Wednesday, October 01, 2008

burn the boats


I have been outed. My colleagues now know -- I am retiring.


Even though I told my boss last week that I would retire during the coming year, I did not tell him that I was tentatively looking at 1 April as my retirement date.


However, I did tell a colleague at dinner one night. As of Thursday, most of my fellow workers now know that my time at work is limited -- literally.


I am not certain why I was guarding the date as a closely-held secret. But, I have some theories.


The first is that it was my date to choose, and I liked controlling the information. That is just another way of saying I have a personality disorder.


The second is more personal. Saying the date aloud is a final act. It is drawing a line. Those of you who have been reading this blog know that I make decisions only after thorough -- agonizingly thorough -- consideration. Even selling the house has given me second thoughts as the economy continues to soften.


But the third reason was the driving force behind my secrecy. My experience has been that whenever people announce their retirements more than a month before they intend to leave, they join the world of the Haitian zombies -- the walking dead. Challenging projects disappear. Telephone calls stop. People stop thinking of you as being helpful, and look straight through you in the same manner they do the homeless fellow standing on the corner with his cardboard sign and Vietnam campaign ribbon.


But that last step is going to happen sooner or later. People at work are not fools. My constant chatter about leases, houses, and beaches would not qualify me for an undercover role in Tehran.


So, outed I am. Like Cortés, with his boats ablaze in Vera Cruz harbor, my only choice is to march on to Mexico.

13 comments:

1st Mate said...

Yes, you and George Bush have become lame ducks. But they'll probably stop making eye contact hoping their envy won't show. As for Cortes, I always thought that was an awful waste of perfectly good boats (but then, I'm a boat person).

Calypso said...

"...they join the world of the Haitian zombies -- the walking dead. Challenging projects disappear. Telephone calls stop. People stop thinking of you as being helpful, and look straight through you..."

Yes and that is a wonderful benefit coupled to preparing for separation - a coda into doing your own thing while still reaping the benefit of those last few checks ;-)

Read the Dalai Lama's story in "The Art of Happiness". A wise fellow is he and you I believe.

Don't worry, be happy! Viva La Vida! Viva Mexico!

Islagringo said...

First off, thanks for changing the comment form to open in a new window. I think there is a problem though. A new window opens but behind it your blog changes to a giant screen duplicate of the newly opened comment window! And, no, I have no idea how to fix it!

Sometimes it actually sounds like you may be a workaholico and a bit afraid of retirement. Trust me on this, you are not going to be one of those guys who wanders around from room to room looking for something to do to fill your retirement time. Just the opposite I think.

As for your collegues, I'd put a big Countdown to Retirement sign on my door and change the number of days left every day! Let them eat their hearts out with jealousy!

Islagringo said...

Never mind the comment about your blog turning into a giant copy of the comments page. All the blogs I have visited this morning using Blogger are doing the same thing. Must be a Blogger bug and we will just have to wait it out!

Nancy said...

Steve, I remember feeling exhilarated. No more subterfuge!

But people will believe what they want to believe. The birthday after we decided to move, my sister gave me a set of serving dishes as a gift. Kind of hurt my feelings like she didn't listen to me (and our selling everything and moving in the van) but then I realized it was probably her wanting to have me stay.

Babs said...

Yee ha! I agre with Wayne or whoever said it - "They're green with envy" or, just don't get it. If your identity is tied up in your career then it is harder, but I think you have enough other interests to be content in your new life!

Steve Cotton said...

Bliss -- I can only hope, though, that my lame duckery will not stagger from crisis to crisis. And I am with you on the boat burning. It turns out that the story may only have been PR -- that the boats never were burned. But it adds a bit of bravado to the tale.

John -- You are correct. I just described a modern take on the Book of the Dead. And I am ready to play my part.

Wayne -- Last night I almost paniced because I could not find anything to read while having dinner in the hot tub. I caught myself. Laughed. And went outside merely to enjoy the relaxation without Doing Something. I look forward to years in Mexico not Doing Something.

Nancy -- You are so correct. People are reacting in some very odd ways about me leaving. One anager has continued to schedule me for speaking engagements months after I am going to be gone.

Babs -- Several years ago, I would have been worried about the identity issue. Not now. I am ready to go.

Beth said...

This was the worse kept secret at SAIF. You may have been the only one who didn't know!!

glorv1 said...

I have a friend who was pretty active before her husband retired. He has been retired about 6 months now and she seems to have retired with him so to speak. Haven't seen hide nor hair of her since his retirement. Seems as though a new life has set in, of some sort. I don't know. Good luck to you.

Steve Cotton said...

Beth -- You are correct. I can live with it.

Gloria -- My idea is to simply take the baggage of my life and check it into a Mexican storage locker.

Bob Mrotek said...

Steve, I have a quote that I think you might like from General Winfield Scott on his journey from Veracruz to Mexico City during the U.S./Mexican War. He was plagued by troubles regarding his supply line from Veracruz as he marched his troops forward. Finally he got fed up, sent all the supply wagons back to Veracruz and told his men: "It is time to withdraw the sword, discard the scabbard, and advance with the naked blade". They would either have to take Mexico City or perish. ¡Qué tengas un buen viaje!

American Mommy in Mexico said...

Less work - more time to sort ...

Steve Cotton said...

Bob -- Scott was not a very original thinker, but he knew his history, and he could steal others' ideas better than Joe Biden. The St Patrick Brigade execution is probably his worst bloth.

American Mommy -- If it were only true.