Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Poetry at Work: The Poetry of Institutional Memory

I’m talking with a colleague at work about his retirement. We’re going through one of those endless series of departmental reorganizations, and he’s announced his intention to retire some months from now. I’m interested in the mechanics of his decision; he’s less than three years older than I am and once he retires, I will be what’s left of institutional memory not only for our organization, but perhaps even for the entire corporation of 23,000 people.

“I talked with people who’ve retired from the company,” he says. “And while there are the financial things you should have been doing all along, and there are things you might want to do after retirement, what they tell me is pretty simple. You can’t really anticipate it until you’re in it. No one effectively plans for retirement; there will always be little surprises, and likely some big ones to. You really are entering another phase of your life, and life can’t really be planned for.”

I’m reminded of something I just read at Donald Miller’s Storyline blog. “Knowledge over an issue gives us the false sense we can predict it and understand it and in some ways control it,” he writes. My colleague is telling me the same is true for retirement.

This is not idle question for me to while away the hours considering. The question of retirement is not assuming an urgency, but it is looming larger, larger than it ever has.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

Photograph by Mel Clark via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.

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