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Old 11-01-2007, 10:46 AM   #41
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W2R...I'm just now reading this thread. Sorry for your loss. I am glad that you're taking family leave - it's a very worthwhile program. Your mental health is VERY important at this time. Just before I retired, my stress level was also very high. I felt no guilt when I called in sick - my mental health was at stake. You need to do that too over the next several months.
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Old 11-01-2007, 11:54 AM   #42
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W2R - as usual, late to the thread - couple of comments:

1) Your stress-o-meter in terms of external events causing stress in your life is in the consistent red-line - no wonder you are overwhelmed
2) The fact that your evaluation was excellent says more - perhaps your perception and theirs are different and some thinking about that may help re-align yours with theirs
3) You say you only have 2 more years - hmmm, you've gotten the promotion, you've got your retirement date, your house is paid off, you have a plan.....I hope I'm not being crass here - why do you care what they think at work? Can they fire you (I'm suspecting it would be hard as I seem to remember you work for the government)? Perhaps a bit of a throttle back so that you don't have to walk on water is in order...for the next two years. Case in point - I currently have turned down promotions and projects because I believe if I take them my efficiency and credibility will decline - as it is, my workload is at a fairly manageable level and if they don't like it, they'll have to fire me - they can't afford to do that, so I'm in a great position right now. I think you are in the same and if I were you would push back even more. It looks like you did at your evaluation, but perhaps a more long-term push back may be in order.

As usual, the above can be jettisoned into your own electronic round file! Enjoy your well deserved time off.
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Old 11-01-2007, 01:23 PM   #43
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W2R - as usual, late to the thread - couple of comments:

1) Your stress-o-meter in terms of external events causing stress in your life is in the consistent red-line - no wonder you are overwhelmed
2) The fact that your evaluation was excellent says more - perhaps your perception and theirs are different and some thinking about that may help re-align yours with theirs
3) You say you only have 2 more years - hmmm, you've gotten the promotion, you've got your retirement date, your house is paid off, you have a plan.....I hope I'm not being crass here - why do you care what they think at work? Can they fire you (I'm suspecting it would be hard as I seem to remember you work for the government)? Perhaps a bit of a throttle back so that you don't have to walk on water is in order...for the next two years. Case in point - I currently have turned down promotions and projects because I believe if I take them my efficiency and credibility will decline - as it is, my workload is at a fairly manageable level and if they don't like it, they'll have to fire me - they can't afford to do that, so I'm in a great position right now. I think you are in the same and if I were you would push back even more. It looks like you did at your evaluation, but perhaps a more long-term push back may be in order.

As usual, the above can be jettisoned into your own electronic round file! Enjoy your well deserved time off.
Good points. In the past I have always pushed myself and expected more from myself than others have expected from me (which was the only way that I knew to climb over obstacles and meet my goals). Now that I have my promotion and considerable job security, I need to learn to stop doing that and stop projecting my expectations onto others. It's not necessary and I have no desire to advance any further.

In the past week I have suggested discontinuing one long term project as a waste of money, and moving another one over to the back-stabbers who seem to want to wrest it from me. I'd be perfectly happy if they took it and all the concomitant "glory" and high profile. No need for the back-stabbing because quite honestly I don't want it (unfortunately who does it is political and apparently is a management coup/battle, though). Also I am trying to divert another new upcoming project to people in another unit, pointing out that it really doesn't mesh with our unit's little segment of the agency's mission. I put off a review for so long that somebody else did it instead (and only one was needed). Also I did not apply for a position in management that came up recently.

Despite all this backpedaling I am still avalanched. I think that I am in a phase now where I have started backing off on these things, but my work load hasn't actually decreased yet. At least management is "on notice" that I am feeling vastly overworked and overstressed. I am making no secret of the fact that I am on retirement track from here on out.

Happy2beRetired - - thanks. I will think about what you are saying, as well. Maybe some "mental health days" would not be such an inappropriate use of my sick leave. After all, they don't want people to go postal on them! (Not that I would! I plan to use my vacation time too.)

Buckeye - - thanks for the tip on caffeine. I am really hooked but maybe I can cut back. Or maybe not!! At least I could try.
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Old 11-01-2007, 06:57 PM   #44
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Good points. In the past I have always pushed myself and expected more from myself than others have expected from me (which was the only way that I knew to climb over obstacles and meet my goals). Now that I have my promotion and considerable job security, I need to learn to stop doing that and stop projecting my expectations onto others. It's not necessary and I have no desire to advance any further.
Want2retire,

My theory is that some young, driven, ambitious people want to excel at their jobs, and tear into them when young - idealistic, optimistic, and with the belief that 'hard work (alone) will be recognized and rewarded'. Later, with a cold bucket of reality thrown in their face, they are dissatisfied with the results and effort, but don't really know what else to do - backing off the 60-hour weeks feels like 'slacking'.

IMO, what is needed in this case is a re-focussing of that energy and drive into non-w*rk related activities.

I find myself less interested in knocking myself out for the company. That's not the same thing as slacking or ripping off the company; I believe a fair days w*rk is owed to whomever is paying me. It doesn't mean spending nights and weekends for no money (I'm salaried).

What passion(s) do you have? Follow and put your time/energy into those instead of the few remaining days at your j*b.

