Thursday, October 11, 2018

Missing Work

Four weeks of leave in October. One week of Rostered Day Off leave in early December. Christmas week off from accumulated leave. Work all of January until the 3rd of February, then Long Service Leave until May and then eight weeks holiday until July. It is pretty unlikely I will return to work in July 2019.

Workmates urge me to use up sick leave, and I know my doctor is compliant. I was actually so stressed by work a couple of months ago, he gave me sick leave for one week. It did help. But in all conscience I can't just 'use up sick leave'. It is there for when you are sick. I have over one thousand hours of sick leave that work has to budget for, but can reduce on their balance sheet once I retire.

I worry that I won't adjust to having this all this extra time in my life. I worry that R and myself will struggle with so much more time together. I worry that I won't get off my backside and join in things that interest me. I worry that I won't have enough money to support myself.

But at the end of day, I've had enough of work and the twice daily commute in increasingly congested traffic. I've been advised that I have enough superannuation to provide a sufficient income until I can receive the old age pension at 67. Bastards, it used to be 65 and I miss out by ten months.

There is not much I will miss about work. While I try to regulate my my work times to almost normal day times, that is start at 6:30, break from 10:30 until 2:30 and finish at 6:30, many is the time I have been up for work at 4am or still working from the night before at 3am.

But what I will miss is my workmates. They are both locally born and from all corners of the globe but predominantly now the Sub Continent. I get their warts and all view of the world, about Australia and their countries of their birth and all in between. Years ago there were quite a number of rogues in the gallery, but not now. Mind, the rogues used to be great fun people, just not with a strong and decent work ethic....some without ethics at all.

The coffee machine at work was broken. This causes me maximum inconvenience. The short black coffee is drinkable with a little hot water added and cost $1. I had to allow extra time to go to the nearby 711 to get coffee, also $1. It is of about the same quality as the work machine produces. It is hot and it is wet but not proper coffee like I would have in a cafe that would cost $3.50.

While the machine was making my coffee one day in the 711, a workmate who was paying for his coffee called out, what coffee are you having? I replied and he paid for my coffee. What a nice thing to do. Perhaps I am not the evil uncaring person I paint myself as at times. Ha, thinking about it, over the years many people have bought me coffee at work and I don't think I have ever bought anyone coffee. I have offered at times, but people always said no. I did buy a chocolate bar for a student once, who turned out to be a non chocolate eater. Many years ago one student bought me a bottle of Scotch after successfully completing her training. She was not a natural at the job, but I got her through it.

A couple of years ago a new person started at work. He is a tall nicely proportion bearded and very handsome Sikh, who wears a turban. I am so old now, I am generally ignored by new staff, especially by the influx of positive action female staff. They are polite and friendly but I am a sixty year old gay man. I have nothing in common with 20 to 40 year old women. They won't be my friends.

But not so the Sikh Indian, who seemed to like me and made an effort to get to know me. Why is this man being so nice to me? I still don't know. He has now stepped up on a rung at work, drives a new white Mercedes, volunteers in his local community and is positively the nicest person you could meet, aside from being hot as anything and makes me feel weak at the knees whenever I see him, and behave like dumbstruck teenage girl.

A few weeks ago I relieved him from a shift and he gave me a biscuit. Try that, he said. Oh Sukyi, I want much more from you than a biscuit. Nevertheless, that was nice. The biscuit was very good and reminded me of a childhood sweet called Coconut Rough. The next time I saw him, I told him about the Coconut Rough of my youth. I think he is quite ambitious and follows the adage, be nice to people on the way up. I mentioned about the sweet to a gay workmate who quickly deflated my ego with, he's given them to me in the past.

In my work mailbox this Thursday morning were my payslips and another of the same sweet with this sticky note. What a nice thing. There are some things about work I will miss.

34 comments:

  1. I remember those days. The spark of coming to work had gone and the unofficial countdown to retirement had begun.

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    1. Victor, I feel a bit like I am in suspended animation in some way. I expect that is similar.

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  2. Think of it as the beginning of a whole new chapter in your life.

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    1. Maire, that really is a good way to think. I'm trying.

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  3. It took me two years to adjust to Jack's retirement. My God! When working he was home three days and gone for four. Or more. I had my own little life and suddenly he was there all the time and expected breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every day! It was an adjustment. Now, I cannot imagine him being gone. I enjoy his being around. But I do get away to see the grandchildren and occasionally go off for lunch with a friend.
    You will be fine.
    The cookie sounds interesting. Both the edible one and the gorgeous one!

