Those were dirty words some days. Hard to get out of bed. Hard to be enthused about the waiting projects and people. Impossible to imagine a thing called “retirement.” Like you I would imagine, I gritted my teeth and soldiered on. Have to work to get the money to keep the present stable and to plan for the future, right? But the truth is I also had many glorious days of great partnerships, getting results, and achieving good outcomes. How exhilarating!
So, here I am, after fifty years of earning a paycheck, in the early days of retirement. I made it! My official exit from employment was on January 20, 2017. When the first Sunday rolled around, I noticed the restlessness, agitation, dread….the anticipation of MONDAY! I had to remind myself that a new chapter had begun. This angst repeated on a second and third Sunday and disappeared completely in the fourth week. I have also noticed that my usual breathless-scampering-to-get-things-done behavior is gone. Whew. What a relief!
And this refreshing pause has given me the room to continue reflecting on my career. Initially, the usual questions:
- Did I really contribute to the well-being of the organization or its patrons?
- Did my work matter?
- Did I make a difference?
Since I had given the boss a six-month notice of my exit, he had the luxury of preparing for a smooth transition of my authority and responsibilities… and I had the luxury of beginning the internal work of change before I left the job.
Based on my own assessment and the feedback given to me by others over the years, I can make peace with these (self-worth) questions. Indeed, my work usually met the test of “good enough”. And there were those occasions, I now immodestly declare, when I excelled by going the extra mile or achieving what most thought to be the impossible. In short, my conclusion is, “You did ok, kid.”
With that evaluation accomplished, I was able to reflect on others:
- Those who mentored me in my business and clinical positions
- Colleagues who stood by me with their encouragement and partnership
- Those who brought me lunch, chocolate, or a good joke when I needed it
- Those I have worked for..the geniuses, rascals, posers, certifiable jerks, and the walk-on-water leaders whose inspiration made me want to jump out of bed every morning to get to work!
- Those who have worked for me…staff who were loyal, hardworking, very smart, resourceful, and made me want to be a walk-on-water leader for them!
I am grateful for it all.. the awful and the exhilarating days. I taught and I learned. I was inspired and I inspired. I gave my career a lot and it gave me as much in return.
All the Best,