(Now, if I would only take my own advice... )
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Old 11-01-2007, 09:55 PM   #45
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at 65 I could get Medicare Parts B & D instead (if it still exists).
What if it doesn't, or is changed/deleted later?
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Old 11-02-2007, 07:16 AM   #46
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Want2retire,

My theory is that some young, driven, ambitious people want to excel at their jobs, and tear into them when young - idealistic, optimistic, and with the belief that 'hard work (alone) will be recognized and rewarded'. Later, with a cold bucket of reality thrown in their face, they are dissatisfied with the results and effort, but don't really know what else to do - backing off the 60-hour weeks feels like 'slacking'.
That is a good point for a lot of people. As you move up and the pyramid narrows, that next promotion often involves as much luck as hard work. Many people plateau at a mid-level despite their best efforts to "do what it takes." I think many organizations expect them to keep pumping out the 60 hours with nothing in return. But without the other side of the equation in sight, you really only owe them a reasonable day's work, not your life.
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Old 11-03-2007, 03:38 PM   #47
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WTR, as one high-stress Fed to another, take the SL, use ALL of your AL, and ease up a little bit. It took me 23 years, 2 stab-you-in-the-back suspensions, and a reduction in grade to realize this, but your agency only cares for you as a warm body to fill their complement. They are going to continue existing long after I retire or die, whichever comes first. And I doubt that any of them would mourn me beyond their appearance at my funeral.

I have come to the conclusion it is sufficient to give them 100% while on duty, rather than my old 150%. I do my job, to the utmost of my ability, but I am no longer looking to become the "poster boy".

In fact, I am seriously considering going to the Warden and telling him NOT to promote me to an available GS-11 post because it would intefere with my coasting for the next 10-13 months. (10 to eligibility, 13 if I stay to the end of the calendar year.) The only question I still have to answer is whether I use my 500 hours of sick leave before I turn 50 or after it.
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Old 11-05-2007, 12:37 PM   #48
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"I mentioned the concept of getting 1/2 hour administrative leave per day for an exercise program to a co-worker. He said, "That man works for a PROGRESSIVE agency!!" and several of us were ROFL. We sure wish we had that."

Funny, I never considered my agency "progressive", but I guess when it comes to exercise it is! I think this is due to the fact that historically, many of the jobs require good to excellent physical condition, and some even have daily physical training as a part of the job description.
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Old 11-05-2007, 08:18 PM   #49
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historically, many of the jobs require good to excellent physical condition, and some even have daily physical training as a part of the job description.
WOW!! What agency is that!?
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Old 11-06-2007, 02:54 PM   #50
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Want2Retire,
I want to point out another issue about RE and health insurance. The kind of insurance you might be able to get if you RE without the FED policy may cause you a lot of stress.

I went though a very difficult process getting individual insurance and ended up with a $280/month policy with a $2700 deductible and a few exclusions. One of them, skin cancer screening and treatments, I have to pay out of pocket. This year about $600. Another exclusion includes anything to do with my spine. This because of a minor injury eight years ago that has never bothered me again.

If any of my excluded conditions get much worse I'm going to have a lot of expenses! Being in this uncertainty does prey on my mind and affects the choices I make. For example, no motorcycle riding for me! Just kidding. But seriously, I had to decline participation in the HOA community volunteer landscaping last week because I was afraid it might hurt my back even though there's really not much wrong with my back at present and I do a lot of exercise in the gym.

So it's the stress of uncertainty that can sometimes make life uncomfortable. Take your vacations and stick it out two more years; also, cut out caffeine and start meditating and/or yoga!
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:27 PM   #51
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USDA Forest Service, wildland fire fighters do OTJ physical training.
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Old 11-07-2007, 09:51 PM   #52
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OK, never mind. Don't bother signing me up. Anybody who charges into a fire is crazy!!. A hero yes, but crazy.
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Old 11-08-2007, 10:07 AM   #53
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Want2Retire,
I want to point out another issue about RE and health insurance. The kind of insurance you might be able to get if you RE without the FED policy may cause you a lot of stress.

I went though a very difficult process getting individual insurance and ended up with a $280/month policy with a $2700 deductible and a few exclusions. One of them, skin cancer screening and treatments, I have to pay out of pocket. This year about $600. Another exclusion includes anything to do with my spine. This because of a minor injury eight years ago that has never bothered me again.

If any of my excluded conditions get much worse I'm going to have a lot of expenses! Being in this uncertainty does prey on my mind and affects the choices I make. For example, no motorcycle riding for me! Just kidding. But seriously, I had to decline participation in the HOA community volunteer landscaping last week because I was afraid it might hurt my back even though there's really not much wrong with my back at present and I do a lot of exercise in the gym.

So it's the stress of uncertainty that can sometimes make life uncomfortable. Take your vacations and stick it out two more years; also, cut out caffeine and start meditating and/or yoga!
Thanks, Oldbabe, for the insights on this. I am going to take your advice, though I will just attempt to cut back on caffeine for now, since forgoing my one cup seems to turn me into an angry she-wolf in the mornings. (I have started mixing decaf in with my regular coffee for that one cup, and once I have weaned myself onto decaf then I will try drinking less than a cup and so on.) To be honest, I can't imagine that one cup of weak coffee in the morning is the problem -- my job is the problem.

Only 730 more days as of this morning (crossed them off on my list of days left!), and Thanksgiving week is a scheduled vacation for me. I am going to schedule time off over Christmas, as well. I will go and do that now.

Things are already feeling better due to the bereavement time off that I took last week, so I have pretty much written off the idea of saving up my vacation time for the lump sum payment. Time off seems to really help.
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Old 11-08-2007, 06:50 PM   #54
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To be honest, I can't imagine that one cup of weak coffee in the morning is the problem -- my job is the problem.

Things are already feeling better due to the bereavement time off that I took last week, so I have pretty much written off the idea of saving up my vacation time for the lump sum payment. Time off seems to really help.
Glad to hear you are feeling better! Time off is the cure for most of the problematic issues in life.
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