After 20 years in our careers, we are now unemployed...by choice
Call it a sabbatical, a hiatus, or one year of early retirement, but the two of us are now officially unemployed as one of our final steps in preparation for our RTW life reset.
Daily Countdown (20…19…18…)
Each morning for the month leading up to our last day of work, we peeled a sticky note off a stack with numbers counting down to our last work day. This was a great way to maintain our sanity and keep our excitement and motivation levels up. Since we gave our employers four months notice, there was a long stretch of time between the excitement of telling our employers and our last day. On Friday, June 15, 2018 we finally pulled number 1 off the stack and threw it away. Off to work we went for the last time…well, for at least the next year anyway!
Our Last Days at Work
My stomach was honestly full of fluttering butterflies going to the clinic the last day (I’m an outpatient physical therapist). It was mainly excitement with a dash of “holy crap, I am going to be unemployed after today”. I knew going in that morning that my day was super light, but my last one couldn’t come in any earlier than 2:30pm. Ok, no problem. I will just enjoy some extra time with my patients, use free time to gather up my stuff and actually take time to chit-chat with my co-workers (which I usually didn’t have much time to do during a normal work day and found very enjoyable). Well, as usual, things changed.
I found myself fitting in a new patient and getting called over to the hospital to see another patient. Not a bad thing because the new patient was super sweet and a joy to work with, and the patient in the hospital was actually someone I was familiar with, which made the visit fast and easy. Adding those two patients made my day go faster, which I was thankful for. So all in all, my last day was very low key and smooth.
I will say it was a bit bizarre packing up my things, handing in my work badge and walking out of the clinic that day knowing I wouldn’t be back for at least a year. However, I can’t say I was sad to see the clinic in my rearview mirror, especially knowing what was coming. How often do you get the chance to step out of your career for an extended period of time, reflect on what you like and dislike about it, and ponder on what you want to do for the second half of your working years? This is my chance and I am going to make the most of it.
Earlier in the week, my director and 20+ people I work with took me out to a going away lunch. It was great and in a lot of ways felt like that was the official “goodbye”, even though I still had two more days of work to go. The last few days were really me transitioning projects (I work in public relations and communications for a major healthcare system) to my other team members. Plus, since I was leaving I wasn’t able to take on any new projects. Long story short, unlike Rachel I didn’t have a lot to do on that last day. I did take the time to talk to or email people to let them know how much I appreciated working with them.
There were two funny interactions. In the first, one of my coworkers said that he wouldn’t be able to do what Rachel and I are doing. When I asked why, he said, “You’re going to be living on savings. That number is going to keep getting smaller…and smaller…” LOL. Thanks, man.
The second was close to noon. Another of my coworkers said, “I feel like I’ve been saying goodbye to you all day.” Hmmmmm…maybe it was time to get going?
Ultimately, after lots of hugs and best wishes from coworkers and one more, “Are you SURE you want to leave?” from my director, I was told to get going early afternoon. I turned in my key and ID badge, packed up my office, went to my car, started my car, and realized I forgot something in the building. Keyless and badgeless, I texted my director who laughingly came to the door to let me in so that I could get my belongings.
Has it hit you yet?
After work, several of our friends asked us if things felt different. We told them it basically felt like a happier Friday…slightly amped up and more energetic feeling. The next few days were busy hanging out with some very close friends that we would not see again before we left, including giving them some stuff to hold on to for us until we got back. We really didn’t have time to think much about it.
It didn’t really start to hit us until Tuesday, although there were a couple times both of us on Monday were already saying “what day is it?” Monday night into Tuesday morning was also the first time in days that Rachel didn’t dream about work. Finally, her brain was getting out of therapy work mode and switching to RTW travel blogger/vlogger mode. Pete, on the other hand, never dreams about work, so his brain did not have to go through the same transition.
That Tuesday morning we took our coffee down to the beach, recorded a quick YouTube video, and enjoyed not having to be anywhere at that moment. While we understand that we don’t have to go back to work, we are still quite busy with the final logistics as we prepare to leave on our RTW trip. Both of us suspect that it won’t truly hit us for another couple of weeks…perhaps until we get on that airplane with a one-way ticket!
Do you have any thoughts to share about hitting the life reset button? Please post below or contact us directly!