So it happened and I wasn’t entirely surprised. I got an email from my workplace back in Janurary asking for some help on something. Which to be honest was the first time they had done that since I left work. Also I give them credit as it did sound like they did really try to solve the issue themselves but they have run out of options and have to contact me.
I will admit I did have a momentary fantasy of saying no and telling them to piss off just because I can. But in reality I’m not that kind of person and I actually do respect the people I used worked with. So agreed to have a quick look at the issue. The key word in that phrase is a quick look. I’m not putting hours into an issue that really isn’t my problem and I wasn’t really interested in a contact if they asked.
I haven’t thought about my old job all that much and I’m not particularly in the market to start doing it again. I spent my kids’ Christmas vacation being ‘off’ the entire time and not working on much of anything and very much enjoyed that feeling.
So I compromised on their request. I set a timer for an hour and opened up the email and examined the files and reviewed their questions. Of course with a set time limit I could not do a detailed review but rather I provided some general advice on items to consider and where to find more information. I checked the timer at the end and still had four minutes left when I hit send on the email.
Unsurprisingly they came back with follow up questions to which I replied that I would not be answering as I only addressed the first questions as a personal favour for my old boss who I admire. Then perhaps against my better judgment I included an offer if you absolutely need me I would be willing to come in to consult for a very short contract. I crossed referenced a site I knew with suggested consulting rates. I set a rate and then suggested we cap the entire contract to a mere 25 hours. I don’t want to be there for long and I don’t particularly want this to drag out either. I have other items I need to be working on.
Then it occurred to me how would I feel about going back for even a short time and the response in my head was clear: I would feel ill. I never really like the office environment all that much and don’t really want to go back but if you pay me a boatload of cash I would be willing to do it for short period of time.
In the end it worked out fine. They never did come back to me asking for a contract or any more help. They obviously decided to deal with it on their own which makes sense. Using me would me just put off them having to figure out how to do it on their own anyway.
So how would you handle someone asking you to help out at your old workplace after you retired?