Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I just retired from a job I held for almost thirty years. I was the
administrative manager of a company and wore many hats, from
contracts to personnel. I planned my retirement for two years,
systematically divesting myself of responsibilities and training various
people to take them over. The company has gone through
restructuring so there is no one person who now wears the same hats.
I left everything clear, clean, and turnkey ready. But in the two
months since I have left I have gotten calls or emails virtually every
day asking for information about various this’s and that’s. I’ve tried to
be patient and educate people but I just want to go to yoga and take a
hike without being pestered. How can I get my former colleagues to
respect my new life?
Wanna Be R.e.t.i.r.e.d.
Can you spell c.o.-d.e.p.e.n.d.e.n.t? That’s a good description for the
process of symbiosis you have created between your new life and your
old one. You say you have new interests and activities you want to
move on to. But there’s also clearly a big hole in your life that retiring
has created. Your coworkers are somewhat to blame. But you need to
accept that you’re enabling their continued dependence, and that your
desire to remain indispensible is crippling both you and them.
Financial incentives may clear up this problem pretty quickly. Take
your former hourly wage and double it. Then send each person who’s
calling you, cc the CEO, an email that says: I love helping my
replacements redirect the ship of state onto a new smooth course. But
I can no longer do it for free. Please acknowledge receipt of this email
and the attached letter of agreement for consulting services with your
(CEO’s) return of the executed agreement. The agreement should give
you the right to send them a monthly bill in quarter-hour increments
for the time you spend answering questions. It should include a
sample invoice that’ll detail who called, topic, and time spent. My guess is that you’ll make a little money for a little while and then
they’ll go away. If you prefer to make more money and keep this
going longer, lower your consulting rate. But be clear why you’re doing