Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose....
Oh, the places you'll go!
After 30 years of full-time work, I’ve now retired from the corporate world to pursue new adventures and full-time travel!
Retired from a corporate job....but not from any job!!! In the future, I plan to volunteer and take on seasonal jobs here and there that look like a fun, new experience, a way to meet new people or be more active, and the opportunity to get a free campsite or some spending money in return.
I had been planning this day for years, and yet, at 5:00pm on Friday at the FedEx office, it still felt rather unnerving to watch the FedEx girl pack up my corporate laptop and ship it back to headquarters for the very last time…no going back now!
But, no worries, that momentary apprehension was soon eased by a few celebratory beers and some delicious Lou Malnati’s Chicago deep dish pizza with friends (sorry, I forgot to snap any photos of that feast!).
As corporate jobs go, I guess I had a pretty good one these last 12 years as a project manager for a healthcare software company. I was able to work from home (or from where ever there was an internet connection, so I could travel the US while still working), and I was well-compensated with a good benefits package. It was certainly better than my previous jobs (that required me to commute daily to a cubicle in an office building)!
But remote “home office” jobs have their downsides too. After the thrill of being able to work in my pajamas wore off, it could be quite a struggle some days to fight the social isolation that comes from a solitary work environment day in/day out. I’d go grocery shopping and run errands in the middle of the day sometimes just to see and talk with other people face to face!
When I started this job, my company was only a few hundred employees. Big enough to provide stable employment, yet still small enough to meet and know everyone when we gathered a few times a year for in-person meetings. That brief personal connection was often invaluable, especially if needing to call a tech co-worker on a weekend at home to ask them to help resolve a customer crisis!
Our projects would last up to a year, and yet, because our company was still relatively small and I had personal connections to each team member, we all usually felt a strong sense of purpose and gratification at the end of the project when finally seeing the customer start to use (and enjoy!) our software.
But, in recent years, the company merged, acquired, and transformed into a giant 7,000 person multi-national corporation. Now, my team members were spread out around the world and it was no longer feasible to have any in-person interactions. With the added new layers of corporate bureaucracy, it was also far more complex and tedious to get anything accomplished, let alone being able to deliver customer-delighting “great” work.
Watching my mom’s illness progress the past few years, while watching my company environment become less and less fulfilling, made me finally resolve to stop being one of those “waiting” people from Dr. Seuss’s above tale, and to get on with making my remaining days on earth more interesting and meaningful.
I’ll probably never “move mountains” in this next chapter of my life, but I sure hope to climb a few, and enjoy the views and friendships made all along the way!