Leaving company after 25 years

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    I don’t expect to find many who will relate to my situation, but here goes…

    My company has offered buyouts to employees. I was not expecting to be included in the offer because I am not that close to minimum retirement age, but it turns out that the years of service formula does make me qualify. I am likely one of the youngest employees who has been offered the buyout.

    I am desperately unhappy working here. I have held seven different positions within the company, none of which really involved promotions, but my skills changed/upgraded with each move and over the years I have had some very important responsibilities, some of which I still have. But the depressing pattern has always been: I do well in a position, learn new skills, become indispensible, etc… and then there is a company reorganization, which plops me in with a bunch of new people who don’t know me and I’m on the bottom of the totem pole again. I work hard, learn stuff, become “indispensible” again, etc… and then get reassigned/reorganized again somewhere else (the company does internal reorgs every few years it seems). Cycle repeats. I just never get ahead, and I sometimes get promised title changes that never come… and I’m so demoralized at all of this, that I just don’t care any more. At this point, I feel like I am being treated like a temp. Everyone emails me with urgent things to do, but no one really seems to want to be my boss. I didn’t get a performance review this year or last year… it was like no one could be bothered and no one was officially “my boss.”

    Every “time to quit your job” signal is there, every bit of writing on the wall points to my dwindling relevancy at this point, it is really time to move on, but all I can do is sit here and cry and cry that it has to end this way. Everyone thought I was going to retire from this company, I make good money, but I feel I’ve reached the end of my rope. I have no trust for anyone here any more, I feel like I’ve been jerked around so many times even though everyone “loves” my work and gives me empty thank-yous and gushes about how I saved the day, etc etc. Recently, I was re-orged again and now I don’t even have my own cube, just a co-working space and I have to lug a heavy laptop around.

    So, I’m going to accept the buyout, which is not a hugely great deal, but fortunately I have saved up several years living expenses in addition to the buyout money I would get. I need to get out in the work world beyond this company (a big employer in my town) where I have worked since my 21st birthday. I don’t know what is the best thing to do. Even though I have worn many hats there, I’m sure employers would just laugh at my resume which is from just one company and only two or three job titles over 25 years spread out over different internal departments. I’m not even sure that employers in my company’s field would want to bother with me. I have some good skills I think, but I feel like all they’ll see is ONE COMPANY FOR 25 YEARS.

    What should I do? Should I try to get temp or short-term jobs to see if I like them? Will they laugh at my resume too?

    I know I have to change things about myself too… there must be a reason why people love my hard work but don’t want to see me as promotion material. Is it that this company is dysfunctional, or is it just me, or both?

    Why did I stay so long? A lot of things… paralysis caused by overwork burnout and depression probably, the money was good, and everyone in my family had me convinced that I had this awesome job at a great employer with great benefits and I was gonna retire at 55 and… well, that’s not happening.

    I am ready to leave, but I feel so disillusioned and burned out and just plain SAD, that I don’t know what I should pursue. I’m glad I can financially make this move at this time, but my future is just so murky. Emotionally, I feel like I’ve been laid off, even though I’m getting a severance package. I’m afraid of falling further into a depression once I leave, and not getting started on a new life.

    • This topic was modified 8 years, 10 months ago by YB.
    • This topic was modified 8 years, 10 months ago by YB.


    Sometimes when we’ve outgrown our nest, that nest begins to contract in order to push us out. You’ve noticed for a long time you weren’t happy, weren’t being validated, being used but unappreciated. But also, you had concrete boots. Now, that concrete has been shattered, and you have a firm boot on your bottom to get the funk out.

    It’s normal to be afraid of the unknown. Natural. Only sociopaths don’t feel fear. But you are also surrounded by blessings, many fortunate events that are helping your new phase begin. Said differently, you’re being pushed out of your nest with strong wings already grown. Though it’s difficult to trust, try to relax and do just that. 25 years at one company shows loyalty, and in this day, that’s a rare commodity. You also have a good buyout, so you don’t have to scramble. Good things, friend.

    As for the tears, yes, let them flow, its alright. The lack of validation, then leading to a one sided breakup naturally produces grief. It reminds me of a toxic relationship breakup. The company is fat headed, organisationally egoic, distracted, negligent. There comes a point when the quest to find validation from a toxic employer (or partner) has to be let go of, cried out, yelled out, shaken off. Be patient with yourself as you do this, and it will fade away as you heal.

    Finally, what do you want to do? If you could do anything, what would that be? Consider: you’re approaching a blank canvas with many wonderful colors, and you can paint almost anything you want. The confines of the nest sometime make it difficult to dream, but as your tears dry, consider resting with those questions in your heart. The path will open up before you, when the time is right. Relax!

    With warmth,


    Dear Yonderbell,

    You are not alone! I just did exactly the same thing – exited after 28 years at the same company, at the tender young age of 56. My “buyout” consists of 6 months severance pay and my lump sum retirement payout. I’ve had my ups and downs, and I don’t have a new job yet, but on balance I know this is the right path for me. From your story, I can tell you made the right decision too. You also were overdue for a change and your heart has led you here. Don’t doubt yourself – you know, deep down, what you need. This is because you are a survivor. That’s right – all those years, your company could have dumped you, but they didn’t. They kept you on. You survived – even thrived, because you have something to offer. You may not see it that way at the moment, but it’s true. You must not compare yourself to the 10% of the world that appear to be the most “successful” by some external standard. You set your own standard for success – you already have by understanding that your company was failing you. What good would it have been to be a “success” in that organization that you are leaving? Would you have really wanted to be at the top and run the whole thing? Would it really have made you happy? There are better things to do with your life, and Something has pulled you away from all that in favor of something better. That Something Better will come along soon enough because you are a perceptive individual, if you just give it a chance to work itself out. What you need is some trust and faith in yourself. Tens of thousands of us are facing this exact same thing, and we are all pulling for you.

    Here are some suggestions:
    1. Get yourself on LinkedIn and get recommended by some people you trust. They don’t have to be former bosses. You’ll be surprised by the nice things they will say about you.

    2. Get reconnected with friends and acquaintances that are not part of the company you just left. Especially ones that have left that company and have been away for some time.

    3. Tell everyone you meet that you are looking for a new opportunity. Don’t be shy.

    4. Exercise every day. This is critical.

    5. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else – you are on your own journey, and you decide what is right for you. As my wife likes to say, “Don’t compare others’ outsides with your insides”. Everyone has their struggles that you don’t know about.

    You’ve done the right thing. It’s going to be OK.
    Best wishes!


    Curious to know how things have turned out for YB.

    Im approaching 29 year and looking to make 30 years in about 1 yr and 1 month, at which point i’ll have a retirement available to me with medical.  So in some regards, am in a good spot.

    However, that last 7 years or so have been pretty bad…just enduring one shit show after another trying not to get laid off before making to 30.  A new shit show is now starting and days lately am not sure I can deal with BS and discrimination.


    @YB or others…how does it feel now ?

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