I’ve got more than 4 months to go, but I thought I would share the two lists I’ve started about the things I will and won’t miss about working. So far, I have more on the “won’t miss” list, but I think you will see that they things on the “will miss” list are pretty rich and meaningful:
- Monthly budget meetings / sales forecasts / profit estimates
- Writing performance reviews / leading development plan discussions
- Getting annual performance reviews / development plan discussions
- Meetings where people cover the same info covered in another meeting
- Conference/video meeting where technology that doesn’t work
- Travel freezes when you are in the middle of a project
- Not being able to backfill roles on your team when people leave
- MegaCorp culture where everyone feels they need permission to do anything
- Headcount / corporate layoff planning – (just finished a round of that)
- Early morning or late at night conferences with international subsidiaries
- Catching emails & calls during vacations, days off, or family time
- Drinking more caffeine than I need – to stay away in afternoon
- Going out to lunch with team mates – we do this a lot
- Catching up with people about their weekend / travel plans
- Working with young people joining the company
- Giving presentations to groups that make me feel “important”
- Meeting people with different backgrounds; from around the world
- Tacking vacation days onto International business trips
In some ways, I view the work equation as trying to find a balance between two things that seem to be at odds with each other: [ MONEY + STATUS ] versus [ TIME + INDEPENDENCE ]
Some people find the TIME + INDEPENDENCE in their work – self-employed, working on a true passion, or able to work remotely instead of going to the office everyday. At MegaCorp, my role has none of these right now.
But since we’ve earned a good deal of MONEY and achieved financial independence, I feel like I only have the STATUS aspect of my job to replace. It is a real benefit. I’ve done well in my career and people are often interested in what I do. I enjoy talking about big business, global trips, and marketing razz-ma-tazz. I have a good-sized team that (I think) respects my leadership and that makes me feel important. So that would be a loss.
At the same time, I will continue to be involved in corporate & non-profit board work, where I have “part time” STATUS advising & giving input to the strategic plans of significant organizations. I enjoy that work a great deal because I am retained for my expertise and regularly see the inside of board rooms. Additionally, I also believe I will have achieved a degree of status by saying officially retired while still in my forties (by a few weeks). Isn’t having complete TIME + INDEPENDENCE truly the ultimate luxury, anyway?
The friendships you make at work are the thing that you cannot easily fit into the equation of leaving the workplace. I will need to be better about keeping up with people than I have in the past, or find new social structures to get involved in where I can meet new friends. Money, time, independence and status are all pretty worthless without anyone to share them with. It’s a challenge all of us will face when we make the “leap” – regardless of age when we do it.
What’s on your “Miss” and “Won’t Miss” lists?
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