Work, as I’ve always known it, will for me come to an end very soon. I’ve been letting my business whither on the vine, as a friend once described it, for a couple of years now. And last week I got the call giving notice on my last remaining contract.
It was disappointing news but felt kind of inevitable at this current time with so many businesses seeking to cut costs. All good things come to an end I guess.
Since starting proper work at the age of 16 – an evening job in the warehouse of a town centre Sainsbury’s – I’ve always had a regular earned income. For about 10 years after University I worked in various employed roles from journalist to communications manager.
Since then I’ve had my business, for more than 30 years now, and I’ve always managed to land some contracted work.
The contract element of it gave some stability which felt a bit more like employment. This meant I had a “guaranteed” income albeit most of it was paid to employees, on office costs or went to the Government through various taxes. Those contracts have acted as a kind of anchor to my life, now they are about to go I feel a little at sea.
I’ve still got the prospect of ad hoc, one-off activities like writing and designing newsletters, and updating websites but these come and go and there is no certainty. I very much expect that from January I will have no work at all for at least a couple of months.
I’ve got a couple of projects in the New Year – potentially big ones – that will give me a purpose but they may not result in any kind of payment and if they do the cash will be a long time coming.
A dictionary definition of work is to: “be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a result” so I guess this means I’ll still be working but to me work is about being paid.
So on that basis I shall properly qualify as retired in 2021 which is defined as “the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work”.
So that means I’ll drop the semi and become plain, old retired. Having run my own business for years from home, it’s such a gradual transition but it still feels like a significant moment.
From the New Year, I’ll be staring into an income-less abyss if such an abyss exists! I have savings, a mortgage-free house, some pension provision, the support of Mrs Jones and still some ad hoc income so I’ll be ok but I still feel a little unsettled as I look to my new future.