It’s often the ice breaker at some gathering with someone you don’t know you ask them or they ask you “What do you do?”
The course director at my counsellor training centre in one jokey moment gave the following advice that once qualified we could easily get rid of people we didn’t wish to converse with by saying “I’m a psychotherapist”. He claimed the vast majority moved on from the conversation within less than five minutes and if they didn’t they were a potential client anyway so worth investing the time talking with them!
Well this suddenly has hit me – given my health situation my employer has offered me a voluntary severance package effective the end of this month. I have a few days in which to say yes to it. It’s a reasonably generous package actually. I’m trying to figure out pension issues but I’m more than likely to say yes and figure that all out later. But from 1st November I’ll have to say when asked “What do you do?” “I’m retired”. Now is staring me in the face there are a bunch of emotions, feelings, thoughts etc. that come to mind.
Was my career a success?
Why does this matter? Personal pride and ego I suppose. Well I’ve worked since 1981 and moved through several companies and sectors all of which seemed happy to have me working for them. I rose to a position with Director somewhere in the title at one point and on a very good salary too. So from that point of view – yes. There were a few times where I really felt my work did have some significant contribution to the company and the wider world. So I have to say it was but I am someone who is inclined to view on the negative side though so I inevitably feel that I should have done more, better, larger etc.
What will I do now?
Well maybe write more blog posts! (Sorry). I’ve been off work a number of months now so I ought to be getting used to this but being sick and not working seems different from being retired – that’s dumb possibly but a mind block I have. One thing I should do is recognise the health issues and take it easy.
What will people think of a 56 year old man who’s retired already?
Why this matters is something I need to question – who cares what others think anyway! I’m worried though I’ll be thought a failure, or a shirker, lazy, or simply someone who wasn’t good enough to be kept on. I suppose that all says far more about how I’m not yet comfortable viewing myself as a retired person.
To update on my health – the symptoms have been largely the same, some subtle changes but via my GP and specialist we’re trying a new drug – the last week hasn’t been too bad so maybe that is having a good effect we’ll see if it continues, I’ve been lulled into false security before with this thing. However when I take the drug it is like I’m on another planet for a while – most odd. Also I’m to have some more tests and a referral to a neurologist in the new year too to review all of my “complex case”.