Did it.

I can’t believe I am writing these words.  Yes, I had The Conversation with my boss.  It went very well.  Here’s why.

After a lot of thought, and discussion within the family, I decided I would offer my boss an arrangement where I could work part time on contract for a while, use that time to help hire and then train my replacement, continue to offer global PR consulting to the company’s clients, and pass on some more knowledge to my stellar team.

It was the best choice for me – despite all the advice I had received to the contrary.  “Just walk away”. “Make a clean break”. “This just postpones the inevitable retirement pain”.  Gaah!  I really didn’t need to be reminded of transformational problems.

Here is the main reason I chose this path – I genuinely like the majority of people I work with.  If I retire this way, I am not leaving any knots untied, everyone can prepare for my eventual ride into the sunset, and I still have enough time to take care of the most immediate needs of my dear mother in law.  Lunch with my besties will just have to wait for a while.  I want to leave the company I worked at for 21 years with no regrets.

I saw this as a win-win, and prepared my arguments just like I would in a press release outline. I was honest about my reasons for leaving, and why I thought this proposed arrangement could work out best for all involved.  I then proceeded with The Pitch.  It worked.  My boss is a very smart man, and he saw the advantages right away.  Since no one at my company had this kind of arrangement before, he wasn’t sure he could get it approved, but he was willing to try.

That’s why I just love working for this guy – and am so torn about leaving.

We then proceeded to work out some of the more important terms of the proposal, and then I waited to let him do what he does best.  That was one of the toughest weeks I’ve had in a while. I had to pretend to my team, co-workers and clients that all was as usual, and one of the most important crossroads of my life wasn’t looming.  I’m a pretty good actress (who in PR isn’t?) and I think I pulled it off rather well.  We won’t even discuss the difficulties I had sleeping.

The deal my boss and I worked out ended up getting approved for a 6 month contract, with the option of another 6 months if everything in my life is stable at that point, and we both decide an extension is a good idea.

Boom.  Just like that, and I am one step closer to retirement.  And this blog is one step closer to being made public.