Friday, March 16, 2012
It Is Official ... I Am Retired
I just got word yesterday that my retirement has been approved and I am officially retired. I took this news with mixed feelings. I would prefer to be working and in any case this is not the way that I wanted to retire from my career as a child welfare social worker. I loved my job. It defined me as a competent, caring, compassionate, professional. I had the respect of my colleagues and peers and the people in the community with whom I interacted on a regular basis. On the other hand, I know that I am not physically or emotionally capable of doing this job any longer. I feel weak and ineffectual. I knew my role and took pride in what I did and I know that if I tried to return to work it would be as a weak and ineffectual person, in a field where mistakes can be costly to children and families. And now I am done. Just like that. I never thought I would like some ceremony to mark this transition in my life but the way that this has come about for me is a bit unsettling. I would have preferred to have some ritual to mark my more than twenty years of work being a strong advocate for keeping children safe. This has gotten me thinking back on my career. I can remember specific cases with clarity, while others have been forgotten or I have just vague memories. I can remember specific children and take pride in the work that I did. What will define me in the community now? What kind of respect will I deserve as a reluctantly retired social worker? Can I be a competent, caring, compassionate, professional retired social worker? Will this gain me the respect of my fellow retired persons? It also occurs to me that this should be a happy time for me but there is genuine sadness in my retirement.