Retirement Speech

It was a battle but I finally finished up the retirement speech. 891 words. Roughly 7 minutes.

The corporate retirement reception is tomorrow afternoon at 2pm. It will run for an hour and I get to bring it home at the very end.

I will post the speech tomorrow after the reception. You can let me know if it made any sense at all.

Technically I will have two more days at work after the retirement reception tomorrow. I’ll clean out what little is left of my belongings on the Thursday. I have a luncheon with the CEO on Friday and then time to celebrate this transition with my family. They have a set of events planned for me this week-end. Regardless of those plans, I am just thrilled to be with my wife, my children and my grandchildren for the week-end.

Lorraine and I will then head out on a Norwegian cruise. I expect the posts will be very limited over those two weeks as we will be either on a ship with limited Internet access or spending our days touring Norway.

The big transition to retirement is almost here. When I provided my notice last October it seemed like it was so far away.

Three more sleeps.

I will wake up the same person though.

Just without a job!

Exit

I’m just about finished the transition work at the office. And there has been a lot of transition work. Since I provided my notice to retire back in October of 2017, the pace of work has been pretty intense.

Now? The pace has backed off dramatically. My successor started last week and aside from introductions and transition planning discussions, my workload has reduced a lot. I have only a few days left before I retire so I am not surprised that things have started to wind down.

There is one task that I have been putting off and that is writing my retirement speech. My company is holding a reception next Wednesday and next Wednesday will come up fast.

My speech will be short as retirement speeches should be. 5 to 10 minutes at most.

Shouldn’t take long to prepare right?

A word of thanks, a few words about the company and the team and perhaps a few words of wisdom about corporate life.

Although I have spoken extensively over the years at industry keynotes, corporate events, boards, especially my years lecturing, there have been a few speeches that I found particularly challenging:

  • I was asked to be the commencement speaker for the graduating students at the college where I used to teach.
  • The father of the bride speech for my oldest daughter.
  • The father of the groom speech for my oldest son.

I had such a hard time putting my thoughts together for each speech and even though I am very comfortable with public speaking, all three events terrified me.

I am just as terrified about this retirement speech next week.

Time to start working on it.

Retirement

14 days to go before retirement and a few retirement events are now beginning.

Last night my management team held a retirement dinner for me. Such a wonderful evening and such a great team. Incredible food at a beautiful location in the country with dear colleagues and friends. So honoured to have been able to serve with this team.

My retirement gift from my management team really means a lot to me. The Mont Blanc LeGrand is inscribed with the words Best Boss Ever!

To be remembered this way is both humbling and rewarding.

And there is a bit of a back story about the pen itself.

During my career, I have held senior executive roles at two large Canadian insurers and one very large Canadian bank, having served 10 years at each company.

For almost 15 years, I carried a Mont Blanc LeGrand with me every single day that I was working. Regardless of location, regardless of business travel, that pen was always with me. I loved the feel, the weight and the quality of such a nice writing instrument.

Then one day, at the bank, I had left my pen at the office. I had set it down for some reason, forgot to pick it up and when I returned to the office the next day, it was gone.

I was reluctant to spend the money to buy a new one as it was a very expensive pen. I did without it.

I did miss the LeGrand though and I felt badly about having lost the pen.

My executive assistant who has supported me both at the bank and at my current employer knew the story about the lost pen. She helped to decide on this retirement gift with the team.

Such a perfect gift!

I will cherish this pen not because of its feel, weight and quality. I will cherish the pen for the engraving and the memories of working with such a fantastic team.

A few more retirement events before I finish in two weeks. And then a new chapter of life begins. So looking forward to getting out there with our coach.

It’s Official

Announcement

Richard has announced his plans to retire in the third quarter of this year. Richard joined our company as Senior Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer in 2008.

Over the past decade he has ably led our Information Technology division, tackling the myriad of issues that come with the rapid evolution of technological change and digital innovation and ensuring the organization’s IT and project management capabilities are keeping pace with the change.

We will miss his deep knowledge and his ability to share complicated ideas and concepts in a clear, simple and engaging way.

We are focused on a transition plan in light of Richard’s well-deserved retirement and will share news with you as decisions are made. In the meantime, I am fully confident that the strong IT leadership group Richard has built will continue to enable their teams to meet the needs of our business.

Please join me in thanking Richard for his many contributions and in wishing Richard and Lorraine all the best for a long, happy and healthy retirement together.

Details on a retirement reception will be shared within the next few weeks.

Mark
President and Chief Executive Officer

The Four Phases of Retirement

“Everyone says you’ve got to get ready financially. No, no. You’ve got to get ready psychologically.” — Lee Iacocca

The countdown to retirement on our RV Castaways website has changed from months to days. I must be getting close to retirement now.

88 days.

Dr. Riley Moynes, a fellow Canadian, has published a book, The Four Phases of Retirement, to show me, and others approaching retirement, what to expect.

The first phase is called “Vacation Time”. Extended travel, hobbies, time with family are all hallmarks of this phase. Some retirees never get past the first phase. Perhaps those of us who intend to travel mostly full-time in their motorcoaches hold on to this phase for as long as possible.

Moynes calls the second phase the plunge into the abyss of insignificance and considers this phase to be one of the top traumas that a person will face in their lifetime.

The loss of structure, identity, relationships, purpose and a sense of power can lead to starting the third phase of retirement, the trial and error stage.

If you are to accomplish anything with what time remains, it needs to happen soon. The relevant question is how will you contribute. So, you might try a few things. And if it works out, you enter the fourth and final phase of retirement, reinvented with purpose.

Moynes was asked what percentage of retirees get stuck in the first phase of retirement. He claims that he knows only two people who have remained in the first phase and who claim to be happy there. According to a Harvard study that he cites, the unhappiest retirees had not gone on to do anything productive beyond pleasing themselves.

An interesting and perhaps controversial read. It certainly made me think about what happens next in retirement although I am really looking forward to the first phase. I expect Lorraine and I will continue to be productive contributors to our family, friends and community and I will do everything I can to avoid spending much, if any time, in phase two. Plunging into the abyss of insignificance does not sound like much fun!

You can learn more about the four phases at Moynes’ website here: www.thefourphases.com.