Change is hard. We all have an instantaneous response to hearing that something major, or minor, is going to change. Do you jump up and down and yell, “Yea!”, or do you freeze with panic and scream, “Noooooo!”
On April 23, 2013, at about 5:30 pm, my boss told me that there was going to be an announcement the next afternoon and there was going to be a reorganization. Our division was going to be reduced from 51 offices nationwide to 10. If you didn’t currently work in one of these 10 offices, you had to move. My initial reaction was to say, “Noooooo, you can’t be right.”
The announcement was indeed made. My anxiety dropped when they announced that early retirement would be granted. I was eligible to retire. Lovingly, we referred to the options as the RRRs. We could Relocate, Retire or Resign. 15 months later, after almost 26 years of federal service, I officially joined the Retire Camp.
Even after finding out I would be eligible to retire, it would result in a substantial pay cut. I vacillated between relocate, commuting home weekly, or accepting the retirement package. The commute would be either 3.5 hours or 5.5 hours depending on where I would be stationed.
Now I had to consider the financial cost to maintain an apartment in another city, not to mention the emotional cost of leaving my family Monday through Friday for at least 4 years.
Weighing input from an absolute stranger, my best friend, and my husband, I made the decision to retire. Then I had to convince everyone else that it was the best decision for me!
The stranger’s guidance was, “Follow the money. Once you figure out the money, everything else will fall into place. How much will you lose with your reduced retirement versus working the full career?”
My best friend asked how much I would have to earn to remain in Oklahoma City, my hometown. I said about $1,500 per month to keep food on the table. She said that I could work at Stein Mart and earn that much AND get a great discount!
Within 48 hours of hearing the news of the three R’s my decision was made. I explored other options to avoid early retirement, but not too seriously.
Now, what was I going to do?
I had just finished an assignment training staff and conducting leadership development sessions across the country. I was out of town about 48 out of 56 weeks that year. I loved it! I had also loved all the training I had conducted throughout my career. So, I began the journey to start my own Professional Development and Consulting Company!