Although retirement is the culmination of years of effort and activity, it’s often portrayed as the last school day before glorious, unfettered summer.
For some people, it is. For most, there’s much that will be lost. Treasured friendships. A sense of identity and value. The security of a paycheque. The comfort of routine. The pride that comes with mastery of a job well done. For many, retirement is similar to historical maps, where uncharted portions were titled “here be dragons.” A world out there that is often unmapped and unmentioned.
A fitting retirement ceremony can acknowledge all of these things while:
- Honouring a co-worker’s (or loved-one’s) past
- Acknowledging their contributions, and
- Imagining their future.
A retirement ceremony can be simple, touching, and fun for everyone. This is one of my favourites!
I think it’s a shame that this major life passage often goes by unrecognized, especially after years of dedicated service. I hear stories about Friday events where retiring business, school, healthcare, or government employees are gathered “en masse” on their last day so their co-workers can say good-bye…with little or no individual recognition or acknowledgement.
How appreciated must that make people feel?
I also think it’s sad that the “roast” has become a staple retirement party tool. It’s like taking pokes at someone who may already be feeling a little disoriented, and perhaps a little tender. Yet I understand that people often use this format because they don’t want “boring” or “sappy.”
There’s also a whole new business attitude out there, and that many of the “frills” that for years were normal have disappeared amidst budget cuts and time constraints.
Often, it’s up to co-workers, family and friends to organize a final farewell. Ask me how! I’d love to help make your event something folks won’t easily forget.