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    1. Maribeth, when R used to work I always had my three hour lunch time at home alone. That changed when he stopped, but if he goes out to the shops or whatever, he usually does it when I am home to give me some peace. Of course you do get used to it. Thanks.

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  4. Andrew, Just a few years ago there was a marvelous tv documentary all about retirement in Japan. It seems that all those young couples that wed in the 1960's, that fresh optimistic industrial age, well many of them recently came up for retirement.
    And all of a sudden the divorce rate shot up in Japan. Couples (with children) who barely communicated throughout their marriages realized that they really didn't have much in common and couldn't bear the thought of being stuck around the house all and every day with each other, hence the deluge of divorces a few years ago.
    But I'm sure you and R will get on fine. That time of freedom might open doors to new activities.

    Although I'm curious about this "Long Service Leave until May." I wonder what that's all about.

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    1. Dee, that is quite fascinating. Of course Japanese salary men spend a long time at work and commuting, and so very little time with their wife and children. Add to that, that they live in quite confined spaces, I suppose it is not all that surprising.

      Long service leave varies and mine is quite good. 13 weeks paid leave every ten years, pro rata if you leave before the anniversary. So I will have 52 weeks next year, but I have taken a few weeks already. Non unionised workplaces tend to be 13 weeks every 15 years.

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  5. Some people are pure joy. Yesterday my daughter worked on her birthday. One of the teacher's left her a packet of biscuits because she had overheard a conversation about English biscuits. Pip was thrilled. She works part time and working on her birthday was an extra shift. I am also so pleased that my darling girl is able to find the joy in simple things and doesn't have huge expectations. It is a great recipe for contentment.

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    1. Suzan, I wonder if they know what a difference they may have to someone's day, or even life at times. I am pleased Pip enjoyed such a simple and kind gesture.

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  6. I never used my sick leave which, back in those days, was fortunately allowed to accumulate. Then unbelievably I suffered sciatica (from nerve pain caused by a herniated lumbar disc compressing the sciatic nerve). The State Government paid me months of sick leave!

    At least in the State Government, these days, workers have to use up their sick pay by the end of each calendar year or so.

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    1. Hels, what you describe is so common. What probably caused it was you sitting on your bum at work for long periods. When I first began at my job nearly forty years ago, the first five days of your sick leave would accumulate as holidays, as an incentive to not take them.

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  7. From my limited experience, all Sikhs are very pleasant people; I believe it's written into their philosophy.

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    1. Cro, we don't have that many here, that are obvious at least, but my experience with them has been good. Actually, I forgot about all the recent arrivals that can be seen driving trucks and delivery vans. So they have some extra driving skill?

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  8. Just think how joyful Mother will be with two of you on hand to slave for her.

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    1. Jah Teh, when R is exasperated with Mother, he says it will be good when I can go and visit her instead of him. I argue that he can go one week and I will go the next. ABI is her slave at the moment, as much as he allows himself to be.

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  9. When you stop working it's a huge change in your life. Some people like it, some not. It took me almost 3 years to get used and to find hobbies and other things to fill in my time. It had been an awful time for me.

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    1. Thanks Gattina. It is good to get your opinion. I am thinking you liked your job.

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  10. Weak at the knees? Wow. At our age 60+, that's pretty rare. Enjoy it while you can. Dreams are free.
    Now, about this "enough superannuation to provide a sufficient income until I get the old age pension at 67"
    I hope you don't mean to use up ALL of your super, then rely on the pension, because that's a pitiful existence. When I retired, I was already on a part payment from Centrelink and opted to receive a minimum amount fortnightly from my super, so I could stretch that out as long as possible. I don't know how they've invested it, but my super balance is now higher than when I retired so that's a good thing, but relying on the two small payments I get fortnightly doesn't leave room for luxuries.

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    1. River, yes, very much dreams. No about super. I hope to have enough to supplement my old age pension. That little bit of extra can go a long way. Very interesting about your super.

