I was sitting on my porch in our ‘retirement home’ in Jamaica in early 2019. I was 2 weeks into a forced retirement at a global information technology company that I had worked for 14 years of my 40 years working in information technology.
A former colleague and someone that I mentored called me for advice. It was her last day, having also found herself redundant and not anywhere near retirement age. “I have had no communication with the remote manager. I don’t know where to send my laptop and shouldn’t there be an exit interview.” I said well, I was not her manager anymore but happy to give her an exit interview.
In the interview, I asked her if she remembered what I promised her when I hired her. She said, “yes there were 3 promises; 1st as my manager you would do whatever you could to get me competitive compensation based on my performance, 2nd you would provide me challenging and interesting work, and lastly you promised me work a life balance, she laughed and said 2 out 3. Work-life balance was not possible in 24X7 SAP Operations. We also spoke about growth and development for 10 years at the company and the impact on her and her family. And finally, we asked her about any recommendations or feedback additionally she had for me.
It was shortly after the call, it came to me that “I am not dead yet”, recalling a scene from one of my all-time favorite comedies, Monty Python’s The Holy Grail. I Google the scene and had a good laugh.
It was at that moment I decided to unretire. In fact, I decided to give up the entire concept of retirement. I realized that I had so many options that my father never had. I then thought about my favourite poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost came to mind.
….“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
And now a year later, I am working with my son in a start-up of Empathy North Marketing and Sales Agency. We assist entrepreneurs and small businesses expand their brand awareness and scale from one to many.
Jamaican Proverb: “Mi old, but mi nuh cold” Meaning:
I’m old but my body is still warm and I have something to contribute.