Me Retire? No Way!
By Yay Padua-Olmedo
On flight mode. That was me for the most part of my working life
I dreaded being in the same place with people who could be better than me. Being the youngest of eight siblings and having believed that I was the least-endowed, I constantly feared that I could never measure up especially in the company of more aggressive and intimidating personalities.
So I eagerly waited for opportunities to bail out, secretly pining for a sweepstake win or a long lost relative suddenly materializing with an inheritance so humungous I’d forever be saved from working.
This happily-ever-after-dream of course never saw light until I finally retired from my last employer before I turned 47. As you can imagine, and even at that point where I’d reached a top management position, I still eagerly looked for a big excuse to retire early.
But this time, my whole self-centered outlook had completely turned around. Having committed my life to Jesus much earlier and realized my reason for being, I however longed to be in a job where I’d be free to call the shots and enjoy it so much it would not be considered work at all.
I was in my element doing the whole package of advertising, writing and creative work so I prepped myself to eventually set up a marketing and corporate communication service company.
I did pray. And the big excuse suddenly loomed. My employer was in a constant spate of reengineering and my heart went out with beleaguered colleagues retiring against their will even if they were offered generous retirement benefits.
I still earnestly prayed. The answer came as a bright ray on a cloudy day: “Justify your retirement.” So I did and the big boss approved. Little did I know that a few days after my retirement, a new management was to take over and all positions like the one I held were to be abolished from all operating divisions.
Dumbfounded, I realized God did control of my situation. All fear and misgivings gone, I embarked on my second career wind, my hubby giving his go-ahead for our firm to be set-up. A month after my retirement, I was knocking on client companies’ doors offering our services, God having sent us talented, creative and committed people who helped us grow the business, and tremendously spiking my learning curve because of the variety of businesses and industries we served. Some of these clients I still service today in spite of the fact that our business was discontinued for some reason. And I knew it was His reason.
I later found myself teaching Marketing and Advertising in a nearby school. My third wind! And this time, it really sparked. I soon realized all those years spent in corporate life was for this. Not just per se to teach what I’ve learned in the corporate world, but to be connected to young people.
Could I ever retire? No way it seems. Because as He directs me to a different direction after each stage of my life, He instills a new desire to continue with what He started in my heart— to turn my sights outward instead of in. Retirement actually makes us look inward: “Got to slow down… travel to places I haven’t been… take care of my health… save my retirement money… make sure I have something stashed away when I get sick.”
At the school where I teach, I’ve often wondered how most kids could face the world and succeed with either their proud, arrogant, “I-don’t-care,” coasting-along, “I-can’t-do-it-because-I’m-not-capable” attitude.
And as always, I prayed; the prayer birthing into a burden to let them know Christ—the only way one could ever win in life. Already a grandmother at this point and contemplating on writing fun books for my grandchildren, I turned to writing something for my students instead. Thus my first book “Sorry to Burst Your Bubble: Life Leadership Lessons from the Greatest Dreamer (published by New Day Publishers); followed by OMF Literature’s book for yuppies, “Going Up? Making Right Choices at Work.”
I’ve learned and as you can see by now, retirement is never an option. As you grow in Christ, He directs you to places and people where your purpose and gift will be used to let those around you taste the living God who loves them.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that those who believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Who would point them to the Savior if we retired from the marketplace?
When the trumpet sounds or when I wake up in my heavenly mansion tonight. That’s when I retire.
Yay Padua-Olmedo is the author of Going Up?, an original title published by OMF Literature. Aside from teaching Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations at Southville Foreign University in Las Pinas City, Philippines, she also conducts seminars and write inspirational materials.