Always nice to get a positive review for one of my books and even better when it comes from another 'ex-pat' Burtonian! Carol post...
Monday, 1 September 2014
I think it was the sight of this on my calendar this morning that started me pondering. You see, today is the first day, for a very long time, that I have not been in gainful employment. I have retired. So the 'then and now' pictures above a month apparently devoid of appointments were more than somewhat appropriate, although September isn't really as devoid of appointments as the calendar appears to show.
The question, for me anyway, is 'How do I feel about this?' and the answer is 'I don't know'. Before I left, the recurring question from my colleagues was "What plans have you got?" and I felt that I was being a complete disappointment by admitting that I didn't have any. However, this isn't simply an outcome of retirement and the consequent loss of marbles - I just have never had any plans, ever.
In my youth (see picture above) I used to envy those who had their lives all mapped out and ready to go. My only hope was for some nice dry work with no heavy lifting, which I eventually managed. Office work seemed to be the thing, but what it was, where and why was not so important. Therefore I moved from Warehouse Packer (dry but involved heavy lifting) to Statistical Clerk (ticked all boxes), Cost Control Clerk (didn't have a clue what I was doing, but it ticked all the boxes and paid well), Production Administration Assistant, HR Manager, Group Personnel and Development Manager, HR Manager (UK) and finally Senior Lecturer. All without a plan of any sort.
So there's nothing new about my planless condition. Somehow, though, I feel as if I'm letting everyone down. It's as if retiring could be forgiven if I had clear ideas about hiking up Kilimanjaro or sailing single-handed across the Atlantic but just stopping work for no good reason seems like the worst sort of back-sliding.
On the other side of the coin, one of the first things to strike me when I woke up this morning was that, for the first time in 42 years, I didn't have a boss. There was no-one to whom I was accountable. My wife might take issue with that statement, as would the cat who definitely thinks that my role in life is to stay stock still and seated, not move a muscle, and then she might, just might, deign to fall asleep on me (this is the cat, not my wife). Nevertheless, it was a heady thought. I'm not only planless, I'm bossless!
I'm entering uncharted waters today. Most people tell me that I'll wonder how I ever found time to go to work. I'm reserving my judgement.