Sunday, November 10, 2013

I’m Retired!

As of Friday, November 8th, 2013, I was given a great send-off by this Dr. Seuss video (for those with limited bandwidth, here’s a link to the full text!):

Congratulations!
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!

dr-seuss-oh-the-places-youll-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!

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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!

30 comments:

  1. Yay! Congratulations and I do relate ... "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. "

    What fun it will be to read about your next chapter .... ;)

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  2. Congratulations.....can't wait until you get on the road. A work from home job sounds so good but you pointed out some definite downsides. I know you were about to RV and travel but now you are really free. Roam away.

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    1. It snowed here in Chicago yesterday, so I am now even MORE excited to get on the road in 2 weeks!

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  3. YAY for you!!! I have no doubt you WILL move mountains, just different ones. Good for You!!!

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    1. aw, thank you! Today, I hoisted an old sofa into the van to take it to the donation center-- does that count as credit for moving mountains?!! ha!

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  4. CONGRATULATIONS to you! Being retired is one of the best things, ever! I really planned on having an Internet company, doing resumes and other word processing projects on-line (I had a business for 15 years doing that) and to tell you the truth, I'd rather have less money and more time. It's great! I hope you enjoy your retirement as much as I'm enjoying mine. :)

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    1. Thanks Barbara! I do, indeed, want to boondock and dry camp whenever the weather is agreeable for that. It's funny how quickly one can go from spending like a drunken sailor to a frugal old miser when the motivation is to maintain more freedom!

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  5. Hooray for you! May you have oodles and oodles of fun days full of fantastic adventures in the years ahead. Please keep posting your blogs so we can enjoy them along with you!

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  6. Congratulations! I've been retired nearly 4 years and I love it. Work was fine for a long time but I'm glad I don't have to do it anymore. I'm sure you will find it great too. Welcome to your next chapter where there is nothing you have to do that you don't choose to do.

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    1. Yes, it's kind of overwhelming to have so many options of what to do each day/week/month, but a really nice "problem" to have!

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    2. I felt a weird unmoored feeling for a few months and I still had my house. It is completely different from a a long vacation. Not having an end in the back of your mind makes it very different, but in a good way as long as you are a self-starting/motivating kind of person. You sound like the kind of person that will do very well. My oldest brother failed at retirement and went back to work part time. But that is the great gift of retirement - you can do what you want because you want to, not because you have to.

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  7. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I'm so happy for you!!!!

    Tina

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  8. I gave that Dr. Seuss book to each of my three kids when they graduated from high school. It is fitting in this case also. Congratulations to you, and I hope you truly enjoy climbing your next mountain.

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    1. Thanks Judy! What a great graduation gift! You've been quite an inspiration for showing how to live within and advocate for Nature in retirement. I sure hope to follow your path (although I doubt I'll ever attain the expertise you have!)

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  9. Congratulations! Time to enjoy your roaming lifestyle.

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    1. Thanks for blogging to give me the motivation to take this big leap!

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  10. Congratulations!!!! I've been fighting that "watching my company environment become less and less fulfilling" for the past year. I am not sure I can make it to my retirement date in May 2014.

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    1. Well, if there's a significant financial incentive to stay until May, then just stay focused on that prize (and make sure you're getting everything lined up as you'd like for retirement). These last few months really flew by quick for me, as I was busy doing things I knew I had best get done while still employed, such as all my medical/dental check-ups & preventative tests, and getting a new bank account and credit card that are "international travel-friendly" (i.e. no foreign transaction fees & reimburses foreign as well as US ATM fees).

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  11. I gave that book to my daughter when she graduated from college. It's a wonderful sentiment. And OH SO TRUE!! Congratulations for moving into the doing stage and out of the waiting stage. You are going to love it I know. It's just amazing how quickly you come to wonder how in the world you ever had time to work.

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    1. That's for sure, Sherry! Work was seriously cutting into my Mexico-planning time, so I knew it was time to set my priorities straight!

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  12. Lynne, I am just so darned EXCITED FOR YOU!! Let the adventures begin!!!!! Big Hugs coming your way!

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    1. Thanks Tessa! Hope to cruise by your neck of the woods next Spring!

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  13. Lynne, Congratulations, and I'm green with envy. I have a couple more years until "early retirement," or 5 more years until full retirement. Boy, it's gonna be tempting to bug out early and start RV exploring. I love your blog and look forward to more beautiful photography. Can't wait to see "the places you'll go..."

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    1. I'm sure you'll know when the "cost-benefit" of waiting longer for retirement is worth it or not. Meanwhile, I'll try to post lots of ugly places and sad tales of woe so you won't feel so bad!

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  14. Congratulations....now is the time to take the other fork in your path. Enjoy the journey.

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    1. Thanks Contessa! Hoping to be down to the Isla in about a month and can't wait for the journey to begin! Save some pretty sunsets for us!

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  15. Congratulations! My wife and I retired (age 59) in September. So far, so good! Big winter trip planned to warmer climes. I don't miss work at all. Good luck with this great transition! Steve

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