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Avoid Disillusion when Retiring from Corrections
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 02/22/2016

Officer forumarticle2009mar The day you have looked forward to for so many years finally arrives as you walk out that front door or gate without looking back or thinking about tomorrow. The job is done, you earned your retirement and it’s time to move on. Retirement from any kind of work is never easy. Retirement is an important transition, an important event in life that calls for celebration.

The void you just left behind is hard to fill and life itself transforms into other shadows and shapes or sizes that also includes doubt and worries. Inside, there is a spirit once ready to devour any challenge you faced and now dealing with the thoughts of times of idleness, which were once filled with adrenalin rushes, anticipation, natural highs and leaps and bounds of happiness, contentment and pride.

It is easy to let the negative inner spirit devour you and put you into a vacuum. It is even easier for your mind to yearn for all of it to come back to you and never leave it behind again as your heart falls into a state of low self-esteem with negative feelings about yourself, retirement and leaving your co-workers behind in a most volatile and difficult work environment. Leaving the job and re-joining society creates a feeling of alienation as you have to re-connect the life you once had before and knowing the skills you learned and used to gain respect and accomplish very multifaceted tasks of the job.

Keep in mind, retirement is an everyday occurrence – however, it brings with it new things to do and a renewed energy to focus on other things in life. It’s not the end of a transition in life, it’s just another part of moving on with your life and a cause for celebration. An opportunity to grow even more than before intellectually and spiritually. Time has provided you a solid foundation for this celebration.

Retirement offers new directions and doesn’t make you less of a person – you remain to be a highly skilled and talented person. Your past achievements will only make future challenges easier and better because of these skill sets and help you decide whenever you want to do something, allot and allow you the time to go anywhere you want to go and make you realize that in some strange metamorphosis, you have become your own boss and decision maker. Those are huge positive attributes many don’t have.

You can decide if you want to work again somewhere else or perhaps your organization has a re-hire program that allows you to re-enter the workplace while drawing your retirement pay. Consider the loss of bondage of work versus the freedom to decide where you want to work or if you want to work. This is both a financial as well as a spiritual reward. There are many possibilities of a win-win situation.

Retirement doesn’t trap you into feeling “too old” in this new world. Accept the fact you are joining a large part of the population that has grown increasingly with greater acceptance and social status. There are a lot of freedoms associated with such status in our communities and bring new opportunities to remain active as a retiree and do the things you want to do. This feeling, by itself, should be inspiring.

Retirement can bring many new pleasures. Having gained a wide source of skills and knowledge you should be prepared to pass it on. Let your knowledge reach the other generations through mentoring, teaching, and sharing skills by volunteering to participate as this will not only give you satisfaction, but you will also stay up-to-date with your skills because you will need to ensure you're passing on the latest knowledge. Retirement is about distributing happiness and sharing wherever you go. Most retirees like to travel at first before settling down and rearrange their living styles.

Examine yourself during this transition. Keep yourself engaged. Stay active and participate in your favorite activities. Keeping yourself engaged will also keep you mentally and physically healthy.

Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

Other articles by ToersBijns:


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