For five years, he deceived his family that he was still working at his job
A gentleman I met at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana in January 2014, told me the following story about his former work colleague.
He said that in his old job, he had a colleague who for five years kept the fact that he was retired secret from his family. He said the former colleague was retired at sixty. But the pain of the loss of his job and the feeling of worthlessness made him lie to his family that he was still in his job. He went on to say that his colleague never told his family that he was retired from his job. For five years, he continued with his job routines until his luck finally ran out. His colleague kept telling his family that he was going to work and left for “work” except that this time he had no job to go to. Adjacent to his work place was a restaurant which he turned into his new work place. For the five years, this colleague would go and sit there to read news papers etc and went for his lunch break at the very same time just as he did when he was working at his job.
One day, his wife went out on an errand and decided to pass at her husband’s work place to take him out for lunch. To her shock, she was told that her husband had been retired from the job five years ago. She could hardly believe her ears. She challenged them that, that morning he had kissed her and told her he was going to work. One of her husband’s colleagues former invited her to come with him. He took her to the restaurant and lo and behold there was her husband. The woman could not believe what she was seeing. She asked him why he was not at work. At first he wanted to lie but when he noticed that a former work colleague was there he stopped and just said, I’m sorry. He then broke down in tears. He then apologised to her wife for not being honest with her about the fact that he had ben retired for about five years.
When they returned home his wife questioned him about the rationale behind his deception. He told her that without his career he felt lost, worthless, confused about who he was and how to organize his day. He said, for the past forty years I have been doing this job. It has become part and parcel of who I am and without it I feel complete lost, I have no purpose in life any more. There’s nothing out there for me except to watch television. I fear that I would feel bored. By keeping to what I know, I know what I would be doing when I wake up in the morning. I do not have to think about it.
His wife empathised with him and promised to get him help to stop him from getting depressed and overcome the loss of his job.
The gentleman concluded by saying “I wished I had met you five years ago, I would have asked my colleague to contact you. What you do is really important because most people do not think about life beyond their career and so retirement can be very devastating for them. I guess planning for retirement is more than just saving money, it is about how to fill your time with worth while activities as well as how to detox yourself from work mentality in order to embrace the opportunities that your new stage offers. Money was not an issue for my colleague, he just could not get the job out of his head and that is the scary part.
“You don’t get yourself ready for retirement in just a day or two. It’s a process of adjustment. It takes time to become accustomed to no longer having your familiar pattern of work, deciding how to spend your days and keeping yourself healthy and happy.” Sunsan E Kersley.
Register now and kict-start planning your transition from working full time to retirement. There is life after work.