Signs and Passages: Looking Forward to Retirement

My life has gone through some pretty big changes. I have retired  from my career of designing greeting cards for 39 years and I have become a new grandmother.

A new grandchild is a wonderful gift.

Retiring was my choice.

The problem of working in the corporate world is when you get to be around the age of 50 they put you on the shelf and at 60 they put you in the closet. I have nothing against young people. They keep one young and bring new ideas and perspectives.  But, when you have the twenty something  who  acts and talks to you as if you did not exist before them, that they conceive  being old connects to not being smart, or that life experiences of older people do not count in the present day world, that gets under my skin. The sad part is that this is common place.

Besides the “age” thing, my job that I loved was radically changing. I was fortunate to work in a protected bubble for years, but I could see that it would be soon short lived. I worked in a creative department as a designer. Being creative is described as  being a “right brain” function. An accountant is “left brain” function. But with creative staff being cut over the years as well as our schedules, many designers and illustrators were being heavily loaded up with left brain duties, for which they relied on from support staff. Of course no accommodations were being made for these added duties in the schedule.  Plus these non creative duties which now take up the bulk of time, do not fall into the field of what you would hire a creative person for. That would be like hiring a doctor to take all patient calls day and night, set up appointments, do the insurance and billing, maintain patient files, clean the office, etc in order to cut costs .  Little doctoring would get done. The patient or in my case the consumer looses.  Plus the schedules were not really being managed. It was becoming a nightmare.

The design studio which once was filled with illustrators, designers, lettering artists, and graphic designers offices, now boasts of several huge open conference areas with couches and chairs on which no people sit. Freelance is more popular because it is far less expensive than having a person on staff, but far more disconnected from the objectives of creating product that sells. We end up fixing and redesigning what we freelance.  Our help desk was even freelanced out. You call them with a problem and then they call back to another department within the building relating the problem that need fixing that they have no understanding of. Huh? Several days ago while I was still working there I had the wonderful experience of calling the help desk on a malfunction of software only to get a dial tone. They were offline for two hours and did not know they were offline. Who helps the help desk?

What once was joy and energy giving experience became energy draining. I once sat by windows and worked with people that mentored and were open to ideas. I brainstormed with editors and came up with ideas that sold.  In the end I sat in a corner “cave” office without windows with work loads that were problematic, the creation process  became exhausting and overcomplicated, analysis was personal speculation,  ideas were edicts from non creative departments, 25 year old buyers with no experience push their own agendas, and the greeting card customer is no longer thought of.

It was time. Time to go. Time to do things that I would like to do while I can still do them.

Although many of my friends have departed there over the years, I will dearly miss the ones that still remain. I will miss their wackiness and their creative energy and their practical jokes!

I will miss signs like this!

It was not an easy decision to leave, but it was the right one. I will still design, freelance, and play. However, I still feel like I should be calling in a vacation day or that it must be a Saturday, only with less people. I fear losing track of time, however when I designed greeting cards, I was never quite sure what year it was because we worked a year ahead.

I am in sort of a state of transition. My identity is taking a new turn. My goals are my own, but I have yet to write new ones. Although I don’t think of myself as old, I do question how many “good” years to I have left to play. Many ideas, many projects, but ultimately trusting in God. I believe He has plans for me to.

And among those plans I believe is in receiving the wonderful gift of a grandchild. I believe a grandchild is a miracle given to the old to keep their hearts from getting old. This is a change to a wonderful journey I look forward to.

If any of you have retirement experiences you’d like to share, I would look forward to hearing them.


About pinkpaperclip

By day, I am a designer in the social expression industry and art director of I enjoy a good story and the good people in my life. I have come to realize that the most important growth is spiritual and God blesses us with his love beyond our imagination.
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