Looking at the End

Today is the last day of my employment in a job I’ve held for 28 years, 25 weeks, and 2 days. Work-wise the last 10 business days have been a blur. I gave my employer 12 weeks notice. I imagined that I would train my replacement. There has been turmoil because the department our unit is under has determined that they want to change the credentials required for my position. What they have proposed (and are insisting on) would make me unqualified to apply for my job. Sadly these new requirements also make my “heir apparent” ineligible to hold the job. Thus she has refused to be trained. She moved out of my office, stopped asking questions, and is (according to the grape vine) looking for another position likely outside the university. There was rumor that my position would not be replaced. You see the whole purpose of the buy-out was to eliminate staff on the high end of the pay scale and to only replace 50% thus realizing a hefty savings. The only flaw is when they don’t replace key positions. So after some heated exchanges with high ranking faculty the department finally posted the position on Tuesday. If they are lucky the interviews will take place in early July and a replacement named by August…

The invitations to my retirement “open house” went out and there was a firestorm of email. I was inundated with requests for meetings so that I could introduce my replacement and go over details of their projects with the new person… I had to let them know that my job hadn’t been posted yet and no replacement had been identified or hired. Talk about anxiety! There was a massive cry of anguish heard throughout the biology and chemistry, and biochemistry departments. I won’t lie, it was gratifying to know that I would really be missed by the people I assisted. I am expecting to see many of them today as they stop in to say good-bye. Those would be all the grad students who weren’t high enough on the food chain to be invited to my party last Wednesday. The original guest list was 95 and I had to cut lots of people from my original list of 27. I had to eliminate my husband, in-laws, and friends. At the 11th hour I was informed that only 33 people had sent an RSVP. It was OK because I had informally invited some of the graduate students and post docs to crash my party. They did! Not all the food was eaten but no one went away hungry. 3/4 of an enormous cake was taken back to work and will be consumed over the course of the next couple days!

I’m going out to lunch with my co-workers today. We are going to India Garden. I had agonized on the venue – go where I like to eat or go where others will be comfortable with the food choices… Today I get to be selfish. Besides I’m paying for my own meal so I’m going to eat good food. It is a buffet so there won’t be a wait! I plan on gifting them all with some of the “prizes” I collected to give out to the winners of “buzzword bingo” (a game played during continuing education presentations). Since the boss has eliminated all continuing education presentations, I have lots of things stashed away. They will get everything from t-shirts, pens, and lanyards to stuffed toys, calculators and water bottles. I took time last Tuesday to put together the goodie bags which cleared out the drawers in one filing cabinet.

Speaking of which, I spent all week removing my art and wall hangings from my office. I’ve turned in my keys and said my farewells. I have only one small box of personal items left to bring home at the end of the day. It will have the uniform I wore today, my certification plaque, my shoes, my spare umbrella, and the name plate from my locker. I hope the box isn’t so heavy that I won’t be able to skip to my car!!

As a side note, my husband Sparky asked me the other day, “What will you talk about if you can’t talk about work???” Hehe! I’ve got plenty to say. I don’t think that will be a problem! I have several already retired friends who will provide an opportunity for trouble. Of course I may become one of those crazy old ladies that writes letters to the editor…

41 thoughts on “Looking at the End

    1. That’s the truth! I spent the afternoon handing out kleenex as people stopped in and cried on me… I think they miss me some already but soon they are really going to miss me!!

      Like

  1. Don’t let the lack of trainee/replacement make you feel as if your work was unimportant! I know that’s where my head would go, if that happened to me. You were exactly where God could use you best, and that just means you’re too distinctive to be replaced. Huggerz.

    Enjoy the new view of endless possibilities – aka retirement!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Doti but that never crossed my mind. I know what I provided was valuable – The investigators know, the post docs know and all the graduate students and undergraduate students know. And most importantly all my coworkers know that I was an important cog in the machinery. I’m hoping they are able to promote from within and that one specific person does get the job!!

      Like

    1. Have a wonderful last day. My last job I held before quitting to go on the road full time was very hostile towards the end. I had pulled everything but the pictures on my desk and would carry a large tote bag in with everything else. This went on around two months before I quit. After corporate figured out the problem which was the manager I was asked to come back. I said no because I am happy and I dont have to work on anything but the truck book work. And I will never work for a big corporation again. If I want to work in the future I will get my substitute teachers license and go that route or work harvest at a grain elevator

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. I had a few files that I had forgotten about that ended up being hauled to my car. Thankfully I have some kind coworkers who helped me carry the heavy stuff!

        Like

          1. So far I am! Put 7 quarts and 8 pints of tart cherries and a half gallon of cherry juice in the freezer today. Then I had to get rid of all the sticky surfaces!! I’m heading to the shower to get the last of the cherry juice off me… I feel productive.

            Like

    2. That’s ok Bonnie – I’m bad at names too. I’m already celebrating. I’ve got a lunch date tomorrow with a former coworker. I’m sure she will want to hear all about it and then join me in a happy dance!

