Whenever I read threads about retiring early, people talk about feeling elated and almost nostalgic at their jobs before they leave. They often say things like how leaving takes the pressure off the office politics, how for the first time in years they’re able to really focus and crank out their work. Sprinting to the finish line.

On the one hand I definitely feel less annoyed at office politics. Knowing that I’ll be gone in two months has helped me take a lot of really painful changes in stride. Though I still continue to think about the long term wellbeing of my group– and in particular about the colleagues I really care about– I no longer feel like each change at the organization is going to upend our team. They’re bad business decisions that require annoying workarounds. And that’s okay. Not my circus, not my monkey. It won’t affect me for much longer anyway.

On the other hand, I don’t feel any less stressed doing my actual work. I still feel this need to make clients happy, to be “on” weekends leading up to a deadline. Lately too I’ve started having work dreams where my brain works on projects while I’m unconscious. This is something that hasn’t happened to me since college, when I’d debug difficult assignments during the course of my most restless sleep.

Sadly though this stress hasn’t translated into motivation. As I get closer to my leave date I can feel my motivation levels suddenly and precipitously drop. I find myself sitting in front of my computer minutes at a time blankly thinking, “Just type. Just type. Just type.” Or, “Why am I here? This is meaningless. Maybe I should quit sooner.” In some ways I feel like I’m in those couple of weeks leading up to finals and my brain’s convinced if it don’t do well I won’t graduate or something. So it’s procrastinating, hard.

I’m still two months out from when I leave, so maybe my mood will change a month out, a week out, on my final day. Right now I’m feeling a bit of senioritis, but I’ll try my best to push through until the end.

How did you feel on your last days/weeks/months before leaving a job? Were your motivation and performance affected?



7 thoughts on “Senioritis

  1. This is interesting to think about. I am at the end of a very long subspecialty training program, and while I LOVE taking care of my patients, the office politics, academic drama, and interpersonal departmental strife is wearing on me. It has been particularly bad the last two months with new leadership in the department. I have only 3 months left before graduation, and I fee like I should have senioritis, since I am so so burnt out, but I still love the patient care side of things. I have a hard time checking out at my own detriment. I continue to care so so much, and cannot distance myself from my work. I have been taking home my emotions/stress/frustration, and it is impacting my relationships with my friends, family, and significant other. I definitely identify with parts of your post, and I’m going to try to create a little bit of distance from my work so I can take care of my mental and physical health better. Thanks for sharing your experiences and provoking this introspection.


    1. Thank you for aharing your experience. It seems really rough when you’re in that sort of caretaking role and you’re really invested in your clients. I know when fiance left his last social work job (in part due to office politics that made doing his job more difficult) that he experienced a bevy of emotions leading up to his departure and sometime afterward. I hope you find a way to distance yourself from your work in a way that is sustainable for you, not just for your current rotation but for your career.


  2. Hmmm, not an early retiree, but I can say that I have stress dreams about work. I’m trying to put it aside when my day stops, but it’s harder to do when you work from home. It’s not as clear cut a division as leaving work at the office.

    I hope your stress dreams stop soon!


    1. Reading through your comment, I really don’t think I could do a work from home job. Already when I bring my laptop home I get cranky that I’m not doing enough. Not having that work/life separation would be very difficult for me to manage.

      Thank you for the well wishes. I hope you are able to avoid the stress dreams as well.


  3. The only time this really happened for me was my most recent position – staff and management changes had me itching to get out. I’d like to think my performance stayed high but my motivation definitely fell!

    Two months is quite a while but hopefully it speeds up for you. And here’s to losing those stress dreams…


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