During coffee the other day, my niece shared her mother was going to retire this summer. My thought was 'Wonderful! you have been talking about this time for a long time!' It's not common family knowledge yet. Will wait to congratulate her. Then I got to thinking about what tends to happen when you have been with an employer for a long time. In this situation since very early in her career. There is a lot of buzz and most often plans for some sort of celebration. Cards, kind words, family being included, possibly a gift, a soiree of some sort. Was thinking how lovely that is, to be in a place long enough that your leaving is acknowledged in a public way. Or at least it being offered. A dear friend of mine retired after over 40 years at the local hospital in a part time nursing role. She did not even want a luncheon. Felt she hadn't been around enough the last year for folks to remember who she was. I was rather sad she felt that way. She often spoke about how good this work had been for all those years.
Then there are entrepreneurs and serial careerists (someone who has tried different roles, in different industries). I have a good number of entrepreneurial friends. First they have a hard time letting go. They have had the peddle to the metal for so long, it's hard to shift gears. Secondly unless they mark their last days of work in some way, typical no one else does in a whole career way. Careers of 30, 40, even 50 years slip out of view unmarked. Both my husband and I are serial careerists. Serial career work is the way of the future so we are told. It's been a nail biter at times and very good at other times. Teaches you much about yourself and it's not for the faint of heart! It's revealing too what a retrospective brings to light when you start winding down. About career moves over the years, dollars earned (and saved), opportunities taken and opportunities lost. Ah hindsight!
As I thought about my sister in law, I felt somewhat envious. Personally I love celebrations, milestones, marking life events. Have been involved in feting someone of long standing in an organization. It connects people and honors the years of contribution. My career of 40+ years won't have this. Nor did my husband's of 48 years. We recognize we both chose differently.
Yes I know I can organize a celebration. Probably will. And sometimes I wish it had been different.