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  11. It is an emotional roller coaster time. But you sound ready. I was the same. I loved work but at 70 I decided I had had enough. I knew it was time to quit. I think that helps you adjust. We love retirement. You can do what ever you want when ever you want. (within your budget of course). A good financial adviser is essential. We started with a good one for many years and then he retired on us. Since then we had unimpressive ones and the company was taken over by another and another. Luckily a friend pointed us in a new direction and now we have a good one again but we lost money when we had the poor ones.There are heaps of things to do to keep your brain and body fit, especially in a super city like Melbourne.

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    1. Diane, I am only 61. How you worked until 70 I do not know. Clearly you are are a high achiever. And or financial advice, my money is not complicated and in government super hands. I hope and trust that it will look after me.

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    2. Yes, thanks heaps for your comment. Many have gone down this road before me.

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  12. I think you might find it hard at first Andrew, it's the daily routine I guess, but I'm 100% positive you will soon grow to love that extra time to satisfy that incredible curious mind of yours. Don't worry enjoy each day whatever it brings. Keep some seperate interests and you and R will be fine ✨

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    1. Wise words, Grace. Keeping something separate is a good idea, as I have noted from you in the past.

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  13. Oh make a plan is all I can think of to say. When we leave something of long duration, that has been good and bad, its very tough. It's like moving to a new neighborhood, or something. my older brother now stays at home and when he ever talks to me, by phone, which is not often, he complains about almost everything and how bad his life is that he never gets out. I say things like, "well, get out and do something" and he has a million excuses. So I don't know if his life is as bad or if he makes it bad or if he is making out to me its bad to try for sympathy. he will say "my family never visits me" and I want to say, "well you up and moved to Idaho and you never ever visited me when you lived in Oregon" but I say nothing and let him complain. He is semi retired, works a bit from home. So I suggest you make a plan so you don't become a bitter politically obsessed complaining hermit, as it seems my brother has, although I doubt it really. I think he just uses me to complain although I don't know.

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    1. Strayer, that is really not me and I feel sad that your brother is like that. And who wants to talk on the phone to someone who is constantly complaining.

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    2. It's a bummer when he's like that Andrew, a real downer.

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  14. Old age pension is still 65 here in Canada, but then they take it back from us as they decide we make too much!

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    1. Not good, Jackie. There are big protests in the UK about increasing the age to 67 for women. It must already be that for men.

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  15. My retirement age will also be at 67 so I still have many years ahead, as with moving around from country to country hasn't left us with retirement funds anywhere. My husband and I both contribute an extra portion to super so that hopefully we won't have to rely on the government pension. I'll have to rely on his as my pension is still tiny since I only work part-time.
    You have a long lunch break, it must make the day go on and on. I think nice colleagues make the difference in a job, I sometimes find my job as Practice Manager at the Clinic too stressful and have days when I just want to look for another job, being with 6 receptionists and 5 Doctors (with the exception of 1 Dr who no one likes) we all have a great relationship, and I would miss that.
    I think men might have a harder time at home when they retire as usually they don't have hobbies or other interested apart from work, but I'm sure if you find something to do to get out of the house once in a while you will be fine Andrew. In the meantime you have all that leave to use up, enjoy it!

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    1. Sami, yes that does make it difficult for retirement if you haven't had super for most of your working life. I like the long break to get things done at home, and spend time on the net. Yes, there can be great camaraderie in such jobs. You're probably right about men and retirement, especially if the other person has only done paid worked part time or not at all.

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  16. I have just recently gone through what you are going through Andrew. Work was getting tiring doing all those shifts, 7 til 3, 3 til 11 & 11 til 7. Then they were moving to 12 hour shifts 24/7. Not for me at 63. Gave them my notice to retire earlier in the year finishing up on July 2. Lucky had a good work super fund ended up with lump sump and defined benefit pension. Was worried to if I’d have enough to retire on, but all is good so far.
    T works from home with his clients, so I make sure I get out every week day. Gym to keep fit, visiting friends who work shifts, looking after house and garden. Will get into my hobbies next year. Retirement holiday starts Mon - 5 weeks in Europe & Vietnam.
    You will get into a routine of just doing things you enjoy and things you enjoy doing with your partner. All will be good you will find out.
    I haven’t felt better letting go of the stress from work. Still catch up with a few close workmates. Life is good.

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  17. I agree with you about using sick leave when you REALLY need it, as opposed to the mental health days. While I don't disagree with mental health days, I think it's important to save up those days for when you REALLY need them. I have over 4,000 hours of them up my sleeve, in the event I face a serious illness

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