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Old 01-30-2015, 05:13 PM
 
40 posts, read 42,771 times
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Matisse,
Yes, I have seen employees who get fired (or are forced to quit), but somehow I didn't imagine retiring would be so similar. It's a quiet and lonely walk to the car that very last time.
Momzdrm, I am glad you joined the discussion. Part of the reason I am writing in so much detail here is that I feel like there are probably folks reading this who might never respond but who probably need to hear these things.
Momzdrm, I would highly recommend that you read the book I mentioned _A Grief Observed_ by C.S. Lewis, as you work through the trauma and shock of this dramatic change. My favorite quote about literature is by Lewis: "We read to know that we are not alone." It can be cathartic to read another's articulation of acute grief and understand how similar we all are in our frail humanity. There is also a book by Howard Shank, _Managing Retirement_, that treats coping with the losses associated with retirement. I think it is especially beneficial for people who enjoyed their jobs and gained satisfaction from their work.
Momzdrm, I wish you quick healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and I wish you a healthy and joyful retirement. I hope to stay in touch.
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Old 01-30-2015, 06:01 PM
 
2,628 posts, read 4,960,241 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curmudgette View Post
I'm in the process of retiring after *extreme* burnout. (I've been reading the "I'm burned out" thread here, and it deeply pains me to see their suffering -- I identify much too strongly with it.)

In my case, it's teacher burnout -- very common in the profession. I took the lowest pension at the first moment I was eligible because I genuinely could not last one day longer. And it's definitely not something a break would have cured -- I am just done.

I am reading a book that advises retirees to productive, be useful, and other nice things. However, in my case, I have *no* desire whatsoever to be productive or useful, at least for quite some time. My profession consisted of being conspicuously useful every day, and now I just want a really long break! I feel like I need a long time where I can do nothing productive/useful at all (unless I feel like it) and just chill for a while.

Did anyone else feel this way?
Also, anyone who retired after being burned out -- how long does this feeling last? How long does it take to recover from burnout once you are no longer at the job?

Right now I just want to spend my days useless and unproductive. The most exciting thing I did today was to photograph a green anole lizard as he changed from green to brown, and I got tremendous joy from that.

Is it okay to be useless for a while?
I just retired this past November from working 41 1/2 years at my job. I tend to be a perfectionist and much of the stress of my job was my own doing. For the first month, I didn't do much at all and took lots of naps. Since then I have been busy getting my yard in shape (south Florida) and preparing to put my house on the market. I want to move north, to a 4 season climate.

I've found that what I am doing in my yard....pulling up seedlings, invasives, etc., is a good form of mindless therapy for me. I'm thinking less and less about work and looking towards the future. I go to the library to get books every week or so. I can stay up as late as I want, no more alarm clocks, no more long, harrowing commutes - all good! Each day I am smiling more and I know that I feel soooo much more relaxed.

I have two dogs who keep me busy. At this time, I don't have any volunteering plans for the near future, although this will probably change after I move.

I wish you much happiness, and please remember, now your time is all yours, to do anything or nothing.
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Old 01-30-2015, 07:35 PM
 
40 posts, read 42,771 times
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What a lovely post, popcorn!
Thank you for writing this. My favorite line is "Each day I am smiling more" -- I find that, as well, and I think it will be happening more and more.
Now just sitting outside and watching the wind is such a pleasure.At some point, I'll get past this current laziness and start doing things like you.
I wish you a journey filled with smiles, beautiful gardens, and delightful friendships with the canine persuasion.
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:01 PM
 
526 posts, read 510,504 times
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The year I retired I made it quite clear to my colleagues that I wanted no party or gifts. Just the fact that I was getting out, finally, made me happy. I didn't need a party to make me happy. I didn't even attend the end term party and it would have been free for me but the thought of spending another second on a school related activity made me sick.
The gifts I collected along the way included genuine love and understanding of the subject I taught, from my students. I had a great time with the kids and changed many lives. The administration left much to be desired and that is what really caused me to leave. The year I retired, over a thousand teachers retired in my city. An overwhelming majority of them had numerous complaints about the administrations in their schools.
The last day of school that year, I RAN out of the building without looking back. I keep in touch with no one even though I spoke to everyone while I was working. I was so done it wasn't funny.
Don't worry, you will be ok. It takes time to "come down" off such a long career (exactly the length of mine). You will be just fine!
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,765,919 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
The year I retired I made it quite clear to my colleagues that I wanted no party or gifts. Just the fact that I was getting out, finally, made me happy. I didn't need a party to make me happy. I didn't even attend the end term party and it would have been free for me but the thought of spending another second on a school related activity made me sick.
The gifts I collected along the way included genuine love and understanding of the subject I taught, from my students. I had a great time with the kids and changed many lives. The administration left much to be desired and that is what really caused me to leave. The year I retired, over a thousand teachers retired in my city. An overwhelming majority of them had numerous complaints about the administrations in their schools.
The last day of school that year, I RAN out of the building without looking back. I keep in touch with no one even though I spoke to everyone while I was working. I was so done it wasn't funny.
Don't worry, you will be ok. It takes time to "come down" off such a long career (exactly the length of mine). You will be just fine!
Yes, it is clear that you were "so done it wasn't funny"! I understand you were disgusted at the end and you had deep negative feelings. However I am curious about your not keeping in touch with anyone. Out of all your colleagues, there weren't one or two whom you considered friends and allies, with whom you had been "in the trenches" together for many years and with whom you had therefore bonded?
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Old 01-31-2015, 04:07 AM
 
526 posts, read 510,504 times
Reputation: 493
That's an interesting question. I never said I was "burned out". I loved every second of being with the kids and truly delighted in my job until the mayor of our city totally destroyed education in this city. I will answer your question later on this evening. Right now, I am going to enjoy one of those 'retired people things' so I don't have the time to devote to my explanation.
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Old 01-31-2015, 05:49 AM
 
10,391 posts, read 9,405,924 times
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Since I planned for many years for my retirement, one of the rewards was just 'knowing' it was out there: the light at the end of the tunnel. Once I finally walked out the door for the last time, I was completely stress-free.

I would suppose the only lingering emotions were accepting that I was 'not' on vacation, and was now on a perpetual vacation. Yay!!!!
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Old 01-31-2015, 06:47 PM
 
526 posts, read 510,504 times
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A huge mistake made in this city was putting the budgets of the schools in the hands of the individual principals. When this happened, city-wide there was a push to get experienced teachers to leave the system so that their salaries could be used to hire two new teachers in their place. Not only were these teachers cheaper to have on the payroll but they were also on probation and therefore could be told to do almost anything, legal or not. My former principal (married and a father of two) was able to 'enjoy' an affair with one such young lady he hired. The younger teachers are not only unaware of their rights, they are not willing to stand up for them because they want their jobs.
Over the course of the past five years, almost all of the experienced teachers have been forced out of most of the city's schools. This is achieved by loading a teacher's program with the worst classes on the grade, mixing grades in a program, scheduling a teacher for a dozen or more classrooms, and other awful things such as hassling teachers by constantly observing them and giving them failing observations after they had received hundreds of satisfactory grades on their observations. In my last year I had five different classes on three different grades and 15 different classrooms. Even if I had a double period with the same class, I was scheduled to run from one end of the building on the first floor to the opposite end of the building on the third floor. This was blatantly illegal and even though I grieved it, by the time my case was "heard" the year was over. (Many union reps are 'in bed' with the principals in order to protect their own careers). This was also part of a political strategy by the mayor to destroy seniority for teachers in the school system.
Over the course of the past five years or so, my entire staff went from experienced teachers to new teachers who were decades younger than I and although some of them were very nice, I have no wish or desire to pursue a friendship with youngsters who are planning weddings or just beginning to have babies. Most of the experienced teachers have retired and moved to the far corners of the world or they have died (some from the aggravation they suffered in this pit of a school). By the time I left, there were virtually no people left who I even had the slightest intention of staying in touch with. Also, I never mixed my professional life and my private life. That is not a good idea. There is a famous expression about keeping the place you eat sacred from the place where other functions are performed. I follow that rule.
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Old 01-31-2015, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Atlanta suburbs
5 posts, read 4,831 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curmudgette View Post

