Healthcare Executive, suddenly retired...

by Deborah



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!

Comments for Healthcare Executive, suddenly retired...

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I understand
by: Anonymous

You would have had the same feels with the layoff, alone, even if you hadn't added retirement to it. I went through layoffs and counseled several of my friends when they did, telling them you will feel depressed and worthless for a while.

But, as soon as get another job, you will begin to feel good again. I think you need something to do, as you have discovered, that makes you feel worthwhile again. It is awfully hard to go from full speed to a screeching stop in your life.

Like you, I am still muddling through, as well. The hardest part is getting past the doldrums to do anything!

I applaud your embracing your faith. Just know you are not alone.

Lessons Learned Later in Life
by: Sandy

For some reason, I missed your post until now. But I felt compelled to respond. What you have experienced is so common but nonetheless so painful for many of us.

Post was moved here so that many will see it.

Healthcare Exec Suddenly Retired
by: Silversurfer

Thank you for sharing your incredible and well written story. You should get to work on a book and check out Wendy's e-book projects some time when you're ready.

You are on the right track by remembering your spiritual connection to the Supreme Being. I have been dealing with stress and anxiety without meds for 45 years. It doesn't go away completely.

It's a process of growing closer to your True Self by creating the life you want day by day. The meds as you said just keep the issues below the surface, but they don't solve or remove the deep rooted emotional pain. Only inner work helps. It sounds to me like you are doing all the right things you feel to do for yourself.

Remember after years of working in the fast lane, you need at least several years to unravel and get back to your true pace in life. You will find it. Just don't expect overnight miracles.

Miracles happen when you've done the inner work.

by: Wendy

The wealth of support in this retirement community never ceases to amaze me! Thank you to all who responded.

Many can learn from you
by: Elna Nugent Lenox, MA

Deborah: You have done a real service by telling your story.

No matter how well the external world has treated us by giving us a high position for good work done--we don't really find the "keys to the kingdom" until we realize there is a universal Life Force that has answers for us...and we can turn to it when we feel lost and even afraid.

The best thing that can happen to us is when we feel so helpless we dare to hand over or surrender our ego self to the HIgher Consciousness. That is when amazing magical things happen that can almost keep us in a state of awe.

Surrender is the most heroic thing we can do. As we surrender our self to the higher power calling it by whatever name you have been taught and realize you are unconditionally loved and cared can then ask for what you most need, little things as well as big things. Then be amazed at what comes your way.

There is always Hope!
by: Len, Palau

To me you are an amazing person. With what you've gone through you manage to get it together and that is so great and wonderful. One thing for sure, It is their loss.

I have friends working at our Public Health and I hear that their always looking for people from outside with expertise. I know it maybe not be something your looking for or use to but it is just an idea.

There's also a new project that started off earlier this year in our country. We have been getting retired volunteers. I believe it is called 'Peace Corp Volunteer Response'. Host programs pay rent and a small allowance per month. If you want to know more, you may go online. Again just sharing ideas.

Take care and best wishes always.

Suddenly Retired
by: Rosy

Hi Deborah,

I worked in corporate for 35 years. I was laid off, rehired, acquired, sold, spun off and abandoned. Ultimately, I worked for the same company, just the logo kept changing. I was forced into retirement when the company left my state.

The experience has left me with a very bitter taste. I distrust large corporations more than anything in life and truly believe they're evil. They answer only to stockholders, employees are nothing. I will never work for one again even when offered great opportunities. I have a vast network of contacts in the business and could be working right now if I chose to. I don't.

I had to endure constant chaos - juggling software, merging company platforms, location moves, organizational and management changes.

My shoulders were up and frozen with stress, never knowing when the arrow would hit me. Receiving increasingly lower salary increases while the CEO was being rewarded with outrageous bonuses, made me ill. The whole experience became a joke at the end, too much to even want to write about.

I do get bored sometimes, but love the freedom of doing what I want when I want. Having that, I'll never go back to the stress of working for a corporation. I enjoy my hobbies and have begun new ones - some I thought I'd never do, like crafting!

I'm at peace now. I take care of my spouse, house, pets and myself. I don't answer to anyone. I'm free.

Good luck to you in your new found freedom.

Many blessings are there!
by: Donna Augusta, Mo

Deborah, thanks for sharing what I can tell was a very deep and hurtful situation.

You are not alone as a RN we saw that in our hospital with 30-50 or more RNs pushed out and replaced with what they called "The future Nurses."

A lot of nurses had been with the hospital 30-35 years... the goal was to replace us before all of us baby boomers retired so within those years of 55-60 so many nurses were let go fired and made so miserable they quit.

We have to remember how we used to say "when I retire and I have time I am going to..." we all can fill in the blanks.

I am happy that you are improving and keep moving forward.Good luck in your future endeavors and remember those times that you were living those dreams it will happen again......

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