I’m Engaged to be Retired!

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Can I get a woo hoo?  I’m engaged to be retired! As many of you know, Mr. Groovy and I plan to retire in October. I had no intention of giving notice until we were closer to the finish line, but last week I spilled the beans—and I feel so relieved!

I was toying with the idea of giving the usual two to three weeks’ notice—but honestly, I don’t think it matters one bit. Because regardless of how much notice anyone in my department has given, absolutely nothing changed until after he or she was out the door. The most recent person to resign gave three weeks’ notice and a replacement wasn’t even hired until a month after she left.

But this isn’t about making it easier for my boss or the coworkers I will leave behind—it’s about making it easier for me. You see, in May, my boss decided to completely restructure my department. She had her reasons, but this couldn’t have come at a worse time. We were heading into our busiest season and the transition was not smooth, to say the least. Very little guidance was offered—no checklists, no documentation, and no training. And the real kicker was that my boss was traveling for meetings and was only available sporadically.

Throughout the month of May, I ended each day with 150+ unread emails in my inbox. Every morning scores of fresh emails would arrive. Prioritizing became a joke. Urgent deadlines for multiple projects were all approaching at once. I told my boss several times that I was overwhelmed and that something critical was going to fall through the cracks. But my pleas were answered with nothing more than “I have faith in you” platitudes.

Finally, I asked my boss point blank to reassign some of my responsibilities and she refused. She did offer me the assistance of a newbie employee, though. Which was great—sort of. The newbie employee was a very bright, young lady, but we’re a dysfunctional nonprofit and there’s a huge learning curve involved in understanding how things work (or, more to the point, don’t work). I found myself wasting precious hours answering her questions. Not the kind of “help” I was looking for.

It’s a funny thing how employees at my job are not treated equally. Those who have a strong work ethic are slammed with extra duties. Those with a lousy work ethic are relieved of duties. This has been a running theme throughout the 11 years I’ve been with my organization. The good ones get punished; the bad ones get rewarded. Sigh!

So there I was, stressed to the point that Mr G would find me at my computer with my head in my hands. He’d ask me what was wrong and I’d say, “I don’t know what to do first”. I’d go to bed thinking about agreements that hadn’t been signed, worrying about attendees showing up at an event and the doors being padlocked (my organization sponsors conferences). Finally, I smacked myself in the head and asked, “Why the F has this become my problem? I’m freakin’ leaving in October, and I am NOT spending my remaining days with my stomach in a knot!”

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That’s it! I finally told my boss, “There’s something else I need to discuss with you. But if you’re busy it can wait”. I threw in the last part because her compadres were hounding her to go to lunch. I figured the suspense would get the better of her and I was right. “You can tell me now,” she said sweetly. “My husband and I are thinking about retiring before the end of the year,” I told her. Her reaction was surprising. “I’m happy for you,” she said. “I’m always glad to hear when people are able to do that. Thank you for giving me a heads up. I appreciate it”. I’m not quite sure she was sincere but I’m taking it at face value. Since I’m the one leaving, I don’t really care. Not my problem.

I’m not exactly in the position I was in prior to May, where I assumed I could coast through work until my last day. That would have been ideal. But I’m very happy I spoke up about my dissatisfaction and let the cat out of the bag about retirement. I’ve yet to provide the exact date for my grand finale but I thought I’d do that in stages. I have an annual review in August where I plan to establish my exit date in October.

Since that last heart-to-heart with my boss my work load has not substantially changed and my job is still very stressful. But, I unequivocally communicated that my job demands are unreasonable and, “Oh, by the way—I’m leaving soon”. Now it’s absolutely clear that I’m not the one who’s going to clean up any messes. Do I feel responsible for managing the chaos anymore? No, I absolutely do not. Poof! The anxiety has lifted.

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36 Comments

  1. Congratulations on your soon to be retirement. That is amazing. Your work situation sounded really sucky. It must be such a relief that you will be getting away from all of that now.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Pamela. In may ways it’s truly sucky. In other ways, to some people, it seems incredible that I’m willing to walk away. I’ve got a 35 hour week, no time clock, 4 weeks vacation plus 2 weeks sick time plus around 13 holidays. My company contributes 8% to my retirement plan and I’ve got excellent health coverage with absolutely no out of pocket premiums. It’ easy to see why people get stuck in nonprofit jobs for lifer. But my brain is going numb!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Pamela. In may ways it’s truly sucky. In other ways, to some people, it seems incredible that I’m willing to walk away. I’ve got a 35 hour week, no time clock, 4 weeks vacation plus 2 weeks sick time plus around 13 holidays. My company contributes 8% to my retirement plan and I’ve got excellent health coverage with absolutely no out of pocket premiums. It’ easy to see why people get stuck in nonprofit jobs for lifer. But my brain is going numb!

  2. What you just explained is why top talented people often leave companies by either retiring, switching companies, or starting their own companies.

    Just try to make the best of it until you leave. I feel for you. I’ve been there too.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      In some companies I think it’s the middle managers that ruin it. If the top brass knew how little they do to motivate employees it might be different.

      I’m still getting a bit slammed with work but trying to get in a sick day here and there for mental health. I can get paid out for all my vacation time but sick time is use it or lose it.

      Thanks for your support.

