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Was your leaving work typical or atypical?
Old 07-10-2014, 12:59 PM   #1
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Was your leaving work typical or atypical?

The reason I ask is that I feel I am having an atypical removal from the workforce. I am waiting until Sept of this year to be officially retired but for all intents and purposes I am right now. The reason I am waiting is that my wife needs to get her 20 years in at the city, so I have agreed to hang in there with her. But the reality of it is that I am just very slowly moving to retirement phase without really calling it retirement yet.

I have my own business but I am not actively trying to get work, but sometimes projects come in from past clients, contacts, etc. And that is okay. But I also do consulting with other Architects and I had this big project that is almost done. It is in review now and I anticipate 48-80 hours worth of work out of it eventually here within a few weeks. I have told that firm though that I am not seeking any work after those hours are used.

I haven't done anything for the past 6 weeks after a quick vacation we took and am enjoying this lifestyle. I wonder though when my Sept 30 'retirement' day actually gets here if it will be anti-climatic? Seems most people have a set date and work towards that day and have a finality about it that I won't be having. I fully anticipate that on occasion I will do a house or kitchen remodel after that date (although I am not soliciting the work), I sort of look at it as a hobby that I just happen to get paid for.

Thus on many levels, I can't relate to many of the posters here who don't like what they do for a living and/or who have a specific date and process in mind to get to FIRE. Just curious if anyone else have an atypical retirement date or process? I can't be a total outlier...right?
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Old 07-10-2014, 01:22 PM   #2
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In many ways my retirement was typical, but also it was not typical in some respects.

As background, I should add that I had to work until 11/2009, to qualify for retirement officially. But I became FI before then. So, I was working for retiree health insurance, essentially.

For quite a few months during the last year that I worked, with the agreement of my supervisor, I was on vacation for 2 weeks and then back for a week, over and over. This was because any vacation over 2 weeks long required upper management approval and they never would have gone for so much vacation time (but my supervisor was also my friend, so she did). I used up all my accumulated vacation time this way.

Now almost ALL federal employees prefer to maximize their accumulated vacation time and take a lump sum for it upon retiring. Not me, because I needed the time a thousand times more than I needed the lump sum. It was as simple as that for me.

It also worked out well because I was able to pop back in every couple of weeks and "save" my replacement if/when she messed up at doing my job. So, the transition was amazingly seamless.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:00 PM   #3
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W2R when you finally retired, ie., on your last actual work date--did it feel final or sort of anti-climatic?

That is what I am wondering. Since I have been sort of on/off all year does it diminish that finality of that date? On one hand I suppose you wake up the next day knowing you never have to work again, so maybe there is a finality and closure after all.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:03 PM   #4
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W2R when you finally retired, ie., on your last actual work date--did it feel final or sort of anti-climatic?

That is what I am wondering. Since I have been sort of on/off all year does it diminish that finality of that date? On one hand I suppose you wake up the next day knowing you never have to work again, so maybe there is a finality and closure after all.
For me, it felt GREAT. It was everything I had hoped and dreamed it would be, and more. . I am on my iPhone now but maybe later will post the link to my post about it here on retirement day.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:07 PM   #5
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I phased out over a year. A job change required me to relocate internationally and my employer managed foreign assignments with contracts, mine was 2 years. After the first year it was clear it wasn't going to work, they decided I should change jobs but remain permanently in my new location. I declined, we talked a while and eventually agreed I would work out the remaining months of my contract and then leave.

So much of the job was the stress of quarterly results and constant whack-a-mole, that went away completely. The phase-out job was enjoyable and I made sure to do it as best I could but that last half-year was like getting paid but not working.
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Was your leaving work typical or atypical?
Old 07-10-2014, 02:32 PM   #6
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Was your leaving work typical or atypical?

When I stopped working in 2011 (my signature says 2012 and that's true as that's when I formally retired), it wasn't anticlimactic. I wasn't expecting a "climax" (keep your mind out of the gutter), I'd known for a long time prior, as did everyone I'd worked with. They were a little sad (and so was I, you get used to seeing the faces and everything).

Thinking back, it reminds me of leaving home for the first time as a pre-teen. I felt "out to sea" back then without my family, but made some great new friends (many of which I still have).

There's a common phrase (even Jefferson Airplane used it): "Life is change".
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:33 PM   #7
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I just got a call telling me the company had shut down our group and we'd have a severance package of some sort. Worked out perfect since I was expecting to retire in about a half year any way. It was a little earlier than expected, but I didn't have to work that final half year and still got paid for most of it.

