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Being shoved out the door hurts

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

Early last month, I blogged about a MetLife survey indicating that a significant percentage of boomers have already left the workforce, and many more expect to retire this year. The post has garnered more than 175 comments from people who wanted to share their own experiences with making the decision to enter retirement.

I've featured comments from people who plan to continue working because they like their jobs and responses from people who left the workforce when they were relatively young and are glad they did. Today, I'm going to focus on one more category -- those who say they were shoved out the door -- laid off, fired or otherwise compelled to leave. In many cases, this upended their retirement planning, and they are almost universally bitter -- so much so that in many cases, their comments are painful to read. Here are a few of the least angry comments:

James Bosch: I'm 61 and will retire at 62 because I can't stand my boss, and my company won't let me change departments. I'm the last one in the department to escape. Everybody else has gotten out one way or another. Boomers cannot so easily move from a bad situation. Retirement is the last escape hatch.

Arnold: I am 62 and retired about 6 months ago from a major corporation. I enjoyed the work, had built up a very loyal customer base and was hitting all my goals. I would have kept working, but the best way I can describe my job over the past couple of years is that it had become "abusive." I could no longer provide anything close to good service to my customers due to the new systems and processes management had adopted. Other coworkers had left or changed jobs, and no new people were being hired. My blood pressure and overall health is much improved since I left. I'm glad I hit the road when I did. It was clear I was not valued nor wanted.

Chuck: My job was sent to India. Nothing like being told to train your replacement to open your eyes about how corporations work. I was given the "opportunity" to volunteer for layoff, so I took it because I was given a little extra money to leave. Some of my coworkers did not take the "opportunity" and were laid off six months later with less money. I liked my job and had hoped to train an American to replace me, but it was not to be.

Marilyn: Hubby took a forced retirement from Ford at age 53, but he wasn't ready to retire, so he went to work for a supplier. I left my job at age 52 -- no pension, just a piddly 401(k) -- to get away from the stressful rat race of deadlines and to care for my aging mother. Hubby wants to work till he's 62. We've been saving and meeting with a financial planner to reduce debt. Full retirement for both of us looks good but still a little scary, especially since we've seen how quickly things can go south with investments. I'd like a part-time job to stay connected, but I can't commit because of Mom. Retirement gives me the freedom to plan my day as I want to spend it, until Mom calls. Hubby would like to travel the country in a small mobile home when he retires -- I'm all for it. I think we'll be OK.

Here are all the comments on this post and some advice about handling a forced retirement.

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1 Comment
June 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I am 62. My company is manipulating the employee evaluation system to force me out. I've survived many layoffs and been here many years. My customers, internal and external, respect my work. Management wants us old-timers out so they can hire younger, cheaper replacements. They trumped up a bad review to justify giving me no raise and no bonus. That was a calculated move on their part to make me want to leave. I won't be here for next review cycle. Deciding whether to leave quietly or talk to the local EEOC about blatant age discrimination litigation.