Friday, January 19, 2024

So I Got That Goin’ for Me — Which Is Nice

Last week I discussed the recent announcement I made regarding my full time job. I told all my clients and customers that I am now looking to hire my replacement, train him or her, and then retire in about two years. 

I was surprised to discover that after making this announcement, there was a very interesting psychological side effect: peace of mind.
You see, telling everyone that I will retire in two years means that I have determined I have the financial wherewithal to live comfortably without a steady paycheck. Well, I mean, theoretically that’s what it’s supposed to mean. In reality, I have no clue if that’s true, since the last time I checked, I am not in charge of how well the stock market performs nor the rate of inflation — either one of which could have me enjoying my final years in a quaint retirement villa: a cardboard box under a bridge. 

However, just telling people that I am going to retire makes them think I must have my financial act together. So, I keep telling myself, “Hmm, if all those people think I can afford to retire, then it must be true!” 

It’s good to have this knowledge that I am financially prepared to retire. (If you’d rather substitute the word “delusion” for the word “knowledge,” you’re probably not wrong.) Actually, I have a secret weapon: my retirement nest egg is about to get a major boost, because I am quite certain that any week now I am due to win the PowerBall jackpot. To quote Carl Spackler, “So, I got that goin’ for me. Which is nice.”  
For the first time in 44 years, I go to work each morning with this thought in my head: “I don’t really need this job.” It is a very liberating feeling. (Although, to be perfectly honest, somewhere a little deeper in my head, another thought says to me, “Well, actually you do need this job, pal, at least for a little while longer. So, don’t do anything stupid.”) 

Anyway, the thing is, the owner of the company where I work, plus all of my coworkers, think that I can take it or leave it. As a result, they’ve been saying things to me like, “Hey Bill, can you give me a hand with this — if you have a chance?” instead of what I’ve been hearing for the past quarter century: “Hey Dunn, get over here and fix this mess. Now!”

I might be embellishing both the words and tone of voice for that quotation. My coworkers are usually very friendly and polite — although regularly stressed-out, which is the nature of our business. 

The main point I’m trying to make is that I perceive work to be less stressful these days, now that I have an exit strategy. It’s not that I’m taking a “Hey, it’s not my problem anymore, so I don’t give a damn,” attitude. It’s just that I now seem to have a, “Don’t worry, it’ll all work out,” attitude. 
It’s a really nice feeling to work hard, get things done, and not stress out about it. With these conditions, I could probably work another eight or 10 years. No wait, if I no longer have a short range exit strategy, then I’ll start stressing out again. Hmm, a classic Catch-22.

I guess I’ll just enjoy this unexpected peace of mind for the next 24 months. When my retirement date arrives, I’ll review the stock market and inflation situation, and either join other carefree retirees, or run into my boss’s office and say, “How about two more years?”

Either scenario is OK with me. So, I got that goin’ for me. Which is nice. 

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