Life After Work – More Thoughts

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Got a few balance quotes today

I was listening to a podcast today. To be honest, it felt more like a sales/marketing pitch for an upcoming program these people are doing which turned me off a bit. But most things do offer a few nuggets even though they may be hard to find. This post isn’t really related to the topic but sometimes I listen to things and it triggers thoughts.

Some days, I do feel like I’ve been in a holding pattern for the last couple of years. Now, part of that is due to external forces. I got downsized out of my job and was recovering from that when the pandemic hit and then a lot of time and energy went to dealing with my Dad and then the after effects of his passing. Maybe less of a holding pattern and more like being in a rapids trying to cling to a rock and drag yourself out.

I find that I still hold a little resentment to how my work life ended. I get reminded of that every time I see a retirement notice from someone else who used to work there. It isn’t that I wanted the silly cake and party that comes with it but that retirement gives you the option to leave on a high note and to get closure with the people you’ve spent a great deal of your life with.

Admittedly, there is no easy way to tell someone their services are no longer needed. In our case, you were given 60 days from the notice before final separation. So you fell into this limbo and became an un-employee. Like you had some modern version of the scarlet letter stamped on you and some people avoided you like you were a disease they could catch.

And, it is hard to feel a little worthless. Like “why wasn’t I good enough”. Don’t get me wrong, the atmosphere had become so toxic there during the last two years that I was relieved to be on the cut list. Still, it is a blow to the ego. I will say that building a resume (that I’ve never used) was a great therapeutic tool because it forced you to look back and find things to highlight. For me, there was a lot to find. While that helped with the self worth, it kind of kicked up the resentment level. In my years there, I did a lot for the company and now you are just kicking me to the curb like trash.

Maybe I expressed thoughts like these at the time. I can’t really remember. A lot of the intensity of the feelings has faded but they aren’t completely gone. And maybe this is just a way of banishing them. Acknowledge the damage that was done and then move on.

It is why I still cringe a bit when I read someone’s post on LinkedIn talking about how much they love their company. And it isn’t a bad thing. If you hate getting up and going to work everyday, that will take a toll so it is better to be doing something that matters to you. What is important to understand is that the loyalty runs one way. At some point, you’re value to the company will drop to zero and you will leave. The best is to leave on your terms. But no everyone gets to do that.

It is about understanding that you are ultimately replaceable. No matter how much the company puffs you up and talks about how their people are their most valuable resource, you are replaceable. It is also why I feel it is important to establish a life and an identity outside of work. What you do is not who you are because some day you’ll stop being an engineer or a teacher or whatever.

I think maybe without realizing it, I’ve been on sort of a healing journey these last couple of years. Not that I’ve done any big steps but just a lot of little things like enjoying the slow life.

I’ll freely admit to being a little old school. It was just the way I was raised. If you fall, you shake it off and get back up. So you don’t acknowledge when life tosses you into a meat grinder. It is silly in a lot of ways because major life events impact you – sometimes in ways you don’t fully understand. It is probably better to take a step back and acknowledge that and figure out how to move on. Maybe this is a part of that effort.

Not sure where any of this leads but in a lot of ways it feels like I’ve been carrying some stuff around for a few years and now I’m kind of getting rid of some of it.

Like I said, that podcast just triggered a whole bunch of thinking. And since this is the forum where I sometimes put my thoughts, I just dumped it here.

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