Sooner or later we’ll all be gone be it retired, fired, quit, laid off, contract ended, downsized, company relocated, or one of several other possibilities. It will either come about for reasons within or beyond our personal control but it will come about as I say inevitably; one day you’re working and the next you’re not.
When it does happen it will be a cause for any number of emotions. You could find yourself feeling jubilant, excited, let down, angry, shocked, satisfied, sad, desperate etc. Even the way you walk out the door for the last time will be handled in any of several ways. You could find yourself having a big party thrown in your honour surrounded by all the co-workers you’ve had over a number of years with your partner invited to work for the big occasion. Equally possible is you could walk out figuring it’s just another day and come to work the next only to find the building entrance locked and the company out of business with a, “Closed: Have a nice day” sign taped to a chained fence.
Ouch! That last scenario is a bit tough to imagine; surely that doesn’t really happen? Oh yes it can and it has. Well hopefully for both you and I it won’t come to that!
Let’s look not at what might happen beyond our control because as it suggests, we have no control over situations dictated by others. Let’s look at things from the viewpoint that we’re going to leave on our own terms. We may work into retirement, quit or have a contract end which we knew would happen when we agreed to the contract duration in the first place.
As far as contract work goes, there are people who take contracts out of necessity because they have been unsuccessful at landing permanent part-time or full-time jobs. Others take contract work as their personal preference; stringing together contract after contract. For these folks, they see a variety of employers and starting over again and again as desirable. For example in an Administrative Support role, they might enjoy parachuting in to cover a maternity leave for a year or less and then just as they get restless and want a change, their contract period is looming and they leave before they become bored and less productive. They move on and now it’s covering for someone off on sick leave and they are welcomed as they take some of the pressure off others doing double duty.
If you’re the kind of person who likes the variety contract work brings, you’re likely okay with the instability of the security contract work has; you trade that off willingly for the stimulation of change. When you walk out the door of a company you’re not as emotionally attached to the desk you worked at, the people you worked alongside; a job is a job and it’s on to the next one.
Turning to look at quitting is a different experience depending on the reasons behind the reason you’re walking away from the work. You might quit for health reasons, a distaste for the work, to avoid being fired if you think that’s coming, or of course for a better job, a move to another city, This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, just some of the reasons you might walk out.
When you do quit, the, “How will I do it?” question arises. Will you just walk out and not tell anyone you’re not returning the next day? Will you march into the Boss and let her know face-to-face that you’re quitting and give her a piece of your mind in the process? Or, will you take her out for lunch and pay for it with some of your lottery winnings? (One can dream can’t one?)
I suppose the question in quitting is whether you seek to keep the relationship with the employer as positive as you can or do you just not care because in your mind you’re never coming back and won’t be affected negatively in the future. By the way, Life has a charming way of bringing many things around full circle so my advice is to always leave on the best terms possible.
Retirement is attractive if you have something to look forward to; some satisfying way to spend your time; for time is what people cite as the reason for going. Time to spend with the grandkids, time to travel, time to relax, time for me, time for us, time…time…time…
Timing your retirement is what it’s all about from an efficiency point of view too. You want to leave before your employer and co-workers resent you just hanging on doing less and less while they pick up the slack more and more. You want that last day to be a good one; whether you want a party or a quiet exit with a simple hug or handshake at the end of the day, you want to walk out with your head high and feeling appreciated for all those years you invested.
Looking at how you and your work part ways now might give you some measure of control about both when and how it will happen. The advantage in thinking ahead gives you the power and comfort of controlling what you can. This of course makes it a positive experience to embrace.