I also wonder what's going to happen to all the weird specialized knowledge I have in my brain. Does it all just fall out? Do you guys, especially you guys in IT and other specialized fields, think about that? Where does your knowledge go? Maybe it just falls out with my hair.
An interesting question. My specialty in IT was data, analytics, etc. and application of leading technologies in that area, so it was fairly deep and specialized knowledge. I would say that after two years, probably at least one third of it has faded away. If I hear or read something in the news that was related to my field and expertise, I struggle a bit to remember certain details that would have been instantly accessible two years ago.

But I am not concerned about this at all. I think our brains "page out" non-used information to some sort of long-term storage area after a few months, and then eventually completely delete it. In turn, newer/fresher information from our current life take over those brain "spaces". For example, in my case I've learned even more about personal finance and portfolio management, taxes, etc. Or have learned new home DIY skills that I didn't possess before. Or I have spend a lot of time studying ancient history since I retired. So new knowledge has in essence overlaid the old.

The only concern I could have had over this "lost information" would have been if I intended to return to my field, even say part-time as a consultant. Since I have no desire or intention to do so, loss of my specialized knowledge does not concern me.
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Old 02-01-2015, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,960 posts, read 14,442,747 times
Reputation: 30947
Quote:
Originally Posted by BayAreaHillbilly View Post
Essentially, work life has become rubbish for many in the developed countries, most especially the Anglo Saxon ones. The approach to dealing with globalization has been to try and game it for the benefit of shareholders meanwhile for the average middle income person in mid management and below, it's work harder, the beatings will continue until performance improves. Globalization has been a crock of ____ for most workers. Sadly, this mentality has even made it a bit into the public sector as we see from some of the comments here - in that case it is more around seeming to add more value for the taxpayers, which on its face is a great idea but given the horrible tendencies of current management approaches, it is a nightmare for those involved.
I worked in a tax supported quasi-governmental org. Our mission was often to save tax money, but at least we didn't have to worry about achieving higher profits. But every time the director changed, there were major staff changes--often people we had been relying on for assistance and insight--and long standing rules of business changed. I don't like revisiting this, so I'm not writing more. But sometimes rule changes made my job harder. They rarely made it easier.

And there is the daily grind of working with the general public. Most people are perfectly nice, but others are difficult. And I think the difficulties have a cumulative effect on the attitude of people who have to continually deal with them. I do think that teachers burn out fast because of the constantly shifting demands, and because so many parents do not view teachers with trust or respect. So, I think I had it easier than teachers often have it.

DH worked for a large corporation, and he was literally overburdened with duties especially during the last years of his working career. He was expected to work a 60 hours week, and raises became scarcer and less generous. The company awarded "bonuses" which are nice, but don't add to the upward movement of your salary.

But as retirement draws near, and we do not expect to achieve higher status, and we realize that we don't have a high stake in outcomes, I think our attitudes change toward our jobs. We may not become indifferent, but we certainly don't care as much. And in that last year, we know that any reviews we may get are not meaningful. So, we don't have as much emotional capital invested in doing our job. I know I had to flog myself forward in the last few months. And once they know you intend to retire, your last review will not be that wonderful, in order to justify not giving you a good raise.

Once you are free at last, I think you tend to go over and over things that bothered you in your career. You revisit your own mistakes, and the injustices you experienced. I finally have told myself that I am not revisiting painful things like that. I don't want them in my head. I worked hard for my pension and SS, and I intend to go forward with positive thoughts.
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