There’s a fun little anecdote over in the comments at the Grandad’s place:
I retired at 60, and I’ve never regretted it. I worked for 43 years as a marine engineer and spent a vast amount of time away from my family. Now i have grandkids and have the time to see them on a regular basis. They are the family that I never saw.
Although I was obviously much missed by my outfit that I retired from:
Company servant: Hello Nick. Just ringing to ask you to send us your ID card and your anti gas respirator.
Bearing in mind that I was the longest serving person for the company in it’s entire history of just over 100 years.
One of the things I thankfully learned very early in my working life is that “the company”, meaning your employer, could not give two hoots about your overall wellbeing. Cynic that I am, I have been joking for years that if I got squashed/kidnapped/blown-up in the line of work the biggest concern my management would have is that I hadn’t submitted my timesheet that week.
The idea that a company cares who you are or would miss you should you go is one of the most common misconceptions employees have. I’ve seen guys resign and expect people to give a shit. “How come nobody even spoke to me about why?” they ask. “What about an exit interview?” They don’t care: you’re gone, somebody else will take your place. “But they new guy won’t know what to do!” they wail. “Who cares?” thinks the management, if they were to think at all.
I lost my best friend earlier this year after a long illness. When he was diagnosed he was thrashing himself in a job which kept him away from his family and took up almost all of his waking hours. His efforts were genuinely appreciated as proven by his boss giving a wonderful eulogy at his funeral, but one of the things my friend told me was how quickly they replaced him. He thought he was the only one who could do this job and as such felt he could never take holidays or work normal hours. Yet within a day or two of diagnosis the military – for he was a serving officer – replaced him with somebody from a different branch. The handover took a few hours followed by a single clarification meeting a day or two later and that was that. The military were good to him throughout and they are missing a phenomenal soldier, but even he was stunned by how quickly they replaced him and how little they missed him in the role.
He told me had he not fallen ill he would have leaped from one assignment to the next, each one more demanding than the last, fighting his way up the rapidly narrowing pyramid that is a military career. He’d have gotten far, too. The diagnosis changed all that. His entire outlook flipped and he effectively quit his work to spend as much time as possible trying to get better and, more successfully, get to know his wife and kids. He told me shortly before he died that if nothing else, he got to spend a couple of years with his kids which he probably otherwise would not have. He also advised me that killing yourself in a job is utterly pointless and one should concentrate on enjoying life more.
But he didn’t need to tell me that, I already knew.