Saturday, April 23, 2022

Eleven months later

I find it hard to believe that I have now been retired for eleven months. I keep waiting for it to feel normal, for that Monday morning feeling to stop appearing and for the TGIF feeling to occur every day. It still has not happened.

Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying being retired. I am loving being removed from the toxic politics that is part of every large, and some small, corporations. The hypocrisy of lip service to valuing employees while never demonstrating that care when the need arises. But, I wonder would I have settled into retirement more easily had it been my choice to do so? Of course, it was my choice to retire but only because that was the lesser of two evils.

As I saw it, my situation was very much like walking the plank, stay and suffer multiple stab wounds with a long sword or step off into the unknown. Well, not entirely unknown. I knew that my salary would cease to arrive every month and my health care would be reduced to what the US considers sufficient for old people, don't want to waste too much money on them. I gave myself four months to get used to the idea before I finally departed Amazon, without a ripple and without an exit interview—that is something I am still angry about. The only good wishes were from my direct reports who did make a huge fuss over me and did express deep regret at my departure. In fact, almost all of them have since left that group themselves. During those last four months I trained my senior engineer to take over from me and I planned how I would fill the time once my gainful employment was no longer. 

I have always had a number of hobbies, and we had recently moved to the lake so fishing and boating had been added to that list. I knew that I would not get bored, but I was not so sure about being challenged. That is what appealed to me so much about my work. Admittedly, my writing does challenge me though not in the same way. My work presented a constant need to learn; technology changes and Amazon is quick to adopt the latest and greatest. Writing requires discipline. Fortunately I don't write to find myself on the best seller list. I write for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I can't not write. And of course, I do have my retirement obsession, Masterclass.

On a good day, and to be fair most days are good, I will tell you I am no longer bitter about how I was treated. My one brush with depression was a very long time ago; fueled by a broken marriage, menopause and a car accident that permanently damaged a number of vertebrae in my neck. Since then I rarely have a bad day but on occasion I will admit that I am still bitter about it. Bitter and angry that I was treated so very badly. (Yes, I did blog about it here.) Frustrated because the recourse I thought existed to protect me, was a lie. Amazon didn't value me and didn't care if I stayed or left. By the time I did leave I think they were very glad to be rid of that squeaky wheel. No grease was forthcoming.

Whatever the reason, on Sunday evening I still find myself getting organized for the coming week. But Monday is no different to Sunday now. I also still get that feeling of relief on Friday morning in anticipation of the coming weekend, again no different to any other day in reality. I wonder if it is that way for every retiree? perhaps it just takes time to adjust no matter how much you planned, no matter whether retirement was a choice or was forced upon you. After all, forced retirement was ended in 1986; before that the only people who retired by choice were those who had the means to retire early. Even then, it wasn't unexpected—there was no plank walking to be done.

So I will continue to try to let go of my bitterness and continue to enjoy my retirement for as long as the Universe allows.

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