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EndNotes

Retirement: Last day at work

My husband retired yesterday.  He is one of 10,000 baby boomers who retire each day in our country. He had 10 people who reported to him and they loved him. At lunch yesterday, a few of the guys started saying numbers “six,” “three.” When my husband asked what they were talking about, one answered:  “We are betting how many months until you get bored and want to find another job.”                                                                                  

What they have been told, but may not believe: it is not the work my husband will miss, but the incredible friendships. The workplace becomes our daytime home and often colleagues feel like members of our extended family. These people work together, but also offer each other comfort, support, laughter and kindness when tragedy or unexpected life events occur. Tasks get done and the list continues, but what people remember most are the relationships. My husband wrote in his final email:

“…the people you lead give you the honor of being their leader.  I was given that honor by a great group of people.  We have worked closely; we sometimes argued, but in the end we were always striving to have fun while we work…Thank you for being candid with me.  Thank you for telling me when you disagree and working to find a better way.  Thank you for making me proud of our work.  Thank you for making me laugh.  I will remember you always…”

My husband turned in his “company car” and waited for me to pick him up. He was joined by ten people who hugged him, joked with him and carried his belongings. They slipped a silly photo in among his things. They confessed a few stories, “Now that you are no longer our supervisor…” They told him nothing he didn’t already know. They all laughed. As my husband climbed into the car, he was given the best send-off of all: “Remember, we are meeting on Saturday in a few weeks. Beer and chicken wings!”

The job is over, but the friendships - the best retirement gift of all - continue.

(S-R archive photo)


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About this blog

Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

Ask a question: Catherine welcomes questions about aging issues and grief. Email her at endnotescolumn@gmail.com.

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