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Just gave my notice... and feeling sad
Old 05-21-2021, 03:31 PM   #1
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Just gave my notice... and feeling sad

Well, I did it. Just gave my notice after 19 years with my current employer. No issues with my manager, he said he'd do the same thing if he were in my position (he's much younger). Instead of feeling excited and happy I feel down, so many conflicting emotions. Find myself tearing up. I'm sad about giving up the parts of my j*b that I enjoy, about seeming old and washed up in the eyes of society (though 59 isn't so old!) and that I didn't live up to my potential or take on more challenging roles. I suppose it's grief.

If a friend were telling me this I'd say "well, you can try freelance, or volunteer. Lots of people need folks with your skills." I worry though about ageism. I do have a host of things to retire to (read the Ernie Zelinski and Nolo Press books and have a list!)

The "do I have enough money?" question is also there albeit irrationally, given that all calculators and analyses give me the green light (including my own independent advisor). It's still a bit scary.

I keep telling myself something I read years ago on a t-shirt: "I know when one door closes another opens, but man, those hallways are a b**ch" . Right now the mental image in my mind is of me having closed a door and now I'm standing outside in the dark looking around and feeling a bit lost. I know it will pass, but dang, I didn't think quitting would be this hard.

Thank to the E-R community for offering a place to share my feelings and experience and find great advice and support.
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Old 05-21-2021, 03:36 PM   #2
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Your feelings are normal, and you'll get over them in no time.

When you've worked for an employer for so long, it's like family, and you're breaking away from family. So, not unusual at all to feel some amount of sadness.

Congrats - look forward to all the great things ahead of you and leave the past behind.
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Old 05-21-2021, 03:36 PM   #3
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Chin up, head high, and look forward!

Most of us have had some degree of anxiety at THAT moment (I know I did).

Take a deep breath and remember, this WHY you saved.

It will get (A LOT) better.
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Old 05-21-2021, 03:56 PM   #4
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Give yourself permission to take a breather and appreciate what you’ve finally achieved!

And for Pete’s sake, set aside those to-do/checklists that many books advise you to create to “succeed” at retirement. That’s work (again)!
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Old 05-21-2021, 04:03 PM   #5
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Congrats. I just hit my 19th anniversary too. I like my bosses, my employees and co-workers, I'm just tired of the never-ending piles of work. Everytime someone leaves I wish I were going too. I still have a few more years to go but I can definitely empathize with you.

Take a trip, clear your head. Not having to come back to a pile of work after a vacation will validate your reasons for leaving.
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Old 05-21-2021, 04:19 PM   #6
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I felt exactly the same way. I heard “Is That All There Is?” In my head, and cried some.

It’s a big transition, and one of the very few in which you are the decision-maker. It’s the opposite end of a journey that started in kindergarten.
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Old 05-21-2021, 04:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njhowie View Post
Your feelings are normal, and you'll get over them in no time.

When you've worked for an employer for so long, it's like family, and you're breaking away from family. So, not unusual at all to feel some amount of sadness.

Congrats - look forward to all the great things ahead of you and leave the past behind.
Nice post and oh so true.
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Old 05-21-2021, 05:14 PM   #8
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I empathize with you pdxgal. I loved my work and part of me was sad when it came to an end, but think of the overall picture. You had a great career, accomplished a lot and made a number of good friends. Would you prefer to have a "good riddance" attitude? I think not. You'll look back fondly upon your career and have good memories.
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Old 05-21-2021, 05:39 PM   #9
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Very normal to have that those feelings. It is a big deal to retire and you should be excited that you have been so successful to be able to ER. That is great and I wish you the best.

Retirement isn't the end but just the beginning.
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Old 05-21-2021, 05:53 PM   #10
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I also had similar feelings.
I worked xx years in engineering and got pretty good at it, so I could quit

So yeah, you need to have a few things to retire TO to make it work out.
Travel and various hobbies are good ways...
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Old 05-21-2021, 06:30 PM   #11
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Wow, I didn't know a lot of people felt sadness. I was in a toxic work environment, so I felt like it was either my work or my health, and I took my health. I felt ecstatic when I turned in my resignation. I worked there for 12 years or so.

Having said that, there's no reason to beat yourself up for what you have decided to do. Going into the unknown future is always a bit scary, but you can look at this as a new beginning? You're now opening yourself up to new possibilities that you couldn't consider when you were wo*king full time? We can still contribute to society and keep ourselves useful and valued. If you feel you haven't reached your full potential in the career you're leaving, then, you may explore something else you could realize your full potential in (and now, you don't have to worry about saving money to retire, so that opens up a lot of possibilities...)
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Old 05-21-2021, 06:52 PM   #12
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Pretend the you now is the old you, the you a month later is the new you.

New you to old you: "Hey how is going?"

Old you: "I am feeling like I am staring at the darkness out of the door I opened and am about to go across."

The new you: "What door? Can't talk now. I have a helicopter training lesson coming up. Making it hover is haaaaaaard!"

