My Biggest Shock Upon Retirement!

Sometimes the journey into retirement just isn’t very joyous, in fact it can be a down right painful journey at times.

Like almost all of us I had many challenges in my early retirement years. I started my retirement from the corporate world at age 54 and like the cartoon above, I didn’t really have any retirement plan to guide me. The first few years were difficult but now after almost twenty years I think I have finally gotten most of it right.

This post is about the biggest shock among the many I encountered.

But first a little lead-in story. I retired rather abruptly at the beginning of this millennium. I had worked for thirty years at the same company but when my division was sold to a Chinese company downsizing quickly began. Since I had my thirty years in for a full retirement benefits, I volunteered to be in the first wave. I was only fifty-four at the time! It ended up that within a year of my termination, 95% of our entire division was forced out. The only thing the Chinese company wanted was intellectual information and a small six person group who had capabilities they didn’t. But I am getting very much off point here. Let’s get back to my biggest shock upon leaving the corporate world.

I abruptly went from a person who led six member team with a million dollar budget solely to a wife who didn’t seem to think I could flush a toilet without messing it up! I might be exaggerating it a bit but that is how it felt to me during those times. I know my wife loves me, but she can be brutal sometimes. My self-worth was in the toilet that I apparently couldn’t flush. There was no longer anyone around to pat me on the back and tell me I was doing such a fantastic job. Complements are just not a primary part of my wife’s persona. 🙂

I tend to take almost everything on a personal level. I think the lack of validation was one of the worst shocks of my life and I have had my share of shocks. It would take a couple of years to get over that feeling and to adjust myself to not having to have others around to pat me on the back once in a while.

What about you? Did you have a shocker to start your retirement years?

One thought on “My Biggest Shock Upon Retirement!

  1. I retired voluntarily at 60. No shocks yet.
    I have a streak of paranoia. This has served me well. Since my late thirties I have been fully aware of the massive age discrimination in employment and the fact that most people do not get to work as long as they thought. This especially applies to the high tech field I worked in. Health, layoffs, company buy outs etc. This caused me to be a significant saver. When the company I worked for got bought out the savings went into hyper drive. I never trusted the new owners. I was proven correct.
    Jumping forward to the last company I worked for. At the end I could see the writing on the wall. They were about to have significant management shake up, a possible buyout and massive issues related to ramping up. Due to my penchant for saving I was able to say I have done this before and I am not doing it again. Goodbye. Since then everything I thought might happen to them has.
    My good fortune has been that I do not miss it at all. I think this is largely because the last company I worked for was, in my opinion, very mismanaged. I have taken great pride in the past in my job and accomplishments. Working for this company continually showed me it just did not matter. Their incompetence would nullify any attempted contributions I could make. This allowed me over time to just tune them out. It was just a paycheck, and they paid well.
    So even though I have had no shocks yet I fully realize there is plenty of time left in which they may occur. Hopefully the manner in which I worked will serve me well. Backup plans on top of backup plans.


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