Too early to quit, but too late to stay:

by Julia
(Pensacola, FL)

I taught school for 29 years. 25 of them were wonderful, but the last four years have been a nightmare. The nightmare came about when we got a new principal at our school.

The man was a narcissist and hurt so many people. I saw these things happening as he was working very hard to get rid of me.

I’m 64 years old with three advanced degrees the last one I completed in 2002; so it’s not like I was someone who had taken a job and expected to do the same thing for 30 years.

Throughout the 4 years I worked for him, his harassment of others and myself became greater. For some reason he was particularly intent on getting to or rid of me. It came to the point that I had to hire a lawyer.

I started seeing a psychiatrist after the first year of working for him because I though he could give me some advice how to work with this man. After several sessions with the shrink, he told me, “Get out of that school or quit teaching.”

I didn’t understand at the time what a narcissist was capable of. I remained at the school, and my principal kept upping his campaign to get rid of me. It came to the point that he started humiliating me in front of my peers.

Friday before last, he did something so outrageous that I understood what that psychiatrist why he told me to leave or quit. I left the school, went to Human Resources, and retired.

Now, you may a ask how a principal with not one day of teaching a class could become a principal and get away with the things he did to so many hardworking, devoted teachers. Answer: He was a friend of the Superintendent of Schools.

I had tried so hard to be a great teacher and deal with this man, but I failed. Now I’m feeling the results of failure in the form of deep depression.

Money is not an issue for our family. It’s my feeling or worthlessness, being thrown on a garbage heap, and left to do what. I was a workaholic. I spent 7 days a week preparing for my classes, making materials, and looking for better ways to help children. I never took time for myself.

Additionally, during these four years, my 32-year-old daughter-in-law, who had just completed her master’s degree in environmental geology, had a massive stroke that left her completely blind. My husband (the dearest human being in the world) developed Parkinson’s , and now we find that he has prostate cancer. Oh, and my mother whom I help care for has Alzheimer’s.

Isn’t there some kind of universal rule that says only a certain amount of difficulties (I’m on the net or I’d use another word!) Can happen to a family in a given amount of years?

Now the real question, how do I get over this horrid depression? Will it pass as I get use to not working?

Wendy: It will get better... it has to!

Many new retirements, even without all the disabilities that surround you, start out like this. We lose our identity, we don't know how to spend our time 24/7... and on top of that normal retirement transition -- you have huge medical issues all around you. Yikes.

Please consider joining my Retirement Transition group.. we simply chat via emails about getting past this initial phase of retirement. Maybe someone else can help you... (hit the Email Friendships to the left, then Retirement Transition group). Hope to see you join us!

Comments for Too early to quit, but too late to stay:

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Don't take it personally
by: Anonymous

Many of us when we get up in teaching years find ourselves "nudged" out so that the district will replace us with cheaper hires. It's really not personal - they are being "financially wise" in their minds.

I too left earlier than I wanted to. I too spent most of my days planning and working - now I have determined to focus instead on planning and working on my personal life. Change the focus - you did a great job in your past on your job.

Now.. it.. is.. over - but you still have all that drive. Refocus it.

Don't regret that you are retired - I read in today's New York Times Magazine a quote by William Shatner "Regret is the worst human emotion... If you took another road, you might have fallen off a cliff. I'm content."

by: Anonymous

Are you asking for advice? I worked in a profession that often has poor leaders and staff with attitude who know what buttons to push. I learned that one person's bad boss is a lifesaver to a different person.

The lesson I try to take with me is to be independent of the environment around me, and there is lots of reading available. If you really want to stop wallowing keep in mind that what is over is over. Thinking about it changes nothing.

Believe that there is a reason this happened, if nothing else you are free to be a caregiver to those who now depend on you. To be a good caregiver you must learn to take care of yourself and give yourself room to grieve the changes.

Don't continue in the 'too late' victim role. Remember at some future point you will think back to the caregiving stage of your life and wish for some of those experiences to continue, you will miss your family and friends as they are now.

I agree with Wendy that the retirement group is a great place to open discussion and explore your thoughts.

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