Sunday, August 11, 2019

"Freedom Day," 5 years later

(I wrote this post on July 22nd, while I was on vacation... and forgot about it, in my drafts folder. I'm posting it now, because it still says something I wanted to say, albeit belated. Also, it's 33 years ago today that I joined the company! -- = I got let go just short of my 28th anniversary there.)

Five years ago today, I lost my job.

It's a blow to the ego (not to mention the pocketbook) to find out you're not wanted anymore, that all your years of loyal service and accumulated institutional knowledge weren't enough. (What STILL irks me is that I rearranged my vacation plans that summer, specifically at my boss's request, and took my holidays earlier in July, instead of later (as usual), because my colleague was heading off on maternity leave in early August "and we're going to need you then." I returned to work on Monday, and lost my job on Tuesday. I am sure the plans for this mass downsizing -- five of us from the same department lost our jobs that day -- were in the works well before I went on vacation.  My pregnant colleague actually gave birth, slightly prematurely, that same day the job cuts came down. She kept her job and is one of the few people from my department who is still there.)

For a long time afterward, any time that I was downtown and walking through the underground PATH concourse linking all the major office towers, I would take great pains & circuitous routes to avoid walking through the concourse of the building where I'd worked for more than 25 years. I just didn't want to run into anyone I had known, or endure the awkward conversation that would follow (not unlike the days, weeks & months after I returned to work, following Katie's stillbirth).

These days, I don't bother avoiding my former workplace (although I don't make a point of going there either). I don't worry running into people I know there anymore -- mostly because I realized that so many of them are gone too -- after further rounds of staffing reductions, reorganizations and just plain attrition & retirements over the past five years.

When she heard my news, my sister -- who had lost HER job some years previously (when the bank she worked for shut down her entire unit and transferred all the jobs to Calgary & Edmonton) -- assured me, "There will come a day when you too will celebrate ______bank Freedom Day."

That day has come. ;)

I miss (some of) the people I worked with. I miss being downtown, sometimes. (And yes, I'm still somewhat pissed off, sometimes.)  But I don't miss the stress of work, or working, or commuting. And while childlessness is not something I actively chose, early retirement would likely not have been possible, had we had children we were still feeding, clothing and educating.

These past five years of early retirement have gone by quickly. There have been a lot of changes in my life since then. I'm fast approaching (BIG GULP) 60.  We haven't travelled as much as I'd hoped we would (yet?!). 

But so far, so good. :)


  1. Happy Freedom Day to you! That's lovely that you can reframe this moment that was so devastating when it happened into something to be grateful for and that has given you the opportunity to leave the commute and the stress behind without worrying about expenses relating to children. It's so nice when there are upsides to the down moments. I hope you get the chance to travel more in the coming years!

  2. Five years?? Time goes so fast. I remember it like it was just a year or two ago.

    Maybe you haven't gotten all the travel you hoped for, but I am SO envious of your reading productivity!

  3. Happy Freedom Day! I can relate. I left work full-time a long time ago now, and it was voluntary (but there was nowhere for me to go in the company as I wasn't an engineer), but for the first few years (which was also when I was going through pregnancy loss and last ditch fertility efforts) I also tried to avoid the company and the people.

    I'm glad you're enjoying life. I still feel guilt that I'm not earning money when we could use it - though we're coping. I look forward to being free of that!

  4. Happy Freedom Day!

    When I retire (in 6 years!), I will make every effort to never see most people from work. We have lunch every Thursday with some retirees and they often come to retirement parties, but that will not be my thing. Since I work for the state, I am unlikely to be laid off (unions, seniority, and lots of new people!), so I don't have that worry. But since my state is known for its financial insolvency, I do have concerns about my pension. Sigh.

    Of course, when I do retire, I would like to travel. But I'm going to have to learn to do it alone - after our last trip, I'm fairly sure I'm never going anywhere with my husband again. He is the worst traveler (and he doesn't really want to go anywhere anyway.):D