Showing posts with label epiphany. Show all posts
Showing posts with label epiphany. Show all posts

Friday, August 18, 2023

Dealing With Lifechanging Events

 And now for something completely different:
As of August 11, 2023, exactly one week ago today, I retired.

    "Retired" is a tricky word.  A year ago, I went from full-time at my job, to part-time.  Voluntarily, in an attempt to reduce stress, and focus more on my time with Monique.  We tried calling it 'retirement', but that didn't sit well.  Settled on calling it 'semi-retirement'.  Seemed more accurate.

    Now I've given up the job, retirement still isn't exactly the right word.  I'm in my 60's, so retiring is age-appropriate.  But what really happened is I stopped working at the paper, and started working full-time with Monique.  We can't afford to actually retire.  I'm calling it retirement, but what it means is "working full-time on eBay to make ends meet."  One week in, and we're starting to figure out the shape of our future.  It's great to spend a whole day focused on eBay, but as it turns out, other needs continue, as they always have, to interrupt our plans.  Some things will need to become part of the permanent routine.  Others are one and done. The cost of... everything... will keep going up.  The unplanned-for continues to surprise us.  :^)

    So a week into our new normal, I have to say I'm liking it a lot.  Working at the paper was a good job.  And the people I worked with... really great.  As in, I've only been gone a week and really miss getting to see everybody while we did our daily work.  I miss the job itself, but not nearly as much as I miss the people.  Over the years, the job changed to deal with all the changes in the industry.  Newspapers went from being powerful, to struggling to hang on.  Many couldn't, and closed.  The paper I worked for was a labor of love, and our leadership worked extremely hard, and very creatively, to keep the doors open.  We continue to succeed, where so many haven't.  And of course, the aftermath of Covid had an indelible impact, personally and professionally.  For a long time, I adapted.  Not always willingly, but always got there in the end.

    It helped when I went part time last year, but change kept happening.  People I care about move on, the job itself continued to change.  I found myself struggling, and failing, to adjust.  The merry go round wasn't fun anymore and I was ready to leave the circus behind.  My willingness to change, and keep changing, was gone.  A good friend put it bluntly, telling me I was burnt out.  Sounds about right. 

    Monique and I talked it over a lot.  I tried to hang in as long as possible, but more and more, the thought of dropping out and spending all my time with Monique sounded better and better.  We planned and prepared as much as possible.  Decided we needed a trial run.  A week off of work, to see how it would go.  Gave my manager (another very good friend) a rather indeterminate heads up that Monique and I were considering making the leap.  Found out later she thought I was literally turning in my resignation on the spot.  We cleared that up, I promised her at least a month's notice.

    Spending that week with Monique was awesome.  It convinced us I could make the switch, treat eBay as seriously as any other job. It also convinced us both that it was time, so when the vacation was over, I gave just over a month's notice.  The timing was serendipitous.  That month and a few days made my final day at work a Friday, and Saturday would be Monique's birthday.  It seemed appropriate to celebrate both events together.

    The anticipation was keen.  It was hard to delay that month, but I also didn't want to leave my friends behind.  There were discussions about ways of keeping me on in some capacity, but the upshot was, I'm more than happy to give advice, share expertise, and will always pick up the phone when my friends call, but not for pay.  My paid job is eBay, and I need to treat it like a job.  But I'm always glad to hear from friends, and to feel needed.

    They threw an amazing farewell party.  I've worked with people (yes, more friends) for 15 years that I never met face to face - some of them made the trip to the office just to say goodbye, and share a hug.  I tried to search out everybody and tell them how great they've been.  Then it was over.  Did a few last jobs, because they were there and I didn't want to leave Joy with any of my unfinished work.

    Now, a week later, I had an epiphany:
I left the job while I was still good at it, and would be remembered fondly.  

    If I'd stayed, my ability to do the job would have diminished, my anger and stress would have grown, and nobody would have liked me any more, not even me.  Carol Burnett had a very successful entertainment show for years, and it was still going great when she decided to stop.  As she said, "I thought it was much classier for me to say bye-bye first.”  I agree.  

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