I thought I was worth more than this… But perhaps it is just life? 258



View Profile

You hear the stories about people retiring receiving massive send offs – they get given gold watches, flowers, dinners and even travel vouchers. Their boss or even their work team goes out to lunch to celebrate not only your contribution to the organisation but to celebrate you and the next phase of your life.

Retiring was something I was looking forward to… I had been working as a nurse in this aged care hospital for over 20 years – 20 long (and hard!) years in palliative care. I knew almost every staff member because I was the longest standing staff member. I knew so many previous and current patients as I’d looked after them and their families for so long. Even after many of them had passed away, I still received visits from their families to the hospital just to stop by and simply say hello.

I loved my job and quite frankly, I still do. As a single parent, I did it tough for a long time, but caring for others is what I enjoyed. When my son turned 22, he was offered a job in America and for the last 20 years he has lived there. I’ve been over to visit him several times and he comes home once a year, but without him, my life has been a little empty. Being able to come to work every day gave me a purpose, something to wake up and look forward to each day.

I was sad to be retiring, but I was looking forward to embarking on my next adventure. When I handed in my letter of resignation to my boss, I did so with tears in my eyes. I told her about my plans to move north to the coast, I told her some of the stories from my early days here, as she’d only been working with us for nine years. We smiled, laughed and shared fond memories and she told me I would be dearly missed.

The weekly staff e-newsletter in my final week had a little notice telling everyone I was retiring after 23 long years of service. I had many people congratulate me in the halls on the day it was sent out and I stopped and shared memories with other, older nurses on tea break too. But my final day was not how I imagined.

I arrived at work, and signed on as usual, I did the rounds and said goodbye to each of my patients as I worked. I shared special memories with a few, and had a good laugh with some of my long time friends who I worked with.

But, when the clock ticked over for my last minute ever, that was it, I signed off and after saying a final farewell to management, I left.

Now, I wasn’t expecting any major fanfare or any celebration, but I walked out of that hospital for the first time in 23 years feeling unvalued. I felt like I wasn’t important to the team. After so many years of hard work and what I thought were meaningful friendships, I didn’t feel like it was the momentous occasion that retirement is built up to be.

I would have loved to feel special, to be congratulated or thanked in person, and perhaps the email newsletter is what is done these days – perhaps technology is how we honour these occasions.

I’m not sure why it happened like this, and in truth I’m not too bothered. I live in my beautiful retirement village set on the coastline of New South Wales and I am happy. But, I still wonder, if this has happened to other people too.

So today tell me, what was your retirement like? Did you receive a celebration? Or did you go quietly, much like myself?

Guest Contributor

  1. My last day of work was last Friday because of retrenchment, after 19 years. Although I am 65, I don’t feel ready to retire just yet.

    3 REPLY
    • I too Patricia was retrenched from my last job. This was the job that was going to take me through to retirement. I was in shock and felt useless for some time, but now I love my life and wouldn’t want it any other way. Good luck for the future.

    • Trish. Knowing you this is “retirement” from work not life. You will give it everything. It just won’t be at the office. I still look forward to seeing photos of your exploits.

  2. Make a list of tasks before you go to sleep, so that you may wake up and busy yourself.
    I can’t find enough time in a day!!

  3. Disappointing yes- pretty standard in busy places- now it is all about adjustment to what is..enjoy

  4. I know a few people who have said much the same so I think it must just be the way things are these days.
    A retirement village on the NSW coast sounds lovely, I hope you enjoy it.

  5. As a school principal I had a wonderful last day. The kids had a special assembly to farewell me and I walked through an arch made of 560 kids in the shape of a 60 with lots of high fives. My staff put on a special lunch as well. Then we had a retirement “party” with people from my previous schools as well as colleagues from surrounding schools. We partied until midnight with food, champagne, dancing and speeches. My retirement was memorable and fun. I guess it has a lot to do with where you work….

  6. Personally, I think your treatment on retiring was pretty poor. The least they could have done was a work morning tea & flowers. No wonder you felt letdown.
    You write how the residents & their families valued you. Keep that in your heart.

    3 REPLY
    • Todays management is not the caring type, usually from other areas, and when you leave they simply replace you – very cruel and uncaring – very sad!!

    • This is the way of the world now. But remember you are better than that. Your did your best, and you probably have friends whom would remember you,. so stay close to them. and advance to the next stage of your life with resolve and with a sense of adventure. for there is much to learn and od now.

    • I have been retired for many years and it was different then yes we had the arvo teas and prezzys and kept in touch
      But these days I have heard some really bad things about older people who have retired no one cares about them
      If someone goes collecting for a person who is retiring there told to get back to work
      And do it in there own time
      So now it doesn’t get done and you walk out of the office no matter how many years you have put in with your last pay check

  7. We are just a number on payroll these days! Gone has the day when we all knew each other and valued each other BUT you know just what a BIG difference you made in the lives of some by the way family members still use to call by

    2 REPLY
  8. I think that management and colleagues were pretty selfish not giving you a farewell! It goes to show that we are all only a number. Yes we do get paid for our work but it is still nice to think that on your final day after so many years of service that you would receive at least a kind thank you and goodbye. Enjoy your retirement

    1 REPLY
  9. I do know what you mean it’s takes a long time to a jus but you have to find thing to do out side of the home good luck to you

  10. I had a similar experience when I retired from education – but over the years since there has been a lot of validation and I learned that true validation comes from inside, knowing that you did a good job. Enjoy your lovely retirement spot and know that it is a wonderful new beginning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *