Tuesday, June 15, 2021

How do I feel now?

Many people have asked me how I am enjoying retirement; this week one of my sisters asked me how I feel about the events that led up to my retirement. "... Are you still feeling the after effects of that, or have they completely subsided?" Interesting question. 

I feel - not exactly angry - the anger has subsided. I feel disgusted because not only have I been mistreated, but my entire team has been. They were upset and angry at the way I had been treated, and also because I was leaving - they were already being exposed to Anna's vile nature while I was there, being blamed publicly for things no one should have been blamed for; software bugs are a part of the development process and any that escape detection are an opportunity to improve the process not blame individuals. I was fighting back and in some cases deflecting that blame while keeping our team moving forward in our mission to ensure our customer's had the best possible experience. I firmly believe that a manager's job is to ensure their team is happy and productive even if this means acting as a shield, though it should not come to this unless there is a toxic environment. One of my favorite quotes on leadership, and one I tried to live by as a manager:

"Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge." - Simon Sinek 

Already two members of our small team have left Amazon, myself and one of my direct reports; I would not be surprised if others follow - so it demonstrates a stupidity at all levels; customer obsession has got to start with treating your staff well, they are ultimately who will take care of your customers' satisfaction.
" ...my philosophy has always been, if you can put staff first, your customer second and shareholders third, effectively, in the end, the shareholders do well, the customers do better and your staff are happy." - Richard Branson
From my team's point of view, they can only benefit from taking charge of their own destiny and making the change too as this article confirms. 

That was the long answer, the short answer is I am glad to be out of it, and yes, I am still processing it.

Of course, this is only week three of my retirement so early days yet. I still feel like it is temporary, like a vacation it will end soon and all will return to normal and I will return to work. I guess eventually this will become the new normal but in the meantime I am enjoying the novelty while at the same time having to work on some adjustments.

I have yet to stop checking my phone every 5 minutes to see if there is email or chat contacts from work looking for something. I find myself staring at my phone wondering what it was I was about to do, then realizing work contacts are cut, in fact there is no 'work' any more. One of the last tasks I had on my last day was to remove the two work chat client apps and the email and calendar apps from my phone. 

On the plus side I have stopped working all night; I used to test software all night long in my sleep and wake up regularly throughout the night, stressing over some dreamt up bug or upcoming meeting or unrealistic deadline. That no longer happens. Naturally, as a result I am getting a much better sleep and waking much less stressed. As predicted in a previous blog, I am getting up later in the morning. My usually working schedule was to get up between 2.15 and 2.30 a.m., workout, shower and be at my desk starting the working day at 4.30 a.m. Now my waking time is between 4.30 and 5 a.m. If I do wake at 2.15 I turn over and go back to sleep. I still workout as soon as I get up, but the stress is gone, or almost gone. 

I do still stress about my team and what they are going through, knowing that they are still being harassed and blamed unfairly; my husband keeps pointing out, I could not have prevented it (I tried) and they are all adults, but I still feel a little guilty that I couldn't prevent it and I am not there still fighting for decent treatment not to mention the appreciation they deserve. 

I am currently attending twice weekly physical therapy sessions to correct a sprained rotator cuff which is a result of months of stress leading up to my retirement; apparently I had tensed up my shoulders and upper back for a little too long and now have to retrain muscles and tendons to return to a more normal posture. This might have been avoided if only the pandemic had not made my regular chair massage impossible. Luckily Shelly will soon be back on the road with her trusty chair. I highly recommend you call Shelly if you want a mobile massage therapist to come to your home or business - Austin TX and surrounding areas only, though, if you are prepared to pay for her travel she might consider going further afield!

Things that used to be major problems have suddenly become unimportant, for instance, making appointments for physical therapy for my injured shoulder, what time suits? whenever! no longer does this have to be carefully planned around meetings and when I can spare the time. I never used to go out in the evenings during the week because I worried I might not be up on time the next morning. Grocery shopping on a Wednesday morning is almost enjoyable! Spur of the moment outings are possible and fun.

The first day of my retirement I signed up for Masterclass.com and I have already completed 4 full courses in creative writing. I am getting ready to write my second book, my first novel (my first book was a memoire - actually it was a therapy but it is easier to refer to it as a memoire). It may never materialize into anything, but I am going to enjoy trying.

On the down side, I am finding it difficult to keep track of what day it is and I notice that I am not nearly so precise about keeping on top of my calendar, something else I need to work on as I get used to using Google calendar instead of my work one and adjusting to one or two appointments per week (less as my shoulder heals) from 4 or more meetings per day.

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