Author Topic: Advice for last year?  (Read 1746 times)

asauer

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Advice for last year?
« on: March 06, 2021, 01:21:12 PM »
For those who are RE, I need help thinking about my last year (well, 10.5 months to be exact).  I have the Pre-fire checklist but what else should I be thinking about as I work out my last year?  I'd love some "lessons learned" and "glad I did" from you folks.  Thanks!

Sun Hat

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2021, 05:21:27 PM »
Also, as soon as you've informed work that you'll be leaving, find an HR clerk to learn if there are benefits that you should apply for. Also, if you have any insurance through work, you'll want to consider whether you want to get private coverage or look in to staying on the existing plan as a retiree. Depending on your pension/group investment situation, ask about that asap too.

One thing that I regret not doing more of was reaching out to work contacts to let them know how much I appreciated working with them. Once retired, I didn't have access to the network where I had their contact info, so that opportunity was lost to me. The people that I did reach out to really appreciated it because while they were mentoring, collaborating or working with me they were also living their own lives and might not have realized how they had a positive impact on me. Whether it's an email, phone call, thank-you note or taking someone out to lunch, it's a graceful way to exit.

I also regret that I didn't slash one guy's tires. Either way, seize the moment.

Lastly, retirement is fun. No matter what you plan to do with your time, prepare for it with cardio and core strength.



Trifele

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2021, 06:17:42 AM »
For me the last year of work was mentally HARD.  (Aside from the planning nuts and bolts.)  Just mentally and emotionally hard to force myself to go to work each day.  The closer the finish line came, the slower and more agonizing things got.  Hopefully it won't be like that for you, but FWIW here's a post I did back in the 2019 FIRE cohort thread in response to a fellow cohort member who was struggling with the same thing.  Obviously a lot of this has changed with the pandemic, but maybe some of it will be useful to you:


<snip>

Strategies that helped me get through the last 9 months:
 
--  Mentally breaking the time up into smaller units, i.e. telling myself "only two weeks until my next day off", or "only two weeks until [insert cool thing we were planning to do]"

--  Using all my PTO

--  Finding ways to stay busy at work (so the time passes quickly).  Careful here -- As you point out, you don't want to take on any more long term or stressful work.  So the trick is to get short term interesting things to do.  I found that offering to help other people with their work was a good strategy.  They have the overall responsibility which I wanted to avoid, but I stayed busy playing some interesting secondary role to fill my time.  And it made them happy.  Win-win-win.
 
--  Taking mental breaks at work to do things completely non-work related.  My go-to activity was travel planning.  I enjoy that, and you can fill lots of time with it.  I also spent time learning about new and interesting things.  YMMV on this one if others can see your computer screen in an open-style office.

--  Volunteering for/finagling your way into as many out-of-the-office activities as you can.  Conferences for the win. 

--  Talking to people (more than I normally would).  I'm fairly introverted too, but I enjoyed this.

--  Tried to:  Stay busy with interesting and fun things in my non-work hours; stay fully connected with family; exercise regularly and get good sleep.
 
--  Rinsed and repeated.

You'll get there!  You've got it.


I just remembered that in the last 100 day countdown I also gave myself a mini reward for each completed day.  I borrowed the idea from another forum member to color in a coloring page, one little section for each day completed.  It was a nice little ritual at the end of each day, and at the end I had a lovely colored page of a beach at sunset.  It sounds kind of silly, but it helped. 
 

asauer

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2021, 09:40:58 AM »

One thing that I regret not doing more of was reaching out to work contacts to let them know how much I appreciated working with them. Once retired, I didn't have access to the network where I had their contact info, so that opportunity was lost to me. The people that I did reach out to really appreciated it because while they were mentoring, collaborating or working with me they were also living their own lives and might not have realized how they had a positive impact on me. Whether it's an email, phone call, thank-you note or taking someone out to lunch, it's a graceful way to exit.

I also regret that I didn't slash one guy's tires. Either way, seize the moment.

Lastly, retirement is fun. No matter what you plan to do with your time, prepare for it with cardio and core strength.

Sun Hat- Thank you so much!  I would have never thought of reaching out to my professional network towards the end of my year.  It's such a good idea and I have a bunch of really great folks that have helped me.  I also have a couple of tire slashers...

