As usual, I spoke too soon. Yes, our factory is re-opening next Monday, which is a good thing. Although I expect things to get pretty uncomfortable when we have to call or email our suppliers to cancel or push out deliveries on numerous orders. Believe me, that is the most difficult task for any buyer, and we all hate it.
Yesterday, I received, via FedEx, an envelope, which said to me that this is probably bad news. Well, it was. It was a “Voluntary Separation” document, offering me a chance to leave the company, with a severance payment equivalent to one week of pay for each year of service (that would be 12 for me). Also, we would receive payment for unused vacation time (over 200 hours for me), and an extra little payment for I don’t know what. This is, of course, before taxes. And this package is being offered to all employees over 60 years of age-they have always wanted to get rid of all us old folks, since before the company was bought out. And, we have exactly eight days (until April 17) to make our decision. That’s a pretty momentous decision to have to make in a very short time.
I will be 71 years old next week, and most of my friends can’t believe I’m still working. I love being a productive member of society, and I just do not like the idea of quitting working for pay. I like having my own source of funds, and basically being able to buy whatever I want, when I want it. If I quit work, I will have to start deciding what I really need, not just what I want. This Wuhan Virus has thrown a large monkey-wrench into my plans for life. My industry is knocked back on its heels, not only by the virus, but by the tribulations of one of our largest customers; our company is suffering by that big customer’s work halt “indefinitely”. The Web site of our parent company has a document, describing its “cost-mitigation strategy”, which is a fancy way of saying “reducing the number of employees by 15%”. And, since I am by definition in a high-risk group for virus-caused illness due to my age, there is some question as to whether I could even find any temp work to keep me busy.
So, I am now embarked upon a huge decision process. This will require meeting with a financial planner to help me decide whether the separation package is good enough. The Wuhan Virus has also, with the ugly gyrations of the stock market, reduced the value of my existing investments enough to make me worry about whether I have enough money saved up. Will the market improve once the virus passes? Will the virus pass? And what will the market even look like, when businesses are failing right and left, due to being required to close up shop to supposedly stop the spread of the virus. Is that even possible? Has the Chinese Communist Party loosed this destruction on pretty much the whole world? There are so many Unknowns.
The part that hurts the most is that I may be faced with abandoning my vow to never go on the public dole by drawing Social Security or going “on Medicare”. Most of my friends told me that I’d never be able to do it, and maybe they were right. I know I never even considered that there might be a world-shattering event that would set all my plans on fire, and make my goal impossible. Well, I own my behavior and my desires, and if I have to go to the almighty government and accept Aging Welfare, I’ll have to do it. Yeah, everyone says “You earned it, you are entitled to it, take it”, but that has never been how I looked at it. Circumstances alter cases.
Enough with the “poor me”. This afternoon, Hubby and I took a walk around the neighborhood, and I made sure to take my trusty phone with me to take some pictures. Spring is definitely here, and things are greening up, and blooming. This is an azalea bush, right outside the little strip-mall where my now-closed-up nail salon is. Sigh…
After dinner, I walked out my front door, into the Maxfield Parrish twilight. See the planet?