REMEMBER HOW YOU FELT WHEN….
When you graduated from high school? College? The day before you had kids?
The point is that these are all huge transitions: endings and then beginnings. In the world of Hakuna Matata, that’s the circle of life. Getting back to my narrative….Today was MY LAST DAY OF WORK. It is actually RETIREMENT DAY. That is rather significant, don’t you think? So, I look back to other transitions and how I felt then….and NOW.
Speaking generically and I imagine for everyone (since we’ve all gone through at least one of the above), there’s always a sadness at an ending, just because it is an ending. And endings mean that whatever it is you were doing the day before is now history and you’re not quite sure what you’ll be doing the next day. If we are all brutally honest, we also say…hmmmm….I wish I had done this or that better or differently. Like, I should have gone to one less party and studied a little more. Or, I should have gone to one more party and studied a little less. You get my drift. The idealized vision of what we thought would happen isn’t always the reality of the actual experience, right?
So here’s the thing. Looking through the rear view mirror, I really don’t have any regrets about my career, honestly. I say this without bragging and with 20-20 backwards vision. Things have just always worked out for me in my career and without my having necessarily had any plan of action or strategy. It just happened and it always seemed to work out just right.
I mean how many people have had this experience: You’re working for a firm that blows apart and you’re on the wrong side of the split and so you lose your job. But then you find a job instantly and start your great new job on the EXACT day your SIX MONTH severance starts! (I admit it…that was me.) And not only that, the old job ended after I’d been there 5 years and 3 days, when the first pension vesting date was 5 years. Things like that just happened to me. Whether it was financial services or my real first love–City government during the Lindsay years in New York City when public service was where all the smart people went–I have had amazing jobs, worked with exceptional people and moved ahead albeit with normal bumps in the road that pop up in everyone’s career.
So, I really don’t look back and say that I wish I had done this or that differently. I achieved what I wanted to achieve AND was able to spend time with my wonderful family along the way and met a whole lot of great people in the process. AWESOME and continually struck by lucky lightning bolts. Maybe that’s why this transition is actually a bit easier for me now than it was getting out of high school or college…because I did have regrets back then. But not now!
Perhaps that’s why I left the office today on MY RETIREMENT DAY without a whole lot of sadness. I will admit that I waited until most people had left before walking the “halls of farewell”, preferring that people stop by for hugs because it’s easier to be sane on a one-on-one basis. Proof of the pudding—I am writing this WITHOUT A GLASS OF WINE BY MY SIDE. Even I can’t quite believe that. Yup–the day I was dreading a bit is over and it really was a pretty fun day.
From an ego point of view, there’s nothing like leaving…let’s be frank. When you leave, people say absolutely AMAZING things about you in retirement emails. I mean I am starting to believe that I am as great as people say and will be missed as much as they all say. And who’s going to tell me that I am wrong??? No one!! Admittedly, I did print out all those emails and I will continue to believe in my own greatness…even if it’s not true…or only half true…or whatever. Seriously, if you want to get an ego boost—just tell people you are leaving and you’ll receive great compliments!!!
At the same time, I also had the chance to say “truths” to the people I worked with who I really like and respect. (And I am a good person so I didn’t send “nasty notes” to The Others. I just didn’t send them anything, which honestly is pretty passive aggressive. But, I’m not perfect.) Do you know how satisfying it is to tell people how amazing you think they are and how much you truly enjoyed working with them? And to be pretty specific and individual in those thoughts? Try it sometime and you’ll get a true contact high! I somehow wish I had learned this lesson earlier in life. Think about how much happier I would be. (Ok…so there is a regret…I have to admit it.)
Surprisingly, I’m not nervous about tomorrow. Maybe I have blinders on and the tomorrows will be dull and boring and unfulfilling and frustrating and name any other adjective. But, I don’t think so. And then again, my middle name has always been Pollyanna, which has saved me more than once and it will again.
WOW..WOW…WOW.. Stop the presses. I just looked at my IPhone and GUESS WHAT ISN’T THERE ANYMORE. MY OFFICE EMAIL. That’s CRAZY and seriously the first sign that my old persona does NOT EXIST ANYMORE. I am only my Gmail address as of 5 PM today. Furthermore, if you email me at my old email address, you get NOTHING back. So, I am truly NOTHING in the work sense. Isn’t it ironic and touching that this monumental explosion has happened as I was writing this and saying how the end didn’t bother me!
Now I am forced to look at this cold hard event and ask myself: What do I feel about that? Honestly, it’s more weird and annoying than it is emotional. Seriously, what happens if someone sends me a beautiful email praising me to the skies? I won’t get it and I will miss those wonderful words. I wonder if someone will figure out how to get it to me. And then Pollyanna steps in to look on the bright side and says how great it is that as of 5 PM today, I have to check only ONE EMAIL box, instead of two. Let’s be frank, if people can’t figure out how to get in touch with me, that’s just silly, because there are so many paths: In the space of taking a 5 minute break from writing this, I have just figured out how to change my LinkedIn contact address to my Gmail, so people can find me there. And then I can figure out how to use Facebook, so people can find me there. And hopefully people know my Gmail address. And if none of the above work…well…I don’t need to be in touch. I can live without it. So there.
Seriously, ending this Chapter with the unexpected demise of my past 18 year email address is the perfect ending. If my only emotion is slightly annoyed, then I have definitely bridged this gap and am ready to move on. BUH-BYE WORK and office emails..and Hello to the FUTURE and GMAIL!!!