I have written about many work-related events on different topics. I could write about specific points of these topics. For example, I have written about the phone call I received from a senior manage that resulted in a three-week overseas project. I have written about acting in senior positions in the Australian Public Service, and disappointments. What to write about this time?
One that I can cover from a different perspective is my retirement. I have written about how my retirement eventuated. But not about the actual process. It was a normal meeting with my manager that the question about whether I was thinking about retirement was raised. My answer was along the lines that I wanted to work while I felt I was contributing, learning and enjoying myself. But leaving his office, I made what I thought was a throwaway comment “Of course, if there were some redundancy offers, I could consider an earlier retirement”. That started it all.
A few weeks later I found a message on my phone when returning from a meeting. It was late on the Friday of a long weekend, and my return call was unsuccessful. When I arrived home, I found my husband had also received a call from the same person, and he had in fact been asked if was interested in a voluntary redundancy offer. We spent much time that weekend investigating the various financial implications and options. And Tuesday morning I was able to make the contact and confirm that I was also being asked if I would be interested in an offer of a voluntary redundancy. The process proceeded for both of us.
But it was the actual penultimate day of my employment that stands out!
We had a holiday booked that meant we were on leave between accepting the offer and our retirement date. It was the last two weeks of our employment that we were away. This meant that much of the sorting out and packing up process was completed quite early. My husband had one day back at work to finalise the paperwork and finish packing up. I had two days.
What stands out was walking into the office on the penultimate day. It felt totally surreal. I no longer felt part of the organisation. Perhaps there was also a sense of relief! I had acknowledged early in the year that I was tired and had tried to reduce working hours (to under 40 a week) unsuccessfully. In retrospect, maybe the best thing we had done was to have the two weeks out of the office before our retirement. In that period, I had managed to mentally and emotionally separate myself from my working life. Apart from missing many friends I had made during 19 years with the organisation, leaving the organisation did not feel particularly emotional.