I heard the term “short timer” for the first time while serving in the military. When a soldier would be getting out the Army soon, he was considered to be “short”. I am a short timer.
I turned in my 2-week notice at work yesterday. My last work day is Wednesday, May 20th. This may sound like a spur-of-the-moment decision, as I have written nothing of my thoughts in this direction. It was not a decision made in haste. I have been thinking about ending my employment with Blair, the company for which I work, for a while now. I have discussed my thoughts a few times with Bob, my stepdaughter Stacey and a couple friends.
I never intended to work at Blair for the long term when I accepted the seasonal employment position offered me in September last year. I intended to work only through the Christmas season. Then Blair offered permanent part-time positions to all its seasonal employees. I thought long and hard about accepting a permanent part-time position. I enjoyed talking with the customers; I enjoyed the challenge afforded me by learning new and different things; I enjoyed the “pat on the back” for a job well done; and I enjoyed the people with whom I worked. It was still winter. Bob and I pretty much stay cocooned inside during the winter months. Our days, weekends, weeks do not start to get busy until Easter time. The idea of a place to go, with some degree of social interaction possible, and challenging work week after week appealed to me. I accepted the offer of permanent part-time employment, but with a limited number of hours knowing that I would want more freedom as the snow melted and the flowers started to bloom and the trees began to bud. I had hoped that a work schedule of 16 hours, with at least three days off work each week, would allow me to continue to work at Blair indefinitely. That work schedule HAD been working well for me since January.
The first sign of the handwriting on the wall happened on April 8th, when I realized that I had been automatically enrolled in Blair’s 401(k) retirement plan. I had been receiving benefit-type material from Blair since January. I failed to notice that I had to elect whether or not to contribute to the company’s 401(k) retirement plan. My failure to state my participation desires resulted in my automatic enrollment in the retirement plan. Blair’s 401(k) plan is generous, and I would have elected to participate in the plan if I planned to continue working at Blair indefinitely. I requested to change my election to no longer contribute to the retirement plan on April 8th, realizing then that I did not intend to continue to work at Blair indefinitely. I had not yet decided, though, at that time when to cease employment.
Then came Easter weekend. In mid-February I submitted a request to have the Saturday before Easter (April 11th) off work. Bob and I had discussed extending the Easter weekend to include Thursday and spend our extended weekend in Virginia Beach visiting friends, if my request were approved. My request was not approved. I do not work on Thursdays, Fridays, or Sunday. I usually have off one other day of the week as well. The second indication of the handwriting on the wall happened during the week of Easter. I was scheduled to work 6 hours on Monday, 6 hours on Tuesday and 4 hours on Saturday. I had been been off work since Tuesday at 3:00PM. It was very tempting for me not to go to work on Saturday. We discarded our travel plans for Easter weekend so that I could work a total of 4 hours (from 12:30-4:30PM).
Four weeks have passed since the week of Easter. Spring is definitely in the air, with a hint of summer to come. During the spring, summer and autumn months Bob and I seem to always be on the go. I had hoped that my work schedule would not interfere with our lifestyle, but it does. So I finally gave in to my ever increasing desire to cease employment with Blair.
I do not want to stop working completely. I am too young to retire, and besides I won’t see retirement monies for many years to come. I am thinking of returning to Blair as a seasonal employee for the Christmas rush. At my current stage in life I seem to be happiest when working for only a few months out of the year. Thankfully, our lifestyle can afford my sporadic employment.
I am looking forward to making use of my new found freedom. Besides going places and doing things with Bob, I plan to give our house a thorough cleaning — a task that has needed to be done for a while now. I would like to do a little bit of gardening too. I enjoy a beautifully landscaped yard; however, I don’t seem to be the type who likes to play in the dirt. I expect to do some weeding, at a minimum. I hope to continue self-directed learning in all aspects of photography, a hobby of which I am most passionate. I plan to organize our important papers and photographs. This type of organization seems to be an on again/off again activity. It is an activity that is very important to me because I sometimes fear that I will succumb to Alzheimer disease, like Mom. Sometimes my mindset causes me to feel overwhelmed by this activity, and I work hours and hours day on end to accomplish what I feel needs to be done. Other times I can let it be; I don’t feel like there is an urgency to complete the task. My current mindset is somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.