What I Learned from Feathers, Pearls and Hats
Beautiful glitzy ballroom, glamorous women in feathers, pearls and sequins. Dudes in hats, ties (and SUITS). I went to my husband’s company party last night. Inspired by the Gatsby era, everyone was decked out and ready to party! As a former member of corporate America, I’ve had my share of attending company parties. As an introvert by nature, I’ve felt overwhelmed by being in a room with EVERYONE I work with. Not good with small talk, it’s been a struggle to figure out what to say, remembering what not to say (are you husband #1, #2 or “just a friend”) and hoping I wouldn’t say something stupid when I shook the CEO’s hand.
But it wasn’t my party and I’m not part of corporate America anymore. Got to say, I had a great time.
I’ve been thinking about what makes the company party experience different now. Hey, I’m still an introvert; big groups still make me gulp and I still am not always a confident conversationalist. Now I could see and appreciate the efforts of busy people with long days at work who drove home to change clothes, dress up, find babysitters, let out the dog, and then came to connect and celebrate at a party with their coworkers. I wanted to be part of the connection. I realized how much I missed it. I loved the overall energy and connecting myself with both who I knew and who I happened to meet.
Not going to a workplace anymore made me appreciate the value of connection with your co-workers. I never thought much about it when I was working at a company but now I do. Connecting with others is a feel-good thing. It’s something you can miss out on when you don’t have co-workers anymore. The connections, the conversations, the shared jokes, the goofy business acronyms you share all contribute in some way to your work identity. So if you don’t have coworkers, it’s likely you will miss the daily connections you had with people. Sometimes the connections are better than others but they still contribute to making up your daily life. And your identity.
Connecting with others and finding a replacement for your workplace identity is something to consider when you retire. I couldn’t have learned this lesson in a more fabulous environment. Party on!
People of all ages struggle to live a more meaningful life, but the struggle to identify a meaningful retirement is very real. Working with a certified retirement coach can help you frame what’s important to you and how to work towards it in order to find a meaningful life in retirement. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your journey and how we can help.