Saturday, October 19, 2013

How To Retire Without Freaking Out

My new badge of distinction!
Retirement from a chapter in life that's lasted a long time is a bit of a yoyo. You go from having a very structured schedule to complete freedom. This takes some negotiating in order to create some balance.

I had planned to retire at some point after my kids all flew the nest and started to spread their wings three years ago. I wasn't sure quite when I'd retire, but eased myself into it by going to part-time for a few years in order to devote more time to the artwork I love to do.

Pretty soon I found I was burning my candle at both ends because I loved the artwork so much I was constantly working on various projects. It was difficult to leave my studio in the mornings, and I'd look wistfully over my shoulder on my way out the door to the office. Then when I came home after a full day at the office I'd work on some lovely project involving sparkling beads, color, line, form, great music, and satisfaction. 

When I finally decided to retire from the office work and devote myself to the artwork full-time the expanse of freedom confronting me was intimidating to say the least, so in order to create structure and a new sense of purpose I wrote myself a letter, this time as the boss (me) to the new employee (me). I love to read this letter because it reminds me of where the new freedoms are in contrast to the limitations of the other working lifestyle.

What's the purpose of this letter?

When you find yourself confronted with too many things you love to do and a backlog of projects that have been started but not yet finished, it helps to create a new structure around that, sort of carrying the best of the project management skills from the office to the new place of work, my studio--so I began at the beginning by welcoming myself onboard.

How do you write a letter like this?

  • Ask yourself what you'd like to hear from a new boss
  • What kind of culture and environment best suits your purpose?
  • What do you want this new boss to recognize about you as an employee?
  • What do you want from this new boss? (recognition, praise, opportunities for advancement, flexibility, creative freedom, encouragement, and support)
Here's what I came up with, and I'm pretty thrilled about signing on--

The Letter

Dearest Jen,

Welcome aboard! We’ve been very eager to embrace you as a full-time member of Dreamkeeper Creations! Thank you for deciding to join us, we anticipate wonderful things to come.

We’re thrilled that you’ve decided to join us in the business of bringing beauty into the world and feeding souls through Dreamkeeper Creations, our joint venture composed of the mix of mind, body, spirit, and soul and the sharing of our results for the benefit of all.

Our mission is to shine a light that will illuminate pathways that others can take to sustain themselves, and to offer support and encouragement where needed to help others reach their potentials. We understand that you have a solid base of experience and we’re excited to be able to facilitate your use of the talents you’ve developed, including your artistic creativity, as well as your business acumen. We’re also here to lend energy to your endeavors, and support in a number of additional ways.

We appreciate the dedication with which you’ve devoted yourself to your endeavors throughout your lifetime up to this point, and we applaud the creativity, the relationship building, and the sharing of all you’ve learned with those who can benefit from it, including family, students, faculty, co-workers, and the larger communities of those in your fields of expertise.

We appreciate the unflagging devotion to doing your best, being your best, and providing quality resources to help others reach their best potential, including love, support, encouragement, information, technical facilitation, and product enhancement through the application of creativity, instructional design, and innovation.

We know from your track record that you’re great at applying yourself, and we’d like to support this. Please feel free to spend as much time learning as you want to, by watching videos, taking courses, soaking up the resources that are widely available on the Internet, attending workshops, conferences, and trade shows, and take all the time you like to practice and perfect your skill sets.

We pledge to provide you with all the resources you need, including fresh air whenever you want it, sunshine as the climate provides, surroundings that provide the right atmosphere for your creativity, including quiet, stimulation, exposure to others in your field, sleep, meditation, and relaxation when and where you feel would be the most supportive of your continued application of your talents and skills. We also encourage you to take whatever time you need to reflect and savor your accomplishments.

A few words of advice – please feel free to exercise whenever you feel you’d like to get out and about, as well as take in a change of scenery. Don’t forget to check in by meditating whenever you feel you’d like some guidance or inspiration, we’re here for you all the time. Sleep when you need to, work and play when you need to. We’re all about balance, which we feel is great for bringing you to your best potential. And please feel free to play whatever music or television entertainment you like for background inspiration.

Drink lots of good pure water, tea, and if you feel like it at times, wine in celebration.  Take whatever time you like to prepare your food – make a salad, fry an egg, or go out to the cafĂ© to partake of nourishment. Spend time with those who encourage and love you whenever you like, including your fur peeps.

About compensation – the sky’s the limit! What comes around goes around – do your best and you’ll be rewarded with the best of the best in all forms (time well spent, kindred friendships, happy customers, and the wherewithal that sustains you and feeds your soul as well as those whose lives you touch through giving).  

We appreciate all that you’ve done in support of your endeavors and look forward to your application of all of your talents and skills in your position with Dreamkeeper Creations. We’re so thrilled for each moment we get to spend in pursuit of our common goals.


Warm regards,

DKC Team

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Who wouldn't want to sign on?

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