Angry About Retirement Parties

I’m angry about retirement parties.

“Happy Retirement” keg stands in your future?

The University of Connecticut (and pretty much the state of Connecticut), just threw a retirement party for longtime head basketball coach Jim Calhoun.  He worked hard for them and stayed loyal and they stayed loyal to him during some rough times as well.  He had a hugely successful career that included 3 national championships over his 26 years as head coach at UConn.  He helped generate much success and revenue at UConn and he’ll collect a hefty pension to retire on; no one feels guilty or cheated.

My father had a retirement party when he left his employer of 45 years.  He worked relentlessly for all of those years and drove achievement of ever higher sales goals year after year.  Nights, weekends and even while officially “on vacation” for 2 weeks per year he was dedicated and “on the job” for his company and his customers.  He loved the challenge and beating the competition and overall he was well compensated enough to raise a large family and send them all to college.  The party was great and included old photos and stories about his dedication and drive as well as humorous anecdotes from co-workers, bosses, employees and his customers.  He made them a lot of money and they were grateful for his contributions, happy he would get to travel and relax, and sad he wasn’t coming in to work next week (or ever again).

My father-in-law is retiring in November and will no doubt get a similar, well-deserved send-off too.  He’s very smart (Mensa smart), hard working and dedicated, like almost all of my friends and relatives who will be forced one way or another to change jobs every 5-10 years or so in the name of “maximizing shareholder value,” “management restructuring” or something similar to make a fiscal quarter or two smell better.  My generation and those which follow it will follow a different path than the “company” men and women that preceded us in the workplace, a much more wasteful one for all involved in my opinion.

Yes, I’m angry about retirement parties.  More specifically I’m angry about the lack of real retirement parties (like Dad got) to look forward to for the rest of us.  An impromptu happy hour drink or trip to the nudie bar with a few co-workers on your last day before taking your next job doesn’t cut it.  I want a cake, a keg, bourbon, embarrassing stories and perhaps even a stripper or two in the office when I “retire” after a long career in a good firm that understands the irreplaceable value of institutional knowledge possessed by its smart, loyal workers.  Too much to ask?  Probably- (11)

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