Also, you make a great point regarding exercise.  That is a major focus for me this year.  I've spent the last few years with a not great diet and virtually no exercise due to work commitments.  I've got to get that dialed in this year.

asauer

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2021, 09:45:53 AM »
For me the last year of work was mentally HARD.  (Aside from the planning nuts and bolts.)  Just mentally and emotionally hard to force myself to go to work each day.  The closer the finish line came, the slower and more agonizing things got.  Hopefully it won't be like that for you, but FWIW here's a post I did back in the 2019 FIRE cohort thread in response to a fellow cohort member who was struggling with the same thing.  Obviously a lot of this has changed with the pandemic, but maybe some of it will be useful to you:


<snip>

Strategies that helped me get through the last 9 months:
 
--  Mentally breaking the time up into smaller units, i.e. telling myself "only two weeks until my next day off", or "only two weeks until [insert cool thing we were planning to do]"

--  Using all my PTO

--  Finding ways to stay busy at work (so the time passes quickly).  Careful here -- As you point out, you don't want to take on any more long term or stressful work.  So the trick is to get short term interesting things to do.  I found that offering to help other people with their work was a good strategy.  They have the overall responsibility which I wanted to avoid, but I stayed busy playing some interesting secondary role to fill my time.  And it made them happy.  Win-win-win.
 
--  Taking mental breaks at work to do things completely non-work related.  My go-to activity was travel planning.  I enjoy that, and you can fill lots of time with it.  I also spent time learning about new and interesting things.  YMMV on this one if others can see your computer screen in an open-style office.

--  Volunteering for/finagling your way into as many out-of-the-office activities as you can.  Conferences for the win. 

--  Talking to people (more than I normally would).  I'm fairly introverted too, but I enjoyed this.

--  Tried to:  Stay busy with interesting and fun things in my non-work hours; stay fully connected with family; exercise regularly and get good sleep.
 
--  Rinsed and repeated.

You'll get there!  You've got it.


I just remembered that in the last 100 day countdown I also gave myself a mini reward for each completed day.  I borrowed the idea from another forum member to color in a coloring page, one little section for each day completed.  It was a nice little ritual at the end of each day, and at the end I had a lovely colored page of a beach at sunset.  It sounds kind of silly, but it helped.

Trifele- so much good stuff here!  Exactly what I needed.  I know the last year is going to be mentally hard for me.  The last 4 years of my career have been overly intense and I'm at the point of burn out so these things will not only help make it through but possibly recover a bit from burnout at the same time.  I particularly like the idea of mini rewards during the last 100 days.  I'm also glad you mentioned using all my vacation.  You're right, I was tempted to save it and get the payout at the end but the benefit of taking it is much higher.

Dicey

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2021, 01:02:30 PM »
I made a paper chain and festooned it all over my home office. It was 90 links long and it helped immensely. That was years ago and I still remember how much I enjoyed making it and deconstructing it link by link.

asauer

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2021, 07:15:45 AM »
I made a paper chain and festooned it all over my home office. It was 90 links long and it helped immensely. That was years ago and I still remember how much I enjoyed making it and deconstructing it link by link.
I'm SO doing this.  I'll have my teens help as they're almost excited about my retirement as I am.

FIRE 20/20

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2021, 01:06:36 PM »
This probably isn't an option at most workplaces, but I moved from a high stress position with growth potential to a lower level position within my company.  Basically, instead of being responsible for a highly visible project with a difficult customer, I moved to lead a small internal R&D team.  That made my last couple of years much lower stress and gave me the opportunity to use up a lot of accrued PTO.  My partner went to part-time (32 hours a week) and I probably averaged 35 hours a week or so while topping up my timecard with a few hours of PTO to hit my 40.  If there's any chance you can transition to either a part-time role or to a lower stress position, I think it's worth it.  It was certainly a fantastic decision for both of us.  Going to part time doesn't cost as much money as most people think, especially if you're close to FIRE.  The 'stache is doing most of the work for you at this point. 
In addition to having more time for ourselves, I was able to be relaxed at work and I essentially stopped thinking about work in the evenings and on weekends. 

I agree 100% with what Trifele wrote:

For me the last year of work was mentally HARD.  (Aside from the planning nuts and bolts.)  Just mentally and emotionally hard to force myself to go to work each day.  The closer the finish line came, the slower and more agonizing things got. 


It's weird - I was in a position that I moved to specifically because it fit my skills and interests and so I was as happy at work as I had ever been.  But I still couldn't wait to be done, and if anything it just got more and more difficult as the time got closer.  I think the extra time off from both my partner's official part-time status and my DIY part-time using accrued PTO both helped a lot.  For me, if work was unbearable at 2:00 on a Tuesday I just left.  I usually either took Friday off completely or I just did a half-day.  Because I was in a lower-level position than normal for someone with my experience I was easily able to get my work finished and I had plenty of time left over to support my employees and the people I was mentoring.  I actually ended up with an excellent performance appraisal and I think a large part of that was due to the fact that I was so relaxed and under-stressed at work that year.  My partner was able to easily get out of anything that smelled like a leadership role because she was part-time, and that helped her mental state tremendously. 