DW is burning her vacation for July and will work one day in August to pick up the benefits for that month. That will be it for us.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:37 PM   #8
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I have had a non-traditional transition, too, hakuna. DH & I became what I call "FIRE-ish" in 2004. I then w*rked FT for a non-profit for 2.5 years. Then DH & I did a couple of software startups. (Both working for a non-profit and the startups were on my bucket list.)

Last year we decided to downsize and decouple even more from work. It's been a very gradual transition. DH works a few hours a week maintaining the startup (very much like your "a hobby that I just happen to get paid for"). I volunteer ~10 hours per week for two groups I'm passionate about. So I too never had the high of quitting a job I hated or counting down the days until ER.

I expect with fewer defined benefit pensions and ACA removing the employer=healthcare shackles, more people will move fluidly between w*rk and not-w*rk as they age. Don't feel bad about missing the "finality" - your situation sounds delightful as your September "date" approaches.
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:30 PM   #9
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As for typical, if typical means cutting the cord cleanly and with great finality, then mine was typical. The speed at which my employees and co-workers forgot about me was faster than the speed of light. The speed at which I adjusted to retirement was somewhat slower, but its been wonderful all the same. Good luck with your transition to the life of Riley.
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:56 PM   #10
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Mine was fairly typical, the only unusual part being that I wrote a memo to the department head six months before I actually retired telling them that I was going to.

I did this because without something in writing (this is government, understand) they couldn't even begin to train someone else until I left without it. Since I was doing computer forensics that's not something anyone can just drop into. We pretty much knew who it was going to be since only one guy was qualified but he needed to get to a two-week school and have time to do the certification work that would take at least a couple of months after the school. Most people take about six months to get through it but this guy was sharp and we figured he'd get it done sooner. He did, and was transferred into our office well before I retired to smooth the transition.

A few years later he left because some company hired him away with the sneaky underhanded tactic of tripling his pay.

My last day of work was Friday, June 29 2002 and on July 1, a Monday, I was retired.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:17 PM   #11
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When I asked my boss to reduce my weekly hours worked from 20 (3 days a week) to 12 (2 days a week) in the spring of 2007, they had to know I was probably going to bolt at some point.

While I first thought working 2 days aweek might save me from the sadness which had been building up for a while, it did not. So, on the last day of September of 2008, after all the pieces of my ER plan had fallen into place, I gathered my 2 immediate bosses (and tried to get their boss, my divisionhead, to join us but he was in a meeting) in one of their offices in the afternoon and nervously handed them a resignation letter, effective at the end of October (one month later). It felt like a surreal moment but very freeing. They did not seem surprised. The divisionhead stopped my desk after his meeting but asked me only if my decision to leave was anything medically related. I told him it was not (unless you count SICK of the commute somehow medical LOL!). Other than our biweekly management meetings (I missed a few of them because I was off those days), we never spoke.

The month of October went pretty fast. I worked only 9 more days after the rest of the day after I handed in my resignation letter. My goal was to finish a project I had been working on for about 18 months. I barely got it done late in the afternoon on my last day, October 31.

We had a small gathering at my desk on my last day. I declined a luncheon so they gave me $160 in cash they were going to spend on it. Nobody walked me to the door and I handed my ID card to the security desk at the exit/entrance turnstiles and headed home on the commute I so despised for the last time. I near broke down in tears near the end of the trip, barely keeping my composure on the train. I walked into my apartment, dropped my stuff, and yelled out, "I'm FREE!"
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:10 PM   #12
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For me, it felt GREAT. It was everything I had hoped and dreamed it would be, and more. . I am on my iPhone now but maybe later will post the link to my post about it here on retirement day.
I'm back, as promised, with the links I promised, too.

Here's the thread I started on my retirement day.
http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f29/want2retire-is-retired-47241.html
And here is my post about my first day in retirement:
http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f29/what-did-you-do-today-37868-135.html#post874241

I hope the joy shines through.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:13 PM   #13
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Mine was atypical. I was part owner of an engineering company and had an employee contract requiring me to give 6 months notice. I gave notice October 1,2012 stating that I was quitting April 1,2013. The boss didn't want me to leave so I agreed to stay for a year in exchange for the company buying my share of the business. So I walked out the door April 2, 2014. But I still have a company phone and laptop in case I need to answer questions from former coworkers. Agreed to that in exchange for the company paying my cell bill. And I didn't clean out my desk when I left - boss said to leave it in case I wanted to come back. But I don't see that happening.