      Like

  2. I hope they find a trainee to replace you. Office politics, hmm. Wishing you well and you will find things to talk about although sometimes life is boring, from time to time without all the drama. I have off during the summers until my class count comes in. I alternately miss the drama and am relieved there is no drama during the summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My “heir apparent” is applying for the position and it is going to be a thin applicant pool. The drama goes on without me. I really hope that they get another person hired soon as my fellow team leads are now rotating on call every 3 weeks instead of every 4… and there isn’t any wiggle room for switching since no matter how they schedule it some one will have to work weeks back to back.

      Like

  3. Of course you will be missed. You have left behind large shoes which i am sure no one will be able to fill. What a great career Val! Congratulations on your retirement. I wish you wonderful life of health and happiness in future. Great milestone!
    Love and hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Zakiah! I have had the stuffing hugged out of me all day! There were so many well wishers and I had a few laughs amid the tears (theirs not mine). I’ve assured my coworkers and some investigators that I’ll check my email and respond to questions at least for the next month. There was a collective sigh of relief!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Alas, you are right. Make it impossible to fill the position, then the company does not have to say “downsizing”. Your “replacement”did the right thing. They were just going to hand her the tasks without the pay until they find a “qualified applicant”. Public Schools do it all the time. Much cheaper to have a long term sub then actually pay a teacher full scale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the education system has done some shady things. Then other local systems have some higher standards…. I’m waiting to see how things pan out and crossing my fingers that she gets the job!

      Like

  5. congrats on ur retirement
    🎈🎉🎊
    wow, college biochemistry
    u must be very smart

    beautiful cake
    🎂

    Like

    1. Thanks for the well wishes! Hehe! I’m just slightly smarter than the average bear… I have a unique and narrow skill set so I’m going to have a job if I want it. I could work outside the university but I am not anxious to go in that direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats, Muri. I’m with you on the Indian lunch. And you DID skip to the car, right? It’s been said that we don’t know what we’ve got ’til it’s gone. I suspect this will be the case with your department. The unfortunate new hire will scramble while everyone gripes that he/she will never be as good as you were. Try not to worry or feel guilty. It wasn’t your fault, and it isn’t your problem. Your new mantra: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” 🙂

    Like

    1. My current mantra is “Party Party Party – ohmmm” hehe! Anyway I’ve got an agenda and will be trying to get in the groove so that I don’t fritter my time away! No more spinning plates and absolutely no Monkeys (in the circus or jumping on the bed)!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Good job! You should treat yourself. I haven’t been to work in 10 years. It takes a while to get used to it. I hope you are still friends when you’re sitting outside reading a dashing romance with fresh lemonade. Are you going to pursue any hobbies? Maybe write a book…

    Like

    1. I will be busy. I have lots of hobbies and several items on my “to do” list of chores. Not to mention being free to visit with friends ANY FREAKING TIME OF DAY! As for romance novels and lemonade, not my style. I prefer Scifi/fantasy and mango lassi. As for the book, yes. I am going to work on it… I promised my mother.

      Like

    1. Yes. Anticipation was exciting and gave me the sense that I could reach what had seemed an unobtainable goal. However the realization of retirement is liberating. I feel as if a weight has lifted from my shoulders!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. After the party go ahead without looking behind as I did after the ceremonials of my retirement
    We know the job you made, Val, and it was so interesting;. But all is changing in our society
    Love ❤
    Michel

    Like

    1. Yes Michel, I am moving on but I’ve still got my hand in. I will be doing on call work for a single researcher. She is working on treatment for diabetic foot ulcers, and diabetic wound healing in general. She hopes to move to clinical trials in the next 2 years (it is a project I’ve been working on since 2013 so I want to stay involved). I will also work on the the novel antibiotic discovery for MRSA and C.difficile which is fascinating as well. I will be able to do this for another 4 years and then I’ll move on to full retirement!!

      Like

    1. Ah YES! I will see you on the 3rd and we can plot our next move!! In fact if we want to go on a road trip I can now just do it (provided Sparky isn’t too pouty). But he’s a good sport. Should I worry about making sure what I bring on the 3rd is gluten free, dairy free, vegan or vegetarian?? I don’t want to bring something no one can enjoy…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes we should. I’m going to be in PA in Aug (first week). Maybe we can work something out?? We’ll talk about it on the 3rd. I’m making fruit pizza as a side dish/dessert. No cheese – only fake cream cheese flavored frosting… Should I bring something else too??

          Like

  9. Congratulations on your retirement! I’m sure you will be missed, but I’m equally sure you will enjoy your retirement very much. As for the “politics” surrounding your position, I can only say they sound all too familiar. I’ve found it doesn’t matter whether you work in a corporation, a non-profit organization or a school or university, they all operate pretty much the same way: dumb decisions designed to save money that end up costing far more in both dollars and time/stress for employees than every before. How our society functions at all, don’t ask me!

    Like

    1. Yes. Their effort to save money has put the workers in a tight spot. They need the institutional knowledge but have been short sighted in not hiring a replacement…

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s