The Emotion Bomb aka Giving Notice

I think perhaps people assume that when you give notice at work that it should be some sort of big deal.  There should be shock, drama and all sorts of interesting things.  In my case, it was mainly boring, except for one thing. Why was it boring?  Because everyone involved in this decision knew it was coming.

It all started way back almost a year ago when I mentioned my plan to leave work would likely occur in the next year during my performance review (please recall I do blog publicly about my plans so work has been aware of them in some form for the last five years or so).  My boss and I were discussing how much notice he would like and we agreed to a figure of at least three months.

Then earlier this year during the work planning cycle I mentioned that I was concerned about taking on a project that I wouldn’t see the end of.  So I provided an updated on my plan and said that I would likely provide official notice after my summer vacation (I figure no one should make that sort of big decision without first being calm and relaxed – you know that feeling you have after not being at work for like two weeks).  And on top of that, I have even been dropping comments into conversations with co-workers that I would likely be leaving work this calendar year.

So like I said everyone involved knew this was coming, hell, I even had an appointment for 8am on the day I got back to work from my summer vacation to officially provide my retirement notice.  The meeting was only ten minutes long.  I handed over my letter of official notice (that I wrote six months earlier) and had printed off over a month ago (it was sitting at the bottom of a file at my desk just waiting for me to sign it).  So the conversation was short and I explained that my last day was Oct 27, 2017, but I was going to be on vacation prior to that so my last day in the office is Sept 15, 2017.  I then entered this information into our online system (which by the way I actually submitted my retirement notice, I didn’t just resign) and with a click of a button my days as an employee were numbered (because it says right on the form you can’t delay or revoke your retirement after you submit it).

Therefore on the process side things went very smooth so far and no drama or surprises.  Yet what I wasn’t fully prepared for was the emotions that ran through me on this day.  I woke up sort of nervous.  You know like when you have a important meeting or presentation to do.  I got to work and I got a little light headed and clamming skin right before the meeting (again nervous…after all I was ending my career here).  Then afterwards things got worse, I didn’t calm down or get better.  In fact, I was a ball of conflicting emotions.  I had feeling of being excited, fear, worry, anxiety and a good dose of thinking “what the hell am I doing?” all at the same time.  It was like my entire body was vibrating on a slightly different frequency than normal. Then the nausea hit in the early afternoon and I went home sick for the rest of the day.  I hoped it was food poisoning but in fact it may have just been emotional overload.

So despite having read a library of material on retirement I still wasn’t prepared for the emotional impact that hit me.  You can think you are ready, but nothing will prepare you for actually ending your career and jumping into your new life.  I wonder what other surprises await me in the days ahead.

12 thoughts on “The Emotion Bomb aka Giving Notice”

  1. Since it was public in your case it must have made it a bit easier. But I get it, now the reality of the situation has sunk in, harder to turn back at this point.

    I hope you continue to post your mental state as you transition into FI. It must be a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but for the better of having your freedom!

  2. That’s quite exciting. Entering into the unknown as it were.

    I myself, would probably not officially retire in any way, but I’d just stop taking contracts .. or not. I’m not sure.

    I’d have to officially decide to actively stop working to then “retire”. Maybe have an official retirement meal with my family or something!! 🙂

    Congratulations this is all very good fodder for my own future actually. I know what to expect and am sort of taken aback at how easy it could be .. as I think we have the same amount saved as a household as you do currently but I obviously spend way more money and need to tone it down (thanks for the encouragement and support via your posts), and consider what I want to do in retirement.

  3. Congratulations Tim.

    I can imagine it being nerve-wracking to not have to be beholden to a job anymore, especially at such a young age. But as you said, you did the math on this, and you’re better suited and have a better retirement plan at your age than most people are in their sixties.

    This has been a shock to your system, and it will get better but may take some time. I’d recommend taking some time to breathe in the mountains if you have any extra time, but Regina’s still a bit of a hike to Banff, so even just a hike in a nearby forest would do WONDERS.

  4. Hi Tim,
    I came across your story on the financial business post recently. Although the article was from 2014, but it was still an inspiring read for me. From that article I found your financial blog.
    I am an immigrant at a young age and now a registered nurse. I am almost 10 years into my career and see many of my senior co-workers retire in their 50s. I too, dream of an early retirement. It is sort of an unreachable dream for many immigrant families. But, here I am, with less than 50k owing on my mortgage at the age of 30. I will celebrate my 31st birthday next August by burning my mortgage. Then, like you, I will plan to an early retirement, hopefully at 50, but 45 sounds amazing. It gives me chills just thinking about it.
    Reading your blog gives me a lot of motivation to achieve my goal or becoming a mortgage freewoman and retiring early. Thank you for sharing your wisdoms and congratulations on achieving your goal of freedom at 45!

  5. Tim, your method of letting others know at work about your retirement was a lot different from mine. I was far more secretive than you were. I told only one person at work, a trusted friend and coworker who often asked me (tongue-in-cheek), “Why are you still working here?”

    The pieces of my retirement puzzle were falling into place in 2008 as I prepared to leave by the end of the year. Since the middle of 2007, I had been working only 2 days a week (down from 3) which may have been a warning to my management that I might jump ship soon.

    When the last piece fell into place, in late September I printed out my brief resignation letter I had been writing for few months and handed it to my bosses. It was a scary but exciting moment which actually didn’t startle them much. I gave the a month’s notice which translated into 9 more workdays. My goal was to get the one main project I had been working on for over a year all finished. I got I done, barely, late in the afternoon on my last day.

    At the end of October, I retired and became free-at-45 (and used that in my online search to find your blog).

  6. Congrats Tim, for finally making the DECISION! I am sure this is a big load off your shoulders. Please don’t stop chronicling your FI life as we all love to hear what you are accomplishing.. Like you, I have a resignation letter in my desk for the past year, which I periodically update with the current date. I just can’t pull the trigger yet.

  7. Good luck my friend. Our consumption needs are much higher so I can’t imagine retiring so early on so little but I applaud your courage and conviction. Can’t wait to see what the next chapters will bring for you. I’m sure your days of remunerative work are far from over. Don’t stop blogging!

  8. Tim, I have been following your blog for sometime. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, thoughts, and experiences.
    At the age of 57 I am ready to retire. I was going to tell my boss today and leave at the end of the month…….2 weeks working notice followed by already approved vacations. Our house sale was completed yesterday (Thank God the buyer did not renege or try to renegotiate!). As the mortgage still shows as outstanding and may take a few days to clear, I have decided to wait till I see the funds applied against the mortgage before I pull the trigger. Intuitively I know we will be fine…..but now that it time to do the deed I am nervous. Reading your blog and how you felt helps me put how I feel in perspective. Enjoy your retirement; I will continue to follow your blog

  9. Congrats! I am in the same range of investment net worth as you, live in Ontario. Close to jumping ship as well at 44.


  10. Today is my last day at work (early 40’s). I was on a course of one more year and wanting more and more surplus. I was spurred on by some sudden changes at the business where I work and I’m certainly nervous about this transition, but I’m also looking forward to the changes we will grow through as a family. I can’t say I have all my habits sorted, but I am ready to relinquish my focus on work as I had a role that had a long term focus – this was really hard to park when I was away from work.

  11. Thanks everyone! I appreciate all the well wishes. Sorry for the delay on getting back to you all but life has been just a wee bit busy lately.

    I will keep posting here for a while yet, so don’t worry.

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