An e-mail went out at work yesterday annoucing the retirement of three of our employees. Is it wrong that when I read about someone leaving the company my first thought is, “What is their job again? Would that be a promotion for me? Am I qualified for that position? Could I get that job if I posted for it? If I couldn’t who might apply for it? Would they get it? What is their job? Would that be a promotion for me?”
Now, of course I’m happy for them that they are able to retire. I’m happy for them that they no longer have to wake up at 5am or 6am and come to work. I’m happy that they now have their days and weeks free to spend with family or to travel. I’m happy that they can leave the rat-race work place behind and enjoy their lives. I’m also happy that their retirement opens opportunities for me as I’m a hungry little rat in the rat race and I have every intention of taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way and that’s exactly what this is. For them it is retirement but for me it is an opportunity.
So why do I feel so weird about being excited that someone is leaving? Maybe it’s the timing. Perhaps I feel weird about it because it was my FIRST thought when I opened the e-mail but I don’t think I should feel awkward about it. I feel like I have every right to be excited about the prospect that new possibilities are opening up for me and my family. It’s not as though I’m walking around the office shouting, “Hurrah! She’s leaving! More money for meeeeee!” Of course not, I congratulate her on her retirement and I tell her I hope she enjoys her post-work life and ask her how she will be spending her stress-free days and I wish her the best of luck in her new endeavors. Then, later, privately I think about what I need to do to get myself in a position to take over her job.