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Old 07-10-2014, 10:49 PM   #14
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After hangin' out here for a while and reading other stuff, I'm less sure what "typical" retirement really means anymore. Of course there are those who w#rk their 'target' # yrs at a firm to qualify for "typical" defined benefit pension. My impression is that many (most?) ER stories here are "atypical". Some variation of easing from FT-to-PT-to-No Time over months to few yrs. Others took a buy-out (scheduled or unscheduled). Some reached FI and suddenly left when their BS bucket started overflowing. Still others ER'ed, then went back to w#rk for either personal choice or financial issues. IMHO- These days "typical" vs "atypical" ER may be in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:56 AM   #15
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My experience thus far is along the same lines as most posters here.

Went from academia to high intensity corporate to low intensity corporate to self-employed and now tapering off since the better part of a year. Somewhere down that road I became "FIRE-ish" too.

After this summer I'll either relocate to a lower cost of living area or see if I can muster part-time consulting work.

If I manage to increase my NW to $1M I'll declare myself "FI, RE-ish". Probably start with taking a year off to travel. But I might just give up earlier. I'm $180k removed from that target (or put differently, need to increase NW by 20%).

So to OP: I don't think you are an outlier on this forum

You do have several types in this community: e.g. people with good pensions (military, government), people with high incomes (professional types, corporate high-flyers), very frugal people with decent incomes, entrepreneurs, and people with extremely good luck.

I think mostly the people who are 'locked' to their employer tend to go binary. There is just no way for example you can be a corporate executive working 20 hours a week.

Most others try hybrid in my perception. Could be wrong though
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:32 AM   #16
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I was in management at a large megacorp, we were planning a large layoff about 90 days out so I volunteered to be part of it as I was nearly ready to retire anyway. I was nearly certain that this would be our last layoff with such a good severance package and this turned out to be correct.

When the layoffs were announced and I was on the list, my only disappointment was that we had to stay another 30 days. I thought I felt like I was retired almost from the time I had volunteered but I was able to hand off a lot of projects and issues and prepare my replacement as well.

Since I was going to the office most days, the last "official" day of work really did feel like it was for real. At the end of that day (about 10AM lol), for the first time in over 40 years, I really didn't have a job or a place I needed to be on a schedule- it was great in 2008 and still great!

I'm guessing that when the day arrives that you don't have any more projects ahead and your wife stops working, it will feel a bit different. I have wondered in the past how hard it might be to stop working or at least taking on projects here or there if I had a job/skill that could easily be done from home and on a part time basis- I can see where that might make it harder to feel really retired at first- especially if former clients call and ask you to just "do one more job".

Best of luck in September when it's for real!
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:23 AM   #17
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My leaving was atypical in that technically I resigned since I was not yet the firm's retirement age but was not planning to ever work again. The other part that was atypical was that I had been part-time for a number of years after having been a full-time employee. I told our management that I was leaving a couple months beforehand and I think they were surprised but not shocked.

The other thing that was atypical is that because I had a sizable accrued vacation balance, I was "on vacation" for about 6 weeks before I fell off of payroll, but it was a good transition as I had no active work assignments but remained available to answer questions during the transition.

My last "business trip" was to NYC for one-night with DW to attend my retirement party!
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Old 07-13-2014, 06:35 PM   #18
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My leaving work permanently will be atypical. I had a permanent job for about eight years and thought I'd retire from there after 10-12 years total. I was permanently laid off in May. I found a temporary job that should last 3-4 months. Expecting this pattern to last for a few years until I pick a date. Even then, it is possible that on-again/off-again work pattern could continue for some time until we reduce major expenses by moving.
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Old 07-13-2014, 06:49 PM   #19
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Mine was fairly typical I guess. Management knew it well ahead and the large project I was working was commissioned and operational 6 months before I could retire with retiree benefits so the last 6 months was working on small stuff, training others and such. It was during those last few months that I first ever starting logging onto this site from work - up until then I always had far too much work to do - and the those last few months seemed to be very much like being in limbo. There was a sad ending in that during the last 4 months before I retired all 3 of our surviving parents, in England, died so we never got to spend as much time as we had planned with them. (We already had flights booked for the 10 weeks we planned to be in England that summer of our first retirement year)
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:16 PM   #20
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Not a retirement story but still a good read...

I would love to be so creative for my leaving

My Life in Law (a short story)
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