Last month – December – nine people, with a combined tenure totalling just north of 200 years – retired from where I work. That Sort of Thing prompts some reflection. Or maybe it was the time of year. Anyway, it’s fun to hear what they are planning to do next, and the looking forward to when that day will come for me, with the hope for sooner rather than later. Of course most people only have good things to say – both the people retiring about their time working, and their colleagues about the retiree. But there are sometimes not so good things that don’t get said, at least not too loudly.
So that’s something that comes to mind – what will people say about me when I leave – if anything – and will I be missed? Not that I would go so far as to use the “legacy” word, but I’d rather there wasn’t a feeling of relief that I was gone in my wake. And I certainly have no illusions of indispensability – no matter how long someone has been here or how hard it is to imagine the day-to-day without them, somehow things seem to keep on keeping on even after they leave. Which is a reminder, I suppose, to not take oneself too seriously.
Being a public agency, tenure is probably longer than at private companies, and being in a work group of four makes it seem particularly unchanging – I was “the new guy” for over ten years! But at company wide functions there are plenty of new faces. I don’t feel like an old-timer, but all the retirements did make me wonder how far into the listing of most to least recently hired employees I would be.
Which also brings up the question of longevity and history and institutional knowledge and not reinventing the wheel versus new ideas and trying different ways – which aren’t mutually exclusive, but sometimes it does take new blood to get things to happen.
Anyway, I can’t live to far or too much in the future, but every once in a while it’s good to take a peek – both to plan for it and to do the things today that will help make it what I am planning for.