It was a normal meeting with my manager a few months later. We talked about the status of the various teams I was leading, the progress of the various activities. As we chatted, he asked a question on a totally different topic. Had I any thoughts about when I might retire. I was nearly 60, but had not given a lot of thought to the topic, apart from realising that many of my work colleagues in the Public Service retired just before their 55th birthday – a result of their Superannuation scheme. This did not apply to me as I was under a different scheme, and besides I had not been working in the Public Service for as long.
My answer was along the lines that I wanted to work as long as I felt I was contributing, learning and enjoying myself. The conversation continued for a few minutes, and I stood up to leave. As I walked out the door, I made a throw-away comment along the lines of “Of course, if there were some redundancy offers, I could consider an earlier retirement”. So here was one u-turn – literally I had turned around as I left is office to make the comment.
Here comes the second U-turn – after saying I intended to continue to work for some time, within two months, I was retired, with a reasonable redundancy payment. My husband, who worked in the same department and had been planning to retire within a few months, was also given a redundancy and we were on our way to a different life.
I have realised that the recognition at the beginning of the year was the turning point. I was feeling the stresses of my job, and it was time to make the change.