Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Your career is not your identity

In this article I am going to touch on a topic that is close to heart. Yes, you know what I am talking about. As you are contemplating retirement, or are already in retirement, you feel... a bit lost. Lost in the sense that post-working, you do not have the same financial prowess as before, or you held a high position of authority but now no one looks up to you anymore.

Yes I have been there myself. Now I am essentially a "nobody" in that the people I used to work with no longer have a vested interest on what I think... about anything. I can tell you that... this is a big relief! Now that my words and opinions carry absolutely no weight, so are my responsibilities... I have none! I used to be in charge of a 24/7 team that had to make sure the systems and software services stay alive, at all times, and also to deliver new features a break-neck place, but without breaking too many things. It was stressful, and unless you have been there in the trenches, either as a software engineer or a technology manager, it is a bit difficult to explain. The people sitting above me have no clue about the intricacies of the systems and keeping the team of technologists happy, yet they purport to tell me what to do, while undermining my authority with some pretty underhanded tactics.

That... ladies and gentlemen... I do not miss.

I have learned that it is good for the heart and soul to forgive and move on. I may not forget what happened, but it doesn't mean I am going to hold on to unhealthy feelings and toxic work relationships... for life is indeed too short.

Humility and gratitude is what keeps me grounded everyday now. I am humbled that I am now able to take things at a leisurely pace, and that my service to mankind is undergoing a metamorphosis towards something drastically different to when I was working. I am thankful that my home front is actually quite good, with kids that are growing up quite nicely, and who have learned about the importance of hard work and properly money management at a young age. I now have the time to spend with my wife and kids, and to truly appreciate their company. I am also thankful that I now have the time to take a step back and not be subjected to humiliating circumstances in the workplace. Finally I am thankful that my health is good, and I promise myself to keep my body in good shape by exercising daily and eating well.

Now my identity is being a stay-at-home dad at 48 years of age, a stay-at-home husband, a more dedicated son to my parents who are aging more gracefully than ever before, and the CFO of the household to ensure our money will last throughout (early) retirement, and be able to pass some of the wealth to the next generation when the time comes. I am also planning on how I can potentially parlay my previous skillset as a technology manager into part-time consulting in the not-too-distant future.

So there you have it folks. Reframe your mindset to be positive, move on from your "previous" life, and be humble and thankful everyday. Expect good things to happen, and they will. Life is good!

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