I can’t begin to describe the almost dreamlike surrealness that comes with walking into a beautifully decorated restaurant and reading a BIG banner and cake that say “Congratulations on your Retirement!” YOUR retirement. This is IT. If you aren’t 1000% sure you are ready for early retirement, seeing the BIG cake at the YOUR farewell party certainly will seal the deal.
As I wrote about on Monday, my MegaCorp boss insisted on this big “to-do” to send me off into the sweet corporate good-night. It was a terrifically well-provisioned affair in the private room of a local restaurant with a buffet of hor d’oeuvres, deliciously rich chocolate cake, plentiful drinks, and a projector & screen set up for a little “show time”. While I was a bit hesitant about the prospect of a farewell party, it was absolutely terrific.
Given common connotations of retirement life, it does feel a bit like attending your own funeral. You are leaving the game and the humor flows from it. Folks from our Corporate Marketing team (old & new) took turns presenting my best of times (and worst of times) at MegaCorp in the most embarrassing way they could muster ;-). It was all delivered with a great deal of graciousness, charm, and appreciation. The kind words were really appreciated and will be remembered.
With respect to retiring early (@ 49 years old, heading toward 50), people continue to be quite surprised and VERY supportive. The whole party had a great vibe, some really thoughtful gifts (including another bottle of The Macallan 18!) and plenty of laughs. I stayed away from drinking much alcohol early on – so I could lucidly take it all in – but, before long I was doing my best Don Draper with an old-fashioned in hand.
The good company was joined with a handful of great friends and colleagues from the other MegaCorps I have worked for (over nearly 27 years) who also joined in the fun. It meant a lot to share the moment with people I have known over the course of several decades and drink in some auld lang syne.
Experts say that ceremonies play a powerful role in our lives in announcing and transitioning change. They play a critical role in bridging the past with the future, and facilitating our individual adoption of a new stage of life. I’m a pretty sentimental person at heart and this early retirement farewell party was exactly what I needed – it helps me move forward into the great unknown, while reminding me of the real connections I’ve made throughout my time at MegaCorp.
Image Credit: MrFireStation.com