A terrific thing happened at work yesterday. One of our very capable managers came in my office and said, “I’m retiring!”
It was the first time in my 27 year career that anyone on my team had retired (that will tell you about culture of the MegaCorp’s I have worked for). I was SO excited for him. He’s about 7 years older than I am, with grown kids (and grandkids), and ready to enjoy life on his terms. Retirement plans were something we had discussed together a few times, but always in the abstract – like “Someday I’m going to …”.
But now he is off for real. His last day at MegaCorp will be the end of the month (next Friday) and then he and his wife are heading to warmer temps and sunshine in Florida, where they bought a beach place a few years ago. They’ve been going to the same area for 20+ years and his wife’s sister lives just down the beach from where they are at.
I didn’t talk specifics about my plans, but mentioned that “I wasn’t that far behind him”. I said my plan was to make an early exit sometime in 2016. I wanted to keep the focus on his excitement and his plan, since this is his moment to shine after a long career!
A couple things we discussed I found interesting …
- He originally thought about leaving last summer. He found some reasons to stay plugged in over the last 6 months since he wasn’t in a hurry. Eventually he was close enough to the end of the year that he wanted to make sure he locked down his bonus by staying through 12/31.
- Like me, he felt pangs of guilt as the team made plans for upcoming projects. He was being asked to lead projects that involved future travel and leadership that he knew he wouldn’t be here for. Eventually, he said he felt like he had to tell “the truth” and give his notice, even though he knew he didn’t owe the company anymore than it owed him.
- He’s made a lot of fun plans for retirement, but mostly just wants to goof-off and enjoy himself. He’s joined the board of his condominium association, but it didn’t sound like he is looking for a part time gig or anything else.
- He’s in great shape and runs every morning. He’s looking forward to running on the beach in Florida. We talked about the slate of musicians we grew up with that had recently passed away – Bowie, Cole & Frey. We all have to be mindful of how many good years we have left in us.
The BIG NEWS for me was revealed as we were talking. I told him before he announces his last day, he needed to think about how our 2015 annual bonus accrues. The copy of MegaCorp’s policy on this that I had is written in thick legalese. My understanding having talked to a couple people in the last year was that you had to still be employed on 3/15/16 in a “must be present to win” scheme or you forfeited your bonus. Some companies have these horrible clauses.
My soon-to-be-retired friend pointed me to a different MegaCorp document that was quite CLEAR that this was NOT the case – to my great surprise. It stated that as long as you worked through 12/31/15 you had FULLY accrued your bonus.
BINGO for him, and BINGO for me!
This just cut a full MONTH off of my plan to give notice and probably a month off my planned retirement date. As happy as I was for him, I was positively elated at the thought that I could now make an smooth MegaCorp exit, give my boss plenty of notice (45 days planned), and not worry about anything going wrong that might compromise my bonus payment.
In fact, I immediately scheduled a meeting with my boss for Tuesday, 2/9/16 to officially give notice. (I had wanted to give notice over the last few weeks but many people talked me out of it based on my understanding of the bonus situation).
So it has been a fun 24 hours wishing my friend well and getting SO much closer to the end-game for my own departure. I’m looking forward to hearing more about his experience as his last few days wind down!
Image Credit: Pixabay