Perspectives On…The Work We’ve Done and Letting Go

The joy (or threat) of retirement has enabled me to take a critical look at the last few years of working in the public sector in leisure service delivery. I oversee (for a few more days) aquatics and adult sports programs, services and staff. When the great recession hit California in 2010, we experienced deep cuts to staff and programs. As the recession has s..l.o.w..l.y come to a close, staff have had to become clever at “reinventing the wheel”  by changing the way we offer services and programs with fewer facilities and talented staff.

Like me, many long time employees have decided to retire due to the massive changes in leisure service delivery. At the operational end, my staff and I have worked very hard to create mechanisms and systems for dealing with these severe changes, processes with which upper management has no clue.

An example I can share relates to how we operate swimming pools. Two summers ago when there were only two full-time program staff to be on 24/7 standby while 8 swimming pools were open for 12 weeks, we had to basically work 7 days a week and be available all the time. New pool managers have questions, incidents happen, pools need TLC, etc. To make it even worse, we only had one full-time aquatics maintenance person who basically was on standby from the end of May until the middle of September. Two of these staff members ended up logging over 75-80 hours per WEEK!. Lot’s of overtime was handed out, but at what cost to the employees? I still can’t believe that we dodged a critical incident!

This all being said, now that our budget looks better, rapid changes are occurring, partly due to my retirement. Some of these changes affect staff and some affect operations. Now that I am retiring, why should I care, right?

But I do.

Over the last few weeks, using the Jenga game as the metaphor, my world has gone from looking like this:

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To this!

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Many of the processes I built and maintained are crashing down due to massive changes. It’s hard to take and definitely exhausting. They (management) could have at least waited until I left. I guess it will not be a problem for me in a few days.

As Elsa sings in Disney’s Frozen, LET IT GOOOOOO!

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9 thoughts on “Perspectives On…The Work We’ve Done and Letting Go

  1. Right conclusion; let it go. But I reckon that it’s a process that takes its time and you should not hurry up but let it happen.
    From what I have read on your blog in the last 3 months we came across each other, and moreover, from this post, I cannot but pay the utmost respect for your professionalism and dedication to your job, team and the citizens you serve.
    Taking ownership is not a common decision in situations such as you described, when resources are scarce and management detached from reality. Still towards the end you are not resigning from the ownership you feel for your job and all you built along the years.
    It’s hard to see it being changed and maybe disrupted or discontinued, following a new direction. You’re a mother though, and perhaps the way to look at it, to leave the place with a good feeling, is to think of your last years of work, as a grown up kid who is now on his own and you have no say, no control over it anymore.
    And just like all kids when they grow older and wiser, I’m sure someone will say: hey, things were great when Terri was here and her legacy is unforgettable.
    Be proud!
    More hugs from Amsterdam.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It cannot be easy to watch changes being implemented and your hard work undone before you are gone. It speaks to your obvious dedication that you still care, even in your last few days. It is wonderful that you were able to put in thirty years at the same place, though. My husband is in the state retirement system in South Carolina as a police officer, and we are hoping that there are no huge changes coming in the next six years until he gets his twenty-five years in. I believe you alluded to this in a previous post, but I think many states and the federal government will inevitably be facing major overhauls to their pension systems. I am glad you are taking advantage and getting out now! Something tells me that your legacy will live on after you are gone, and if you listen closely you may even hear your former co-workers saying, “When Terri was here we did things right!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have no idea how much your comment means to me!! Some of my staff are already worrying about my being gone next spring when we launch into summer prep madness. You are right about the retirement systems changing and I feel good about going now, while the going’s good! Fingers crossed for your husband’s next 5 years!! thanks again for the wonderful words!!


  3. So sorry that you’re seeing some of your work undone (or so I understood you) even before you’re out the door, Terri 😦 That is why you were such a good employee, I suspect: because your dedication to your job seems to have extended to a genuine concern for the people of your city. I’m sure it is hard to let it go.


  4. Your thoughts are much the same as mine before I retired from my job. It was hard to imagine not feeling connected to my workplace and fellow employees. I thought that I might “stop by” every once and awhile to see everyone. Reality: I’ve only been by once in seven months (and I only live a few miles away). I often have lunch with a couple of people I felt closest to but, when we start talking about work stuff, I can’t help but feel grateful that I don’t need to worry about all that “stuff” anymore. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

    Just a few more days for you!

    Liked by 1 person

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