The Big Picture - Wish I Had Known #5
We asked HPAA members "What do you wish you had known before you left HP?"
The responses are organized into five articles:
- Heads Up - Surprises and Hazards
- Job and Career Issues
- Benefits Issues
- Financial Issues
- Looking at the Big Picture [this article]
Also see our ASAP Checklist
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Questions or comments to:
The Big Picture - Wish I Had Known #5 (9-28-2014)
The whole experience of leaving HP
is complex, exhausting, and
Here are the "Wish I had known"
items that look at the big picture.
1) Laugh at yourself for taking care
of HP's money (budgeting,
record-keeping) more dutifully than
your own (investing, disentangling
accounts from HP).
2) It takes several months to catch
up on your sleep.
3) It takes a few months of serious
part-time work to get your
investments and benefits set up
independently of HP.
4) It takes years (about 7 for me)
to disengage emotionally from HP -
an optional achievement.
5) Applying skills you used at HP to
helping a non-profit or friend is
more rewarding emotionally than
making a project deadline.
6) Creating a formal estate plan
with a binder for your executor with
all your accounts, assets, wishes
and legal documents is fantastically
liberating. Now you can focus fully
on the people and activities that
give meaning to your life.
I wish I had recognized much earlier
the futility of my job and what it
was doing to me. On the way home
after an exhausting day at HP, I
bought groceries. I realized that
the guy bagging groceries at the
store had done more for civilization
that day than I had.
I was not sleeping at night because
of what I was having to do to my
I wish I had talked it over with my
kids earlier. I broke down as I was
trying to discuss it with the kids.
We talked about four hours today...
It will set me free.
I wish I had known...
How much more I would enjoy life,
away from the stress of the high
How rewarding I would find it to do
volunteer work rather than paid work
How jealous (resentful?) my
neighbors would be that I was in no
rush to find another job
Take the time off that you have
earned and travel. Especially if
you are a long time employee, I
found HP to be generous and
accommodating on vacation time.
It's easy to get caught up in
project after project, make a point
to get out see new places and new
things. It's better for you and
Take care of your health. HP
offers good medical coverage
including preventative services,
take advantage of it and get a
yearly physical. I am not sure
what the current fitness center
situation is but at a minimum most
sites are large enough to support a
good mid-day walk. Important if you
spend most of the day sitting in
meetings or staring at a monitor.
I wish I had been prepared for how
nasty things would become inside HP.
Like one of those fake "cage
matches" on TV wrestling -- except
that it is for real and the people
are better dressed. :)
You will be surprised to find out
who you real friends are. Some
co-workers will treat you like you
have a contagious disease. They
don't want to be seen to associate
with you, afraid that they be
flagged as a loser. Others will be
wonderfully supportive and helpful.
I thought retirement would be good,
but I had no idea how good it really
is. I retired in 2012 at the age of
55 and I have never had as good of a
time in my life as I have had for
these past two years in retirement.
Not working for money is the path to
This is a beginning as well as an
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