Retirement Etiquette When Disrespected

April 14th, 2023

Giving notice to a company that doesn’t appreciate you

Man leaving office upon retirement, with box and briefcase, with younger coworkers laughing behind his back. What is retirement etiquette when retiring from a company that disrespects you?

After 30 years for the same company, an employee is ready to retire, but he feels disrespected by his employer and ponders retirement etiquette and proper notice. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson advises in this edition of “Ask Amy.”

Dear Amy:

I have worked for the same company for more than 30 years, and I am ready to retire in a few months.

They have no idea that I am contemplating retirement.

What would be an acceptable length of notice to provide them? Is it just like getting a new job and providing the standard two- or three-week notice, or should I provide them more notice since it is a retirement?

I should note that when others in the organization have hit the 25 and 30 year work anniversaries, there were parties, speeches, and gifts given. I suspect these same employees also received certain benefits I have not been given. However, when I hit my 25- and 30-year work anniversaries, there was nothing. No one in the organization acknowledged it. I said nothing, but it really hurt my feelings.

I have received perfect performance reviews for the last 10 years, so I know they are happy with my work.

Do I owe them more than a two-week notice?

– Ready to Go

Dear Ready to Go:

My research on this topic indicates that when it comes to retirement, three to six months advance notice has been considered standard, although given your perception of the company’s attitude toward you, as well as your attitude toward the company, in my view three months seems generous.

As an employee for more than 30 years, presumably you possess a lot of institutional knowledge, and this might necessitate a wide and lengthy search for your replacement.
However, given the current state of workplace flux and downsizing, your position might not be renewed.

In terms of your well-deserved recognition, I’ll relay an anecdote from a close friend of mine who announced their retirement last week. Anticipating some awkwardness, and possibly some actual emotion from the employer upon hearing this retirement news, the employee’s announcement was met with: “Thank God. We were going to eliminate your position, anyway.” This very long-term employee wasn’t even granted an exit interview.
So much for getting that gold watch.

Regardless of the information I’ve conveyed, I think that you should do whatever you want to do. It’s not as if that last performance review is going to mean much, once you’ve ridden your red Corvette off into the sunset.

Just keep in mind that despite your overall negative feelings at this point, you might ultimately consider it a point of pride to follow through according to protocol, giving lengthy advance notice and continuing your stellar work ethic until the very end.

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from retirement etiquette to DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

©2023 by Amy Dickinson

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