Perspectives On…Retirement, Part 3: Empty Work Spaces

It is 1:00 pm on Tuesday, December 16th. I have 4 working days left.

I have packed up a few more things from my office. I have deleted REALLY OLD files and saved others on a shared drive. I have taken all my personal items down from the walls. It really feels like someone has passed away and I am cleaning out their belongings.

But it’s me that is moving on and that’s why I feel a little empty. I guess there is a grieving process to go through in retiring from one’s job after 30+ years. I smile as I write this; however, thinking how the freedom I will experience will be a major paradigm shift for me.

I also conducted my final class lectures last week. After inviting the December graduates to stand up and be recognized, I told them about my impending retirement.  My students reacted so wonderfully in both of my classes, with hugs and handshakes.

These are the photos of my almost empty office and my empty classroom. I shall embrace the changes and the empty spaces.

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22 thoughts on “Perspectives On…Retirement, Part 3: Empty Work Spaces

  1. I know how you feel. You’re bringing back memories for me, and I’m thinking of you during your final days before retirement. It will be great once it’s over!

    I left IBM after 34 years at age 56 in 2001, and it was hard. It was really strange cleaning out my office finally, although I had been working at home for about 5 years by then so there wasn’t all that much left since I had brought a lot of it with me at home.

    It took me a while before I got rid of all those boxes, which sat in the garage including after the move from Dallas to Austin. I had tears when I left my office and walked out of the building to my car. So much of my identity for all that time was wrapped up in my job.

    Then I worked another 6 years at Countrywide (now Bank of America) until I was 62 (and qualified for a small vested rights pension there). I went through the whole process again leaving that office and co-workers, and I had even accumulated more stuff to be removed. And I had tears again walking out.

    During those years, I had been leader of several user groups, and I had to tell them I was leaving too since I was moving away. In recognition of all they had learned from me, one of the groups presented me with a special “First Annual Doug Warren Award” plaque which was inscribed “For tireless volunteering, numerous contributions, running multiple local user groups, and for sharing of his vast knowledge”. That was pretty special, and sounds like your classroom experience.

    The transition was much easier than I thought it would be, and I adapted pretty quickly. And now I have time for lots of things (in my leisure) to do and enjoy my life much more than ever. And the recent blogging experience has extended this further.

    Of course, I could probably have continued to work more, but the time was right, the financial situation seemed adequate, I needed to help take care of my aging parents, and spend time with my grandkids. So I did it, and I’m so glad!

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    • Thanks, Doug, for sharing your story. I had my retirement party today at work and it was very “whelming.” What a nice memory for you retiring from TWO jobs! It really is amazing how much our identities are tied into our work. I think I can let go of the City easier since things have been rough for the past few years. Leaving my teaching job even for six months is a whole different story. I’ll be ready to go back to teaching next Fall.

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  2. So many memories of leaving positions, of eliminating positions, and of putting in my final retirement papers. You’ll have to dig around my site for my shreddings. It really was easy and exciting as I packed up. But underneath it all was the anger and the hurt that brought me to retire early. I read you clearly.

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    • Thanks for reading! Even though I retired “ear’y” (not that early after 30 years) I still teach as a part-time lecturer at a university which I dearly love. Public service is too hard when management doesn’t support the ideals.

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      • Part time is good. I began my career in teaching in 1963, and from the “Don’t even mention Catcher in the Rye” in the classroom, I knew I was in for a long haul. Education is part of public service bureaucracy. Same problems, different settings. After “retirement, ” I continued on as adjunct for nine years. It got worse: the pull of the excitement of the classroom, but the feeling of being treated as a “field nigger.” I was never “emeritus,” as I assumed I would be treated. I was just an adjunct. . .

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