250th Ciao Review

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250th Ciao Review

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Review of "250th Ciao Review"

published 17/08/2017 | 2mennycds
Member since : 28/08/2015
Reviews : 287
Members who trust : 72
About me :
Best wishes to all, and thanks for your kind rates and comments, have been half-expecting the latest announcement for at least the last year. Have thoroughly enjoyed being a member over the last couple of years or so.
Pro End of an era
Cons Step into the unknown

"My 250th review - retirement retrospective"

Nice socks (without holes!) - part of my present!

Nice socks (without holes!) - part of my present!

A third of a century (just over, actually!)

34 years’ service with one employer is a long time, especially as I’ve only really worked in two departments in that time. I’d never have imagined myself working in a financial environment for so long, but I seemed to find a niche for myself, and have never been particularly ambitious.

~ ~ ~ ~ The highs ~ ~ ~ ~

The public sector has a poor reputation, often deservedly, but the departments in which I’ve worked have thankfully laid great importance upon accuracy, conscientiousness, and customer service.

I’ve always found it satisfying to help sort out someone’s problem, whether that of a member of the public, or a colleague. I’ve also had the good fortune of being in posts where my level of performance is very evident to me and to others. This can be a mixed blessing if going through a difficult patch, but by and large it’s helpful to have evidence of your level of performance. It’s been a reality check for me on occasion and a confidence-booster at other times.

Generally speaking, my immediate colleagues have been good team-players; we’ve all pitched in to help each other.

Dealing with people of varying personality types is just part of life. Frankly, there have been times when one person or another has rubbed me up the wrong way; it’s sobering to reflect, though, that I’ve probably had the same effect on them at times! I also confess that there have been colleagues with whom I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye whose help and support has made me revise my opinion of them.

For most of my time I’ve also had line managers who have been both effective and supportive. Especially when combined with supportive colleagues this has made a big difference at times of work-related or personal pressure

~ ~ ~ ~ The lows ~ ~ ~ ~

I struggle when dealing with someone who isn’t just unhelpful, but who doesn’t want to do what is really part of their job, and expects me to do it instead. People like that have been the exception rather than the norm in my working life, but I do find it infuriating!

I’ve usually resolved this, at least in my own mind, with a simple, unspoken protocol. I adopt an attitude like this (though I don’t say it aloud!) “I’ll help you in the same measure that you help me. I’ll always undertake what is part of my job and I won’t go out of my way (unless sorely provoked!) to be UN-helpful. I’ll gladly go an extra mile (or even two!) and deal with your request urgently – if you’re willing to do the same for me when I ask. Try to DEMAND or INSIST, though, and you may find that I’ll take my ball home!”

On occasion, I’ve struggled not to take things to heart. I’m pretty forgiving when I encounter mistakes, or even inefficiency. If I see people not pulling their weight when I or others are up against it, though, I can get quite cross. It isn’t good for my frame of mind, I know, and I try to tell myself that I shouldn’t expect everyone to have the same standards as mine. I’m afraid that I don’t find it easy, though!

It’s goodbye from me – and it’s goodbye from him

The last three years of my working life have been very challenging. Initially I underwent a lot of work-related stress, the details of which I won’t go into. Six months into this, (and with financial year-end looming), my mother-in-law died suddenly while my own dad was in hospital; he died five weeks later.

It was a horrible time, a time of helping my wife to empty her mum’s house so it could be sold, of trying to sort out my dad’s affairs with a less-than-efficient solicitor, trying to support my mum, and deal with various pressures at work, working long hours to try to get on top of pressing tasks. Mrs M and I both wished we’d been able to help each other more, but we muddled through everything together as best we could. Menny United is a small, but effective team!

Guilt at not grieving over my dad’s death made things worse (I realised and accepted later that I’d simply had too many other things to deal with), and my difficulties in getting on top of important tasks against a ticking clock played havoc with my confidence in my ability to do my job effectively. This inevitably became a vicious circle – believing that you are under-performing easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I count myself fortunate indeed that my employer paid for me to have six counselling sessions to help me.

I toyed with the idea of retiring from work soon after this tough time began (I was entitled to draw my superannuation pension from the age of 55). Firstly, though, I was reluctant to retire without careful consideration.

Secondly, I didn’t want to retire while feeling beaten into submission.

When I decided definitely to retire this summer, I was better prepared financially, and was now sure I was doing the right thing. It wasn’t an act of defeat. I’d been able to regain a good proportion of my former performance, which meant that I felt I could hold my head up when I walked out of the door for the final time.

I was genuinely moved by the good wishes of many people, some of whom I hadn’t had a great many dealings with. More significant than just signatures on the customary card that was circulated for signing, though, was a surprising number of e-mails, and a few individual cards, from some colleagues. Some people made a personal visit to wish me well. Four former colleagues attended my (low-key) presentation, including my previous line manager with whom I had worked for over 25 years.

As well as one main leaving gift, I received several pertinent, fun ones that genuinely made me chuckle. Kind words were spoken, and I have no reason to think that they weren’t genuine.

Besides being deeply moved by people’s kindness, though, I’d already felt weight slipping little by little off my shoulders for several weeks. A gentle tide of relief now refreshes me and is washing away many of my self-doubts and fears. I’m finally off my anxiety medication.

What next?

I promised myself a month to emotionally de-tox, though it will probably take a little longer to for that to be complete. Soon I’ll start to look for part-time work –that carries little stress.

I need a bit more income than just my superannuation pension. I also still want some routine, and don’t want too much spare time on my hands. If I do, I’ll fritter too much of it, and time is precious – like a lottery jackpot win, once used it can’t be brought back. For a little while yet, I’ll value my leisure time more and use it to greater effect if it is limited.

Having said that, I want more time to spend with my ageing, frail mum (she’s 90 this coming weekend and although she still lives alone she is barely coping. Apart from 1.5 weeks in May and 2.5 weeks in July she has been in hospital from early May to date).

My garden keeps protesting that I’ve been neglecting it. My guitars haven’t been out of their cases as much as I would like of late. I also treated myself to a good quality ukulele and Irish whistle with the retirement grant that my workplace gave me in view of the length of my service…

It was only a few years ago, and after numerous transgressions over years of the etiquette of which I was ignorant, that Mrs M declared that she thinks it “common” to sit on the doorstep in one’s slippers – even if a driveway separates the sitter from the pavement and from passers-by.

I don’t want to upset her too often, of course – but it’s a shame not to greet her thus on her arrival home from work on at least some occasions! She’d expect no less, and hopefully helping with more chores will make amends…

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Comments on this review

  • LiveMusicLoverLyn published 21/08/2017
    Sorry, I didn't read it before. I hope your mum's birthday went well and she enjoyed as best she could?
  • Violet1278 published 21/08/2017
    Wishing you all the happiness in the world in your retirement. E from me.
  • jb0077 published 19/08/2017
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Listed on Ciao since: 24/02/2009