Retirement – it’s still hard!

This sudden retirement for me is still  very hard. 2 ½ weeks later I am still struggling to get my act together. Sunday night was the first night that I had gotten a decent night’s sleep. Not so much tonight since I am writing this at 2AM.

I met with a financial adviser today. She talked to me about so many things that I need to digest. It’s crazy! I do have a healthy 401k and a pension payout that I need to figure out what to do with. I am so confused about what to do with my pension option. I tried to explain to the financial adviser that the 401K I am not concerned about because up until now it was “funny money” although a good chunk of money.  I meant that it was something I couldn’t touch. But on the other hand the pension options are concerning to me because that is what I will need to live on. We are meeting again on Friday. She says because of my age I really should take the lump sum and roll  it to an annuity and not to take the Qwest pension annuity because once selected I have no options to change it.

I have lots to think about! I want to make the right decision for me and Tara as my beneficiary.

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So where to begin? How about unexpectedly today I became retired!

A recap of the email I sent to my friends and posted as a note on Facebook.

When my boss from Salt Lake City called me at 6:40AM and I saw that she was calling from a phone in my office I knew what was coming. But it was a total shock! The boss covered me on all of the official severance package stuff and I requested my pension package. Its official my work email is shut off and I changed my voice mail greeting to say I was retired. I just realized my “life” was on my Qwest Outlook calendar. But I guess that doesn’t matter now that I don’t have to consider work when making appointments.

Remember about 18 months ago all of the managers in my organization where asked for a show of hands as to who wanted to volunteer for a severance package. It took me three long weeks to decide to say yes only to not get the offer. I was ready then, it was on my own time and it felt right. When that offer didn’t happen I was OK with it and decided I would work for several more years before retiring. So today when it happened I wasn’t in that frame of mind and I was really not ready to hear this news. Let’s just say that I was in the wrong place at the right time.

For the first time in 33 years it looks like I am going to have a real summer vacation. I am not going to jump into anything. I need to figure out what I am going to do and take it day by day for now.

Corporate changes but I’m OK with them

So I started my morning as usual today. Got up, checked personal email, Facebook, a few blogs and then company email. Imagine my surprise at 4:30AM to see an email that came in at 4:13AM from the Qwest CEO, the company I work for announcing a merger. This merger is with CenturyLink (Century Tel) and is expected to have all approvals and complete in the 1st quarter of 2011.

The business unit that I work in, Business Markets Group will remain intact. That was a stipulation of the merger negotiations. That means that BMG retains our headquarters in Denver (not Monroe, LA) and the EVP who runs the unit today stays. BMG is the revenue machine of Qwest. CenturyLink is primarily a consumer and small business provider. They have a small sales group like BMG.

Others in the company that may have duplication of work are most likely those at the upper management levels. Two CEOs, CFOs, head of legal, etc. will be the ones who will be affected. Not those of us in the trenches who do the work and bring in the new revenue.

So once this merger has completed I will be able to say that I have worked for 4 companies and never had to move, change jobs or lost vacation (actually I gained 2 weeks with the last merger) in 33 years. In fact, I work in the same building that I started in back in 1977. I have worked in 4 different buildings but all downtown Portland.

CenturyLink merged with Qwest Communications in a deal Thursday morning that is one of the largest telecommunications deals in the United States. The transaction is estimated to generate over $625 Million over a 3 to 5 year period following the transaction.

Qwest, a leader in voice, network, and data fiber-optic services for businesses, agreed to merge with CenturyLink (CenturyTel, Inc.) in an all stock deal in which CenturyLink’s shareholders will own 50.5 percent of stock in the company to Qwest shareholder’s 49.5 percent.  CenturyLink is a chief provider of video, voice, and broadband communications services to residential and business consumers. The company reported 2009 revenues totaling $19.8 Billion

The new corporate buzzword – Viral Marketing

I never thought that the 100+ corporation that I work for would become a modern, hip company. The latest trend in marketing has come to my company. We are on Twitter, have a channel on Viddler, a Facebook page and now have an imaginary Facebook friend.

