Friday 1 February 2019

It's official

I'm retired!  I realize I'm incredibly fortunate to be able to do so, at the relatively young age of pushing 60.  

When I look back the path that led me to this point, I see it was built on moments of sheer luck, being in the right place at the right time, and by setting and eventually achieving my goals.  I must admit, the latter was not part of my early experiences, I tended to float and took the fortunate circumstances for granted.  As I aged, and when my children were young, I learned that working hard wasn't enough (for me) and I had to step out of my comfort zone and take risks.  Fortunately, those risks turned out for the best.

I started my first part-time job when I was 16, as a cashier at the ice rink in my hometown for the winter.  I got the job, even though I had no experience, in part because of a comment I made to the interviewer.  When he mentioned my lack of experience, my immediate response was, "how the hell do you expect me to get any experience, if you won't give me my first job".  He sat back, and said "I remember how that feels" and I got the job.  My mom was shocked and a little upset with me for making the comment.  I learned to be a little more polite in interviews, however, I'm not sure I ever stopped being as blunt when I felt the need.

My first full-time employment came shortly after high school ended, when I went to another interview, walked in and was told I got the job because I'd showed up.  This took me to northern Saskatchewan, by floatplane (a Cessna 180), sitting in the back on a pile of parts destined for the hangar.    This is when I fell in love with airplanes and debits and credits.  I learned to do bookkeeping, first as the accounts receivable clerk, later taking over payroll, payables, and general ledger entries.  I was also responsible to dispatch first I didn't understand a word I heard on the radio but I learned quickly. 

Later, after my daughter was born, I moved back to my hometown due in part to the sale of the air charter service, and the distance from hospital and school about 50 miles (80 kilometers) away.  After a short vacation, I walked into a local bank branch on a Wednesday afternoon and handed my resume (brief as it was) to the manager.  He called me later that afternoon, to ask me if I could start work the following day.  It turned out an employee had been fired the previous Friday.  Serendipitous for me indeed, not so much for her.

Eventually, the job I was doing was cut to part-time, but I was offered a transfer to Regina, where I currently reside.  I left that financial institution a year or so later, simply because of my work schedule. I worked Tues-Sat, and with a small child I wanted a Mon-Fri position.  Again, there was a bit of dumb luck involved, as initially when the offer was made, I indicated I would need to give two weeks notice to my employer.  Another person was hired but left very shortly after as she was a teacher, and the offer was extended to me once more.  This time the two week delay was accepted.  During my career at the next financial institution, I obtained my first promotion to management and continued to work there for five years after my son was born, until the company was sold to another institution.  

At this point, I decided I needed to get further education - I'd run into the glass ceiling and without a degree I felt it would be difficult to achieve higher level positions.  While I went to school full-time, I also worked part-time at the student union center.  They were great, fitting my work schedule around my classes, without impacting my family life.  Both children were in school, with their own activities and social calendars.  I was also volunteering on the board of the daycare my son attended.  I look back now and wonder I ever got it all done!  

Unlike prior times in my life, finding a job after I finished my degree wasn't as easy.  I took a job with Kelly Temporary services, and found employment with a local retirement home as a bookkeeper. Six months later, I accepted a term position with federal department as a budget analyst, but left that job just three months later, to join another department as an auditor.  I worked my way up the ladder over the next 12 years, attaining my final position as a supervisor where I remained for the past 9 1/2 years.  It was my dream job, and although it wasn't always easy, the work I did was interesting, often challenging, and for more than 20 years I enjoyed going to work everyday.

So now what, in retirement?  Well, I may not be knitting underpants for squirrels, but I do have lots of projects to complete. Just in the past week, I've knit two pairs of slippers, for me and my daughter. I've started crocheting a shopping bag, it's going quickly, I'll probably finish it before the weekend is over.  My yarn stash is still large, so that will keep me busy for quite some time.  I also want to get back to sewing - the machine is set up and gathering dust.  A local fabric store went out of business a couple of years ago, and I purchased a fair amount of fabric that has yet to be touched.

In the meantime, I'm starting the process of getting the house ready for re-sale.  There are holes to patch and touch up to the paint, closets to sort through, clutter to have removed and so forth.  I suspect this will take me until April to complete and then I can turn my attention to outdoors.  With any luck the house will sell by the end of August and then....who knows for sure.  I may be staying with friends or family for a period of time until I head out to Vancouver Island. Whether I rent or buy will depend on what is available at that time.  I do know that I plan to spend the summer months in Saskatchewan with my children and grandson.  But beyond that, things are rather nebulous.  For the first time in my life not having a firm plan doesn't matter.

Because I'll have some time for this:

Wishing all of you a good day!


  1. Wow, you've had a very interesting (work) life, and you certainly were gutsy at 16! Congratulations on all your years of hard work (and yes, luck too). I hope you enjoy every minute of this new phase of your life, and wish you years of exciting, fun adventures!

  2. Happy days now - you are approaching it with the right mindset. I would highly recommend renting even if it is at a Bnb for a month or two before you buy out here on the island - towns are so different you truly must do some exploring to get the feel for a place before you buy

  3. I love this. And I feel a bit of kinship with you as we both were are are risk takers in the best ways. And keeping on going is the only way I think. Enjoyed the reading of this. Gave me a smile this evening.

  4. And you know, I just read what Kea said and I was about to say the same right here when I brought up a comment box but instead I will say I echo everything Kim said.

  5. Hurrah! Well done. You certainly deserve your retirement. I suspect that unlike many people who say they don't know what to do with themselves, you'll find plenty to occupy your days. Just make sure a lot of it is fun.

    I have come across many jobs that demanded experience, and with half of them I could never figure out why. Some employers have literally waited years for someone with experience when they could have trained someone and have given them the experience required by then. It remains a very frustrating aspect of looking for work. I'm glad that you fought your way through such problems, and find yourself rewarded now. Good show.

  6. Retirement is the best thing that ever happened to us. now you can enjoy life to the fullest and do lotsa fun things.


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