  3. CONGRATS! I’m so sorry about your work situation. You shouldn’t have said “Retired” because now she may think she can slam you with everything because she’s jealous. You should have said “quitting.” Then she’d try to suck up to get you to stay. 🙂

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Maggie! It didn’t occur to me to say “quitting”. I have to think about that one. It would have taken a bit of acting skill to pretend I found an employer who was willing to hold a job open for me for three months. Also, my boss is the type that, if you don’t want her, she would wish she had beaten you to it by saying she didn’t want you, first. She likes to think she has the upper hand. But I’m glad to report that in the last week or two I’ve gotten much better at caring less and keeping the stress at bay.

  4. I also work at a place (in government) where those who are hard-worker are giving more work. There isn’t much incentive regarding bonus or pay since you get paid based on seniority. And there isn’t much consequences for not getting your work done. I can understand how it can be frustrating. Congrats on the retirement in the fall!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks for your kind thoughts, Andrew. I’d say my organization is half a step up from government. FYI, the main reason we left NY when we did was that Mr. Groovy was coming up on 20 years at his government job. He knew if he didn’t get out then, he’d never get out. I hope you’re able to deal with your frustrations better than I. If I were planning to stay in the work force I’d be finding another job, like yesterday.

  5. Way to go! It must feel great to have that off your chest, and maybe it gives you a bit more leeway to push back on unreasonable expectations (or just to shrug them off since you’ll be out of there shortly, whichever is easier!)

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks for cheering me on, Matt! I think I’m going to become an expert at the shrug technique since it may be my best self defense.

  6. Congrats. It is always a relief to have retirement plans out in the open. They get to be more fun with each retirement too. Your comment about work load and competence reminded me of my first engineering career. I had a similar observation. Those that can feign ignorance, irresponsibility or stupidity get to go home on time. I was trying to be kind and tried really hard to believe that they were really smart and capable. I usually failed at being kind after being the one working extra hours to put out fires all of the time.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Tommy. Occasionally I have worked an extra hour here and there just to manage my own work flow more comfortably. But I refuse to do that now, for a nonsensical reason. In general, there has been very little upside for anyone in my organization working longer hours. Few promotions are given, particularly in my department. And the pay hikes that go along with the promotions are nowhere near what a person would get if he or she switched jobs.

  7. It is so great to be able to lay the burden where it belongs. I’m sorry that your boss has not been responsive to your being inundated. That’s poor leadership and an excellent way to chase off wonderful employees. You are doing what is possible and being asked to go beyond. It’s not ok. I’m glad you’ll be free soon.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, ZJ. It’s totally poor leadership. Her usual MO after someone leaves is to throw that person under the bus and blame him for things she “didn’t know” were happening. If you’re the manager, WHY don’t you know?

  8. Congrats, Mrs. G! It would be nice if your boss took this as a wake-up call that she should start balancing out some workload, but it doesn’t sound like she will. Even if nothing changes substantially, mentally that’s a huge shift. “Not your circus, not your monkeys,” as they say.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      No, I’m afraid there still won’t be much balance. But, you get it – the mental shift IS huge! “Not your circus, not your monkeys” – I’ve actually never heard that before. You know I’m going to steal it for a post one day. Thanks for your good wishes, Gary.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Hey Dannica – Thanks for the good wishes! (I replied to your comment a few weeks ago but it didn’t post for some reason).

  9. Great reminder of how being firmly in charge of your own life gives you options/choices and ultimately, control. Good stuff, my friend!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, James. When you’re surrounded by dysfunction sometimes it’s hard to see the options. But I’m glad I took a stand.

  10. Yay! Good for you for speaking up. Hopefully your workload goes down, but I kind of doubt they’ll have the foresight to make a change until you’re actually gone. But what a relief to know that you’ve done your part by making your manager aware so she isn’t surprised in the coming months.

    Congrats on your “engagement” 🙂

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks for the good wishes, Kate. Do you work at my organization? You are spot on! Nothing will be change until I’m gone. But yes, I’ve done my part and I’m continuing to be conscientious, for me, because I like to do a good job.

  11. Congrats on announcing! Hopefully this will lead to a transition plan of bringing someone in soon to get them up to speed and help take some of the pressure off you. And if not, you get to get rid of it in a few months!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Thias! No, I don’t expect much of a transition plan. That would be too sensible. But you’re right, I’ll be done with it in a few months.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thank, Brian. I’m actually getting emails for projects happening in 2017 and 2018! The way conferences are divided by series and assigned to staff, my name is attached to them. If my boss were to reassign them she’d need to let the others in on my departure. And she won’t want to do that until the last minute. But at least very little work needs to be done with those now.

  12. Congrats, that’s awesome! I can understand the hecticness of work at times, and when I was at my last company and had made the decision to move on, like you I felt an immediate sense of relief. I look forward to reading when the transition is closer and you actually leave. Good job taking control and putting yourself first!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Mr. SSC. You’re exactly right about the relief being immediate. And I almost wimped out because during that talk, my boss did something she’s very good at – that is, turning issues back on a person. She tried to make it seem like I was the one in the wrong. At the end I was thinking “Oh what’s the point?” But I sucked it up before she had an opportunity to end the conversation and run off to lunch.

  13. Good for you, Mrs G! Happy that you’ve at least eliminated the stress of “hiding it”. Now, you have to decide if you’re going to tell them about the blog before you go!! Congrats, and don’t let the BS get you down – you only have 3 months to go!!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Hah! Yes, I’m telling them about the blog. Just like we’re telling Mr G’s broke cousin about it – never. Three months right! Was it more like 5 when we spoke with you, Fritz? It will be here before we know it. Today we went to get Mr G’s retirement forms notarized before putting them in the mail tomorrow.
      (P.S. thanks for your support!)