Healthcare Executive, suddenly retired...
I am a health care executive who was let go after a buy out of the company, I had been with for 20 years. My reduction in force was cold and direct. "We just don't need you anymore!"
I had been praised for my work my whole career and told I would have a job with the company that was buying us out. They even referenced the fact that I was a women and that would be a good balance to the corporate team.
I had planned to retire at 65. I had recently been divorced and wanted to beef up my 401K over the next couple of years. I was 61 and 3 months when I was told I was being replaced with someone 25 years my senior. I was with the new company for less than two weeks.
Although, I had been warned the new company was not to be trusted, I kept an optimistic view. I still had a lot of experience and a great track record. I took the company at face valve when they said I would definitely be staying after the transition. Let me advise any one transitioning from one company to another company. Get your deal writing, if possible! "My word is as good as oak no longer holds true."
Anyway, I was devastated. I had several people that had reported to me for years and they were as shocked as I was. Some of them have been terminated now, too. But that day, I cried all the way home and after each call from my employees and co-workers, I cried more.
My whole adult life had been tied up in my work. In retrospect, I wish I had spent more time with my family and done more with my kids growing up. I missed out on a lot chasing the American dream.
Within days after my position was eliminated I started to feel anxious and depressed. I had been busy, often working 60 hours per week. Emails, phone calls, meetings, writing programs, traveling...
A week after my termination, my company contacts dropped to about 10 people. I still call these people true friends. 60-80 emails dropped to 10. Phone calls also dropped drastically. No trips to schedule or programs to work on. Schedule open!
The first week I cleaned out my home office, completed some home projects I had put off and watched a lot of movies from my bucket list.There were other things I had on the list, like travel, write another book, paint, take dance lessons and so forth.
By week two I was looking out the window, trying to find the beauty I had always found in nature. I sleep alot, which made me feel worse when I finally did get out of bed. Sometimes I stayed up all night watching TV and sleep all day.
I went to my doctor who gave me meds for anxiety and depression. They helped some. I also talked to a therapist. Her best advice to me was to go out somewhere at least 3-4 times per week. I went to church, something I hadn't done in years, signed up for dance lessons one evening per week, scheduled lunch with a friend and started writing a new novel. (I had written a couple of books before.) I was hard to concentrate. I had to take my medication for anxiety and depression by the clock, or face terrible feelings.
I wish I could say, things went happily ever after, but the same old feelings were still there. They were just under the surface. I still had to figure out my financial situation. I knew it would be hard to get another job at my age and was not sure I was up for it anymore. I had been recently diagnosed as a diabetic, and needed to go on a pump for that, plus I had high blood pressure.
I was at my lowest point when I saw a tiny light of hope. I had not really looked at myself in a long time. When I was younger, I had been a very spiritual person, but had put it aside many years ago. I thought things like a bigger house, a newer car, travel, and all the other things that my corporate job bought would make me happy. I was so wrong. Whomever said, "Your job should not define you, is so true."
When I started looking at the times in my life when I had the most inner peace, it was not at work. It was doing things for my family and friends. Helping my community. Enjoying a close relationship with the Supreme Being.
I started praying again and meditating. I read several books about life after 60 and most suggested some type of spiritual assessment. It didn't have to be the traditional Christian way. One story I read, was about a man who found spiritual support by hiking and camping. Another lady visited India and converted to Hinduism.
My roots are Native Americian, so I have my own ways. My inner peace is slowly filling my heart, again.
I tell myself, "No matter what comes my way, I will find a way to get through it."
I realized, I can do with a lot less and still happy, I can share my living space, if I need to make ends meet, I can sell my house and get something smaller. Tiny Houses are popular now-a days.
I made a garden this summer and shared fresh vegetables with my neighbors. I still take dance lessons one night per week. I attend a spiritual group once per month. I have met a few new friends through dance and my spiritual group. I am planning to visit my sister in Okla and visit some of our national parks. I just helped my daughter plan a graduation party for my grandson.
I wish I could say things are charming after almost a year, and I am fine now, but that would not be true. I still have some issues. Although the meds are being tapered off, I still have bouts of anxiety and depression.
However, the real truth is, I that I am mentally and spiritually better After a lot of soul searching and self work, I feel like I am beginning to know myself again. My real self. Not the person, I allowed corporate America to make me think I was.
I have a lot of living to do and hope everyone who reads this will find their own way to find inner peace and fill their life with things that make them truly happy. Many Blessings!
Wendy's other site... because Aging Matters!