then I had a nice lunch, ran some shopping errands, and went home. Later that day I got an apologetic voicemail (he'd forgotten about his own lunch date) but I never returned his calls and he got the hint. It was also a potent reminder that I was really retired.

Over the last seven years several others at that command have tracked me down and invited me to their own retirement ceremonies. It's been a lot of fun seeing how things have changed (or have never changed) and I'm sure they've enjoyed seeing how I've changed...

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Old 07-25-2009, 01:34 PM   #30
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Personally I would like to just leave unnoticed, but that would disapopint a lot of people. The tradition here is that every group you are involved with gives you some kind of party (unless you are a total jerk). The parties range from potlucks, to barbecues, to cake and coffee, to formal dinners and roasts, depending on the affiliation and the interest of the retiree and the planners. Popular people often have several parties and a good time is had by all!

A few years ago a very eminent colleague retired. A scientific symposium was planned to celebrate his career, complete with a gala banquet. Planning took a year. Well known scientists with connections to this individual travelled from around the globe to celebrate his achievements. Two days before the big event, the guy had a major heart attack. He spent the night of the party in ICU recovering from bypass surgery. His doctors wouldn't even allow him to watch it on TV. But the party went on!
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:35 PM   #31
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The usual practice in my office is to have a luncheon for the departing member at a restaurant that can accommodate around 40 or 50 people in a private room. A group gift(usually a gift card) is presented from all, along with some personal gag gifts, and cake is served. This generally is a two hour lunch(no one drinks alcohol). If a top administrator leaves, it is an after hours event at a fancier venue. One or two people over the years have sneaked out very, very quietly, but the rest of us have missed saying good-bye to them with the group event. As I work for a government entity, it goes without saying that we foot the bill individually for these good-byes. I guess I will go along with the established routine and have the luncheon and say a few nostalgic words of adieu.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:32 PM   #32
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Megacorp has a generous retirement policy. I had a luncheon for 30 at an expensive restaurant and the company picked up the tab. I could invite anyone I wanted; there was no "fixed" invitation list. (I didn't even have to include my supervisor if I didn't want to, haha.) My workgroup also had cake and ice cream during my last staff meeting. I requested "no speeches, no roasting" at the luncheon, though of course a few jokers couldn't resist.

Edit to add: As for the OP question, I didn't think I wanted any "big to-do", but as it turned out, it was fabulous fun. Do it!
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Old 07-26-2009, 02:47 AM   #33
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The usual departure routine where i worked was for 3 to 4 bosses and 2 invited friends to go to the restaurant of my choosing with no restrictions on price. As i always felt uncomfortable around bosses i opted to treat the whole shift to pizza,worked out just fine..
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:41 PM   #34
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I definitely do NOT want the official cake and smarmy speech by boss when I leave! I want to leave on a good note and frankly that is not a good note. I would much prefer to go lunch with a few friends who will actually miss me.
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Old 07-26-2009, 01:13 PM   #35
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Recognition for your lifelong efforts is a good thing IMHO. Not everyone gets it.
Big or little party? Could be a question of what you are most comfortable with.

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Old 07-28-2009, 11:13 AM   #36
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I worked out of my home with my nearest co-worker 2 states away. I could have flown to my manager's home city for a retirement dinner with approximately 10 others. The only problem was, other than my manager I only really knew 1 of them.

I opted to have a golf outing in a city with 2 co-workers. 2 managers also flew in to attend. That evening we had a nice supper. I flew home the next day and that was the end of 27 years at MegaCorp.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:34 AM   #37
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My organization usually has some sort of send-off, from a simple cake and punch gathering to a bonafide party. As for me, I'll refuse any sort of get together. I can't imagine anything more agonizing than being at such an event. If people insist, I'll schedule a couple of root canals for that day.
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:47 PM   #38
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My university department was small when I got there decades ago, and friendly. We had parties for every retiree, and they were great social events. In recent years, the department exploded from a friendly 30 to a humongous 125+ with an impersonal corporate culture. The retirement parties - when they remember to do one - are dull events filled with people that don't know each other. I told the person in charge of such things - who's a friend - to not plan one for me. When I retire next December, I'm simply going to go over to the local burgers and beer joint with the limited number of people that are actually my friends and not simply co-workers. A much better way to start retirement than one last taste of the corporate university.

By the way, this is my first post on this board. I've been a lurker for a long time, but finally got around to registering this spring. It's a great forum - always filled with interesting and useful stuff!
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:01 PM   #39
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Welcome to posting on the the forum, Wally.

Your post really rang a bell with me as I left a university dept. many many years ago after four years. They gave two of us a nice send off and I remember it fondly, still have the photos. I knew and liked all the people there, scary to think it may have changed as you describe.

Keep us posted on your journey toward retirement. No university area would be worth its salt without a decent beer/burger joint. Brings me back!
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:10 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by hankster View Post
I would want the take-out BBQ bash that many former coworkers have chosen. Plenty of chicken, ribs, beans, salads and desserts held in the meeting room.
Longhorn BBQ?

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