May 28, 2020

Finished my second week of excellence in pool supply retailing this week and all continues to go well. I’ve learned a lot and am still learning, but it’s all starting to come to me easier now. My store manager thinks I’m a great asset to the store, we’re kicking ass in sales compared to last year (we’re already 138% over what we were budgeted for this year), and its a fun and informative place to work. Sure, it would have been nice to have a “Summer of Doug” to just relax and decompress from my prior job, but I’m not sure I would have been able to just sleep in and putter around the house.

In my mind, the ideal “next life” would involve a job that allowed me to continue working from home, but without all the stress of my former job. Absent that, I was more than willing to accept a part-time, 2-3 days a week/24 to 28 hours job that would be 180 degrees different from what I had been doing. As I’ve said in this space before, were I ten, or even five, years younger, it would be an entirely different story – concessions would have to be made, and I don’t think they would be very good ones. I know that already – the further I get from the healthcare IT meat grinder, the less inclined I feel to ever want to go back to that ever again.

How do I know that? Well, the store manager wanted me to listen in on the weekly corporate sales call call a week ago Monday. I don’t know what it is about corporate senior management: no matter what the industry is, they all seem to sound alike and use the same tired phrases, phrasing, and buzz-speak (i.e., bullshit) no matter where you go. They’re all pushing folks to work harder while claiming to be concerned about everyone protecting their personal lives. They’re always pushing for more revenue and greater resource retention, but heaven forbid if your good workers seek to be paid more than minimum wage. No matter what you are doing well, it can always be done better (there’s no sitting on one’s laurels, for sure!), and anything akin to bad news is always couched in terms of “opportunities”. It’s such bullshit. And just listening to whoever the asshole was that was speaking gave me flashbacks to my prior work existence. So this week, I just let the assistant store manager listen in, contenting myself with store cleaning and shelf stocking and arranging.

It’s still a little difficult reconciling this new life with my old one. I miss my fellow team members from my prior gig. I miss the action. I miss the feeling of accomplishment and making the seemingly impossible possible and the exceeding of expectations whenever we accomplished something no one expected. And yes, I guess at least mentally I’m missing the stress. I’m not missing the money yet because I’ll still be receiving my severance pay through August, but I sure will come September. But by then I think I’ll be feeling better about everything anticipating when I turn sixty-five in October and start receiving my pension from an even more former life; it’s not a huge one but it’s not peanuts, either. By that time I expect this pool supply gig will be ending (it will be the pool off-season) and I can then figure out what, if anything, will come next.

But that just seems so far in the future right now. It seems more important for me to take every day as it comes and enjoy it for what it is.

I guess the bottom line is that I wasn’t quite ready to be “early retired”. I guess I always thought my retirement (whenever it came) would come on my terms and in my own time frame, not someone else’s, and I’m having a hard time adjusting to that. Perhaps when I turn sixty-five early retirement will feel more natural and come more naturally to me. While I’m still sixty-four, however, I’ll just have to learn to deal with it. I will say this: I’m just glad I was able to make it this far and be in a financial position where I don’t have to hit the bricks and find another IT gig that paid somewhat near to what I was making – psychologically I think that would be very difficult for me to do.

So I’ll just continue to do this pool supply retail gig and enjoy it while it lasts. I’m fortunate that it doesn’t really feel like work: with the severance pay I’m getting, the little pay I’m receiving (and it is little, I can tell you that!) feels more like house money than anything else. It’s 180 degrees different from anything remotely resembling what I was doing just two months ago, so it all still feels unnatural and not a little bit unreal. The hours themselves are a little more than what I originally wanted: I’ll be averaging ~ 30 hours a week Sundays to Wednesdays given the longer store hours the corporate dick-heads are demanding. But I’ll still be getting three days off (including one weekend day), and it’s not really getting in the way of anything else I had planned, so that’s plenty good enough for my first foray into “early retirement”.

And if this is what the “Summer of Doug” is going to look like, than so be it.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 17:20 | Comments Off on Summer of Doug
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