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The Big Picture - Wish I Had Known #5


We asked HPAA members "What do you wish you had known before you left?"

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 what to do before losing access to internal systems. (HPAA membership not required)

Questions or comments to: info@hpalumni.org

The Big Picture - Wish I Had Known #5  Reviewed Feb 9, 2020

The whole experience of leaving HP is complex, exhausting, and surrealistic.
Here are the "Wish I had known" items that look at the big picture.
--cg, moderator

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 people.

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 tech world

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 HP.

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. :) [2014]

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 happiness.

This is a beginning as well as an end.

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For more mutual help on this topic and many others, join the independent HP Alumni Association. If you were formerly a regular, direct employee of HP or HPE -- or are in the process of leaving -- join HPAlumni via email. Transition, Benefits, and Finance forums. No charge, thanks to HPAA members.

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