Looking forward will change the emotion and 59 is too young to feel old!
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Old 05-21-2021, 06:56 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by tmm99 View Post
Wow, I didn't know a lot of people felt sadness. I was in a toxic work environment, so I felt like it was either my work or my health, and I took my health. I felt ecstatic when I turned in my resignation. I worked there for 12 years or so.

Having said that, there's no reason to beat yourself up for what you have decided to do. Going into the unknown future is always a bit scary, but you can look at this as a new beginning? You're now opening yourself up to new possibilities that you couldn't consider when you were wo*king full time? We can still contribute to society and keep ourselves useful and valued. If you feel you haven't reached your full potential in the career you're leaving, then, you may explore something else you could realize your full potential in (and now, you don't have to worry about saving money to retire, so that opens up a lot of possibilities...)
You are my role model. I am only in my current job for 2 years 3 months and already feel the price to pay with my health. Only ~10+ more years to go. Yay.
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Old 05-21-2021, 08:18 PM   #14
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Commencement…it’s a beginning, not an ending. Isn’t that what’s said in every graduation speech? I think we humans never outgrow an uneasiness with transitions. Remember starting new schools, new jobs, new town…you don’t have your normal parking spot and favorite lunch order or driving route…whatever, that provides the comfort of routine & structure that make some of us feel like everything’s “normal” and “ok” and we know how to do this.

I’m sure I’ll feel the same way. My preliminary plan for handling it is to revert to my comfort zone of operating. You’re finally free to NOT have to get out of your comfort zone like is always commanded of us at w*rk (don’t you always hate hearing that??). For me it probably means build a list of favorite activities (like Zelinksky), get out in nature, stay up later than usually “allowed”, sleep as much as I want and all sorts of other now-non-guilty pleasures. I see it as a time to finally be completely ME, not what anyone else wants of me. Be proud of this huge accomplishment and indulge in anything you want, finally. Hope that helps.
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Old 05-21-2021, 08:32 PM   #15
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It's quite normal to feel conflicted to take this big step. I loved my job but hated the megacorp environment, and felt the same ambivalence. I kept wondering that if I had stayed a bit longer, perhaps things would change.

Even now, I still think of all the technical things that I could have done at megacorp if I had stayed. But I also know that the chance was high that I would get frustrated and miserable with things that I could not help or ignore.
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Old 05-22-2021, 04:13 AM   #16
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I never felt sad, and 4 years in have never second guessed it either.
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Old 05-22-2021, 04:47 AM   #17
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Not retired yet, but planning on being there next year around the time I turn 61. By then I'll have been at my current employer for 5 years. Since college, I've worked at a number of companies with time put in anywhere from as short as 4 months to as long as 16 years and everywhere in between. Left voluntarily sometimes and sometimes involuntarily. The distribution of bosses I've had is purely bi-model: either really good or really bad. I've left companies regardless of the boss for a number of different reasons.

But one thing has been constant: After leaving a company, I don't think I've ever missed the work itself. But I often miss a lot of the people I worked with, especially the daily interactions. Of course I still keep up with many of them, but it's not the same as seeing/talking to people daily. I expect that will be one of my biggest adjustments, though the whole Covid experience over the last year, along with a 10 month unemployment stint about a decade or so ago has given me a taste for what it will be like.

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Old 05-22-2021, 06:03 AM   #18
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It’s normal to have mixed feelings about retiring as everyone has noted. But I didn’t pick up why you’ve chosen to retire? Having enough money alone is not a reason to retire.
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Old 05-22-2021, 06:49 AM   #19
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Work is a big part of most people's identities, so it's quite common to feel you've lost a part of yourself after you leave the work world behind.

I (foolishly) made the mistake of letting my work become "most" of my life. We don't have kids, and my wife worked as well. Both of us in very demanding, super high stress jobs. Woke up one day, and more than 25 years had passed. Most of those years were 99% work, 1% everything else.

Like another poster up-thread, work became SO overwhelmingly toxic that I "had" to leave to protect my remaining health. And I was working far too many hours most weeks (70-80+) to have any remaining energy to find something else. Plus, I wasn't convinced there WAS any "greener grass" anyway. So I bailed at 55, after convincing myself that I could pay our way in the remaining years with a high degree of confidence.

That said, I can totally relate to the sadness / sense of loss part. I'm in year 3 of ER and while COVID totally wiped out year 2 [2020] for us (we're high risk so intentionally became "COVID hermits"), I do still frequently feel that sense of giving up such a huge part of my identity and perceived "value" that I brought to my job. And that to this day does get to me at times.

In addition to that, the whole financial part of the change can also be overwhelming - no matter how good your plan is. We went from some pretty comfortable W-2s to a MUCH more limited income. Adapting to that change is probably a topic for a whole different thread ..

Bottom line is that it's perfectly normal to feel some amount of discomfort and even fear about leaving work behind, given what a big part of our lives it's been up to that point.
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Old 05-22-2021, 06:57 AM   #20
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