Retirement rose

I woke up this Sunday morning thinking about the rose petal I had photographed the day before. I needed to back up the file, along with some others and I planned to get it done after we had finished the morning round of the zoo. The weather didn’t look too good outside, so it made sense to plan something indoors. In fact, it was very gloomy considering our extra hour’s lie in at weekends. Then I paid a little more attention to the radio and realised that it was actually Tuesday and we needed to get up so my husband wouldn’t be late for work.

This was the very first time this has happened to me since I started work forty years ago. I had heard tales from colleagues about waking up in a panic on a Sunday and leaping out of bed, but I always knew a work day from the weekend. How odd that I should lose track of the days now, when I took early retirement only last month. I brought my desk calendar home and it is currently sitting in the kitchen, but I hardly bother to look at it now. I don’t need to know the day of the week, or even the month. I no longer care about accounting periods or the end of the financial year. Peace now reigns and I must say that I rather like it.

I won’t go into too much detail, save for the fact that I loved the first few years at work very much indeed. Sadly at that time they were moving everything away from the capital and one job was moved to Scotland, the next to Wales. By the time I found one that was staying put, the pressure was on to reduce the number of civil servants and within months I heard we were going to be privatised. That was the beginning of the end for me. At the time I adored my role in personnel, but then I found myself working out redundancy payments for people I regarded as friends. Once the first group left, eyes turned on the admin staff and for nearly a decade I stayed one jump ahead by getting a new position every year. Some of the work was OK, some was boring and I spent my time trying to improve things by automating as much as possible. So it was that I taught myself about lookup tables in Excel and union queries in Access and for my hard work I was eventually rewarded with a redundancy notice myself.

By some twist of fate I was kept on, but only after a year of stress and worry. No wonder it was starting to take a toll on my health by that time. So when I moved into my very last position I was upset and frustrated at the total lack of training. Not only that, but I seemed to have become invisible. E-mails requesting information went unanswered and management would never waste their breath to speak to me. I never could understand how someone who clearly had a desire to learn and please people was deemed to be so worthless.

I requested a reduction in my working hours as by this time I had started suffering from visual migraines and collapsing on a regular basis. I was messed around for months before being told it would never happen. The following weekend is one I will remember forever. One Sunday afternoon my husband and I filled out all the necessary paperwork on the kitchen work surface. I copied a 42 word resignation letter from the internet – I didn’t think they deserved any more words and I left a few weeks later. It must be said that my immediate boss was a gem and so were many of my colleagues. They were kind enough to arrange a leaving do where the rose photographed here was presented along with a gift voucher. I used the latter to buy a much-needed light meter for my old Leica and I intend to start using it again very soon.

I don’t feel guilty admitting that I don’t miss very much. Not the chaos, or the poor organisation or the bullying. Hopefully I can remain in touch with a few dear friends, but otherwise I am much happier at home, looking after the zoo and spending more time on my photography. Life is good.

Rose petal

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