I'm not sure if any of that helps, but I would re-iterate that if there's any chance your company might allow you to go to part-time work I would highly recommend it.  The dollars that you'll give up are the ones that are most highly taxed so the difference in your 'stache level is probably similar to a typical trading day fluctuation.  But the mental health benefits were incredibly valuable. 

asauer

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2021, 01:19:19 PM »

I'm not sure if any of that helps, but I would re-iterate that if there's any chance your company might allow you to go to part-time work I would highly recommend it.  The dollars that you'll give up are the ones that are most highly taxed so the difference in your 'stache level is probably similar to a typical trading day fluctuation.  But the mental health benefits were incredibly valuable.

It's not an option for me unfortunately.  I actually tried to do that and they ended up promoting me into a completely sh*t role *sigh*.  I'm actually leaving this org on Thursday and will start with a new org next week, lol.  It's still a high visibility role but hopefully somewhat less stressful.  In any case, I'll be in the 'prove myself' mode for the first few months so no chance of downshifting until it's time to go.  They know I'm only going to be there a year.

Metta

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2021, 01:26:25 PM »

One thing that I regret not doing more of was reaching out to work contacts to let them know how much I appreciated working with them. Once retired, I didn't have access to the network where I had their contact info, so that opportunity was lost to me. The people that I did reach out to really appreciated it because while they were mentoring, collaborating or working with me they were also living their own lives and might not have realized how they had a positive impact on me. Whether it's an email, phone call, thank-you note or taking someone out to lunch, it's a graceful way to exit.

I also regret that I didn't slash one guy's tires. Either way, seize the moment.

Lastly, retirement is fun. No matter what you plan to do with your time, prepare for it with cardio and core strength.

Sun Hat- Thank you so much!  I would have never thought of reaching out to my professional network towards the end of my year.  It's such a good idea and I have a bunch of really great folks that have helped me.  I also have a couple of tire slashers...

Also, you make a great point regarding exercise.  That is a major focus for me this year.  I've spent the last few years with a not great diet and virtually no exercise due to work commitments.  I've got to get that dialed in this year.

Something I did that seemed silly and grandiose at the time, but was absolutely the right thing to do was to print up little cards with pretty pictures (so that people would hang on to them) with my contact information. I used one of the places that prints business cards. I didn’t print my phone number on them because I didn’t want everyone calling, but I made up little stickers with my phone number for a few special people.
 
Then I gave them out liberally to my friends and acquaintances at work, telling them, “Knowing you has been one of the best things about my life at this company and I would love to keep in touch.” It’s made a difference for me and most people who received a card were grateful. Most of them kept in touch as well.

tipster350

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2021, 10:09:46 AM »
This is a great thread. I am in the home stretch, will be giving notice in a couple of weeks, and I am having the hardest time. It is agonizing and excruciating waiting this out!

I have tried many of the coping mechanisms mentioned, and they help a little. I find counting the number of Mondays (and accompanying Sunday nights dread) remaining a good exercise. I celebrated each set of 10 done. Now I am counting and celebrating by each week as I am in the single digits.

xbdb

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2021, 11:52:18 AM »
I picked up a retirement count down clock from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GPC1RFG a few months before I FIRED and kept it on my nightstand. Made me smile each morning I woke up.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2021, 12:33:43 AM »
I picked up a retirement count down clock from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GPC1RFG a few months before I FIRED and kept it on my nightstand. Made me smile each morning I woke up.

A bit less visible but free solution are countdown apps for your phone with a nice background picture.

former player

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2021, 05:08:09 AM »
Not sure how this might apply to you, if at all, but my retirement came at only 3 month's notice when I was in the middle of a big home renovation.  I regret that the first 3 months of my retirement were all about finishing that up rather than being able to take the time to smell the roses.  It all worked out fine in the end but it's a bit of a regret that I didn't quite have that big "my life is my own with no obligations" moment after the last day at work.

FLBiker

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Re: Advice for last year?
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2021, 06:16:37 AM »
Thanks for this!  It is an interesting read as I find myself in a similar spot (basically FI, waiting for a year or so for "life" dust to settle before leaving / downsizing the job).

I don't have an official date yet, so maybe this will change, but I've been feeling since we hit our number that work has gotten easier.  Specifically, leaving things unfinished at 5 and just walking away has gotten easier, and that's something I've struggled with in the past -- not that I would stay and do all the things, but that they would gnaw at me afterwards.  Some of it is probably just getting older and realizing more and more that things are never finished, but I do think part of it is a feeling of "oh well, if I get fired that's fine" (which is totally unrealistic, as I'm a good performer with zero worries about getting fired).  It has been interesting to note this shift, though.

And I really like the advice about reaching out to folks on the way out.  As an introvert, that definitely wouldn't have occurred to me.