Here’s what my friend said when she suggested I add this friend “Hello all,
I run our National Events program at my company and this year at Interop Las Vegas (huge IT trade show), we are doing a rocker spoof on an 80’s hair band. His name: Johnny Lee Ross, legendary front man of Twisted Riot. We’ve created a profile on FB for him to do some viral marketing and we need him to look like he has alot of fans… if you could find it in your heart to accept the friend suggestion, it’d be greatly appreciated!”

So being a good corporate citizen I accepted the friend request and now have an imaginary 80’s rocker as a friend. Crazy, huh?

From Wikipedia:

The buzzwords viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet.

The view from my office windows this morning

Yes, that is a giant crab. It is on the roof of the building where Jake’s Famous Crawfish is located. Jake’s is one of the oldest restaurants in Portland. For whatever reason they put this crab up around St. Patrick’s Day and it stays for there for a few weeks. I am not sure what the connection to St. Patrick’s Day is.

Here’s a better photo that I found on Google Images.

Office rant – who cleans up after you at home?

There used to be a sign in our other office’s kitchen that said “Your mother doesn’t work here so clean up after yourself.” When we moved three months ago that sign did not make it to the new office. I wish it had. Maybe I just need to make a new one.

I want to ask my co-workers:

  • What does your kitchen look like at home?
  • Are drawers and cabinet doors left wide open all day?
  • Do dishes pile up in the sink for days, while the faucet drips a soft “plink, plink, plink” into a bowl with the remains of an oatmeal breakfast hardening in it?
  • Are coffee spills left in little puddles on the counter tops and floor? Are there coffee grounds on  your counters?
  • Does the microwave look like something exploded in it, then got baked well past its desired cooking time?
  • How does your refrigerator look and smell? Are foul-smelling microorganisms growing on food that expired months earlier?

Come on people we are all adults. Remember your mother doesn’t work here. I may be the one that usually buys the dish soap, sponges and dish washing thingy but I am not going to clean up after you.

Another office rant is “If that was so important to print why the hell didn’t you pick it up off the printer?” People print things and they sit for days or weeks before someone (usually me) tosses them in the recycling box. Hello people we live in Portland the “greenest city ” in the USA.

OK, now I feel better.

Holiday clothing project – helping kids in need

I usually coordinate a Holiday giving project for our office of about 65 people. In the last 10 years we have given generously to many area agencies to help the homeless, abused women and their children and kids in need.

I sent an email to all of the local employees in my department on November 19th asking for suggestions for a holiday project. Coincidentally less than a week later I received an email from one of the local Telephone Pioneer’s project coordinators regarding the holiday project they were sponsoring this year.

Subject: CHILDREN IN NEED CHRISTMAS PROJECT. “Pacific View Pioneers has decided not to adopt a family this year, but instead help approximately 54 children in the Gresham-Barlowe School District, who are in desperate need of clothing. Grade levels are from 1st grade up to senior in high school”

I forwarded this email on to all my co-workers suggesting we take part in this project rather than doing our own this year. The need had already been identified, someone else was coordinating and all we have to do is pick a gift tag off the Giving Tree set up in our building’s lobby. Easy as can be!

I picked a 6th grade girl who needs a sweater. I went to Fred Meyer yesterday to buy a sweater and ended up buying three sweaters and a fleece sweatshirt. They were all on sale for 30% off. I decided to go down to the office this morning and pick a few more kids tags off the tree. I went back to Freddy’s and bought 2nd & 6th grade girls coats and gloves and a 7th grade girl shoes, socks and slippers. The girl’s coats were on sale for 50% off, gloves 40% off, shoes and socks on sale too.

Tomorrow I will deliver the purchases to the Pioneer’s store in my office building. I am hoping that many others have selected kids and made purchases to help. It makes me feel good to help others. I am glad to be in a position financially that I can help make a difference for some kids in need. Plus it was fun shopping for kids.

The Pioneer’s Giving Tree