Two weeks ago, pretty much on his 60th Birthday, my Dad finally got his wish and retired from BT, where he spent the whole of his working life. 43 years with the same company will be unheard of (probably) in our lifetimes, and certainly that of our Son’s, but for the most part, he did enjoy his time there, working up from an Apprentice to a high position he (mostly) enjoyed.
Dad sent an email out to his colleague’s past and present on leaving, which I am going to share below, as it really got me thinking about “making the most of it”…
You may all have heard my news by now, but just in case you have not, I am finally retiring. I will be leaving the building as they say…
If I departmentalise my life into the four seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter, and apportion a generous 20 years to each, I am now standing on the threshold of winter . The snow flakes are already falling. I need to get a move on.
Having just celebrated my 60th birthday I feel the time is absolutely right for me to wander off and do something different for a change. I have already been to Reigate to tell my grandson I will now be able to spend more time with him and he was completely bowled over by this exciting news (as much as a seven-month old can be).
I feel lucky to be leaving having had someone batting for me and making a good case for me to be released early. In this business, without that you are going nowhere. On this occasion I got help in spades and to that person I owe a great debt of gratitude.
I don’t want to bang on in this email about my work history because you already know what a precocious talent I was. All I want to say is that you have been sent this email because you have been part of what I valued most about my time with BT, i.e. the people I have met along the way. I cannot think it could possibly be better at any other employer.
Setting aside the fact I’m always being called stuff like “a management spy” or “oh watch out, here comes that little black cloud”, and worse …whatever, I have enjoyed being part of the scene and I will miss it. And to the person I once wrote a reference for to get you into BT, a long overdue sorry perhaps….to BT! I took a chance and simply lied to them about you.
That’s about it . Please stay in touch. For those who remain with the ever constant pressure to perform, I will leave you with this famous piece of oratory, “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…” Theodore Roosevelt
My Dad’s reference to his life being compartmentalised into season’s actaully scared me a little. In a few year’s time it will be my Autumn – where has time gone? Have I achieved what I wanted to? Am I where I want to be?
For the most part, I’m totally over the moon and happy with my lot, and very grateful for my wonderful family and friends. This letter though has had a profound effect on my thinking though – time is precious. Most of us like to think we work to live, but more often than not, the opposite it true. Now that I am back at work, the majority of my time is spent in the office, away from those that I love, althought I’m lucky in that I have a job that I love, and colleagues I consider as good friends. Some are not so. The fact remains though, the balance isn’t quite right.
There are three things I’m going to take from my Dad’s letter, and remember going forward.
- Enjoy your time, life is short, so make the most of it
- Being IN the arena is key. In this case, it’s the life arena, so make those moments matter
- People matter
A bit of a reflective post for me today, but it’s important to sit and take stock sometimes. I’m proud of my Dad’s acheivement in his 43 years service, but I’m also bowled over by his words. Maybe that’s where I get some of my writing ethos from.
Have there been points of your life that have made you sit up and think?
Erin, Love from Cornfield… X