Oct 17, 2017
For the last 30 years I've had the same job, and in that 30 years I've had 3 bosses. I've given everything I had to this job, have stayed loyal and committed through the ups and downs, and I've put up with some things that took some real serious inner strength to endure. I've had a boss throw up on me and I've sacrificed my own needs for those of the job. My annual performance reviews were the highlight, as they were always positive, and made me want to keep going. And yet, when I recently retired, no one even gave me a party or a gold watch, or even said goodbye. It just .. sort of.. ended.
I knew the day was coming, and I even thought I was prepared and looking forward to all the freedom that retirement would give me. But the lack of a goodbye moment, or a celebration.. has left me feeling a little lost, and with a bit of an identity crisis. And so I sit and think.. was it worth it? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Every last bit of it. I've never worked so hard at anything in my life, and wanted so badly to hear, "good job" at the end of a long day. Does it sting a little to have given so much of myself, for 3/5 of my life, and have it just kind of end in a fade rather than a momentous celebration? Maybe. But I do have one thing going for me... those 3 bosses have become really exceptional people, and are carrying on without me because I taught them to. My entire 30 years has been led by that one goal -- to prepare them for my retirement. And if they can carry on independently of me, because they've learned enough from me to do so, then my career with them was a success.
My 3 bosses are now 31, 18 and 17, and I now have an empty nest. I don't get up early to fix breakfast and bear their sleepy, cranky wrath anymore. I don't see them come home at the end of their day and dump bags, coats, shoes and who-knows-what-else all over the floor I just cleaned. I don't cook dinners that they complain about, and I don't fuss with them about it being bedtime anymore. Instead, their empty, clean rooms now have doors always open, with beds that stay made. I do laundry for one, I eat alone, and my house is still and very, very quiet. They grew, they learned, they made good choices, and disappeared little by little, one by one. And one day I was forced to realize it was this way to stay... and my job was done, and my retirement had quietly begun. I have proof that I did a great job, as evidenced by the fact that they don't need me in the same way at all, and can now carry on independently. What an ironic and cruel assignment this was. Love them, give them every bit of you, body and soul, heart and spirit. From the beginning moment you must do everything for them, in every way, every minute of every day. Every day that goes by you will care more, you will be more invested, you will grow so deeply committed and devoted that you can't possibly not think of them with every move you make and every decision you decide. All of this while teaching them gradually to take over and do things for themselves so that they can go forth and not need you.
Think about this next time your mother says, "You should call me more often." She wants to know she did a great job... but not TOO great.