Yesterday for the first time I told our county executive and some of the executive directors that I was going to retire. I was nervous all day. I think contemplating the idea of retirement and then actually telling people you’re going to retire and then putting a date out there, well, it just made it more real.
I was anxious but I decided to go for it. It turned out so much better than I thought it would. Our county executive gave me heartfelt congratulations and thanked me for my years of service. It felt great to hear his appreciation. But then the conversation took a turn.
During this time of Covid-19 local governments around the country have been especially affected by sales tax receipts drastically plunging. Our county, the home of Boeing, and located just north of King County has a spillover of population from people who work at software giants like Microsoft and Amazon. Our once boom economy with jobs and prosperity is now facing the looming possibility of significant budget cuts. It was interesting to me that as soon as I made my announcement, we started talking about potential opportunities that my departure will open up.
If there are going to be drastic changes due to revenue shortfalls, I’m happy that I have given an eight-month timeframe to be able to provide input and feedback to help decision-makers and elected officials with my perspective. One of my goals is to “leave well”. Like the track runner passing the baton, it takes hours of practice to get it right, I am hoping to assist with my own transition.
I’m planning on writing an email and sending it out on Friday to let my own employees know about my retirement decision. However, I started last night calling colleagues that I’ve known for 30 or more years to tell them my news. I didn’t want them to find out that I was retiring from an email that would get forwarded by members of our staff.
It was so gratifying for me to call people from my past and present, people that I care about and tell them personally. Many of them are already retired and it was inspiring to hear their stories. They are already giving me some great ideas of things I can do and activities to try and places I can go to. One friend, that I worked with over 20 years ago, has moved to New Mexico and I already have an invitation to come visit her in the spring following my retirement. This is going so much better than I thought it would! I know there will be some hard days ahead but for right now I’m on a high. I’m really excited about the future, focusing on finishing well and I’m pivoting to thinking about how I’m going to “Rock My Retirement!”