A year ago at this time…
My husband and I had come back from our first winter in Mexico. I was tanned and rested. It took several months to work on those dark under eye circles that give one’s state of sleep or lack thereof away. I was not sure what I was going to be doing with my time back home in rural up state New York.
One of my very close friends reached out to me and asked me if I’d be interested in coming back to my former company part time. A lot had happened during the 5 months I was gone and the company was going through a rough patch. The very job that I had been counting the days until retirement came, wanted me to consider coming back. Wow! Never thought about that, but me being a big believer in “Everything happens for a reason” thought about that one more go around and said sure.
The deal was to work from the city 3x per week and be on my laptop the other 2. Now, in my mind and definition of “part time”, this was more full time, but okay. I was game. And so I returned to the workforce for 7 months. I had never even considered this, but when opportunity knocks, I’m a good listener. Maybe, this was my chance to do it over again, segue into retirement slowly, rather than cold turkey. I had given this early retirement a lot of thought but, perhaps, I had expected too much of myself, to adapt to this new phase of life so quickly. Maybe, doing it like a 2 step program might be better for someone who had worked all their life.
One slight monkey wrench. I now lived 105 miles north of the city, (city girl meets Green Acres) so had to take Amtrak in to work. My former company and new boss couldn’t have been nicer and offered to put me up in the corporate apt for the nights I was in the city. Everything that could have been an obstacle was taken away, so off I went back into the work world as a freelancer. Work Redux! I also did feel badly that my husband, who had been waiting patiently for me to join him in retirement, had to wait a bit longer. What was 7 months in the span of a lifetime? Not much. After all, he wanted what was best for me and he could see I wasn’t happy.
Going back to a job at a company I worked at for 18 1/2 years comes with pluses and minuses. Had I forgotten the people who annoyed me, the back stabbing, the political infighting, jockeying for position, the fact that this was a business rapidly changing and redefining itself? Financial publishing, need I say more? Of course, just like anything else in life, there were people I was happy to see, office friends, women you chatted with in the bathroom. The company had made a major move uptown to the heart of midtown, and now boasted beautiful high tech offices, the kind cool ad agencies have or tech companies. My one more round gave me the opportunity to experience this.
What would I wear? I had given much of my work clothes to charity 5 months before never expecting to need them again. Luckily, we were going into summer so a few skirts and blouses could work and shopping was always a fallback if I absolutely needed to spice it up.
The corporate apt had 2 bedrooms so I couldn’t count on having it all to myself. Me, a woman in the sixth decade of her life sharing a flat with a 20 something male journalist.Think Mrs. Robinson, but in reality just a wee bit awkward and contrived. The decor was circa 1970’s; hey it was a bed to lay my head down at night, not somewhere I would want to spend time. What happened to the image of “The Corporate Apt” in the movies? This wasn’t it! It was free though, so beggars can’t be choosy!
It took me a couple months to get back in the groove. Things change quickly in business. Lingo that I hadn’t used or metrics that I had forgotten about as I played all winter, came slowly back to me. It was good for my brain to have to think fast on my feet again, to complete proposals, to achieve targets. Did I like this because I wasn’t staff anymore and could march to the beat of my own drum? Being a freelancer, you’re not really part of the political shenanigans that go on and you know you’re leaving within a certain period of time. All good. I could look at my former colleagues and say I’m outta here in 7 months no matter what.
I completed my stint, made some money, and had a second chance to evaluate my decision. I’m glad I did it and it served me well, mentally and physically. Not many people get this opportunity to go back. I think it saved me from the therapist’s office and gave me that confirmation I was looking for in the first retirement phase. The extra money will pay for a trip to Italy in May and a spa vacation in Sonoma in Oct.
So in the words of an old Frank Sinatra song, “I Did It My Way”,
. Always maintain an open mind. Listen to offers that people direct your way. Rigidity is bad for the soul and might cause you to miss out on an opportunity.
. Do what feels right and always listen to that little inner voice within your head! She knows you better than anyone else.
Enjoy the ride!
xox Barclay and Joy