A Little Background

For my next post I thought I should give a little personal background. I live in Iowa, have been married 23 years and have two grown kids in college. My wife works for a large hospital and I, well, I guess I do this for now.

I worked for a large insurance company for over 18 years, first in administration and customer service, then in IT. In 2006 we got word that the building I had worked in during the entire 18 years was condemned and the land sold to build a parking garage. Not to worry, though, they were going to relocate us.

The next year, on Groundhog Day, a meeting was called and we were told all of the departments in the building were being outsourced but mine, with a few other select people retaining their positions. I could not believe it! Not the outsourcing, we had been warned for years that might occur. It was the fact that I would have to stay on and move to a new location with a new boss and new duties while most all of my coworkers were now being forced to move on. I wanted to move on, too! I wanted to go down with the ship, collect my severance and transition, and find something else to do. My IT position had become stale after the first couple years, and I was on my sixth.

I went to my boss, presented my case, and asked to be let go. After a couple months of nail biting waiting for a decision, both the old boss and the new boss decided that if that is what I wanted, they would do what they could to make it happen. A few more weeks and finally I got the news I had asked for: I would be offered the same severance and transition package and was given the same termination date in July of 2007. Whew! What a relief.

My wife was supportive of my decision. We had paid off the house a couple years earlier and had been sticking away in savings the amount per month we had been paying on our mortgage. We had very little in credit card debt, owned all of our vehicles and had been putting money into some Roth IRA’s and mutual funds outside of the 401(k) I had built up at work. We could add myself and the kids to my wife’s health insurance policy at the hospital, where we had also been contributing to her 403(b). On top of all that my severance and transition package, after over 18 years, was substantial.

Finally, that day in July arrived. One by one we all signed our release papers, turned them into the boss, and walked out the door for the last time. In the parking lot we said our goodbyes, shook hands or hugged, got in our vehicles and drove away. As I was driving home from work that last time I felt a mix of relief and sadness. Relief that it was over and sadness that it was likely many of us would drift apart. And in the back of my mind was a little voice whispering, “Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.”

Next up: What in the world am I going to do now?

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