We paid the barista at our favorite coffee shop with a prepaid gift card as she asked if we were doing anything fun today. “We’re celebrating,” I exclaimed, “He just retired today!” I was pointing to my husband dressed for work in his standard-issue shirt and pants. The barista didn’t bother hiding her surprise, and I anticipated such a reaction since he looks so young; under 30 to most. In reality, Nick is 33.. which is a pretty early age to retire.
When the grind for the Corporation began 13 years ago, they offered enviable pay, a wealth of overtime, a full health and life insurance plan and an enviable pension. The job gave us much to value at the time; now we’ve come to believe the easy provisions also kept us from attempting to do any better.
Though he possesses a brain full of brilliance, Nick’s work required mostly physical labor and installations from house to house, most usually concealing a mixed bag of hostile pets, loaded weapons or dysentery. The work had begun to make him grumpy.
Eventually annual bonuses stopped arriving and Nick’s pension was frozen. We discovered the Union Representation was a corrupt and lazy group who had no interest in fighting for lost benefits. What the Corporation took away was replaced with red tape, close scrutiny and disciplinary actions, which brought about resentment and discomfort.
The job wasn’t what it used to be.
I would know, because my dad dedicated 37 years to the same Corporation. He began way back in the Golden Years, when the Corporation handed out bonus checks every December, provided daily lunch and travel stipends and held Union Barbecues in the summer so families could come together to eat, drink and talk shop well into the night. After all, many of them had stood shoulder to shoulder in protest during crucial contract negotiations.
In reality, the Corporation Nick worked for had just announced the offering of a shiny, tempting Voluntary Separation Package. They wanted to lose 175 employees so they could continue to look more prosperous than they actually are going into 2019.
After six years of chipping away at debt, moving 2,000 miles to find new opportunities and building up resolve to live more and slave less, we decided the conditions were right to jump ship.
I say “jump”, but my anxious mind envisions more of a “plop” from the large ocean-liner into an old dinghy with a leaky hole. We shove off into the darkness, where things below the inky black water go bump against the oars as we pull to fight away from the current circling the big boat.
Now, it’s time to hustle..