31 August 2009

The Last Paycheck

I got my last paycheck today.

Aside from a couple of years as a freelance writer in the mid-80s, I've had a full-time day job since I was an undergraduate in college -- back at the dawn of time, seems like. I always told myself the Protestant work ethic wasn't much of a motivator for me. My job was what I did, not who I was. I liked my work and I was good at it, but it was just a job. It paid the bills. One of my favorite quotes was: "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." (Samuel Johnson). So, finances aside, leaving gainful employment shouldn't be any big deal.

I half expected to find out, push come to shove, that wasn't true. 

Turns out, I don't miss going to work every morning as much as I thought I would. My last real day on the job was June 19. After burning through eight weeks of accumulated sick leave and vacation time, I'm not (yet) in withdrawal. It's still a relief to realize I won't have to spend the day struggling to do things I never used to have to think about.

I will miss the talented, creative, witty people I worked with, even though it's been years since I saw them in the office every day. I know I won't do a good job of keeping up with them, once I'm no longer in the e-mail or IM loop. I will miss the geeky toys and new technology. And, with my 401(k) barely adequate to finance a long weekend, much less early retirement, I will really miss that paycheck.

I will really miss that paycheck.

In other news, a very cheerful person from the insurance company called to say my short-term disability claim has been approved. At my next doctor's appointment, they want me to get my doctor to estimate when I will be able to return to work. That strikes me funny, even though I realize most of their claims are for people who are likely to get better, not worse. And if I called my neurologist today to make an appointment, it would be six months before I got in to see her.

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