By Loretta Orndorff, Director of Library Services, Retired from Cozen O’Connor in February 2021 and Recipient of the 2021 PLLIP Hall of Fame Award
Retirement at any time is anticipated, planned for, worried about, and then I think the inevitable just happens. Most people who retire, usually do so only once although a dear friend’s husband, George, retired 3 or 4 times! As he passed his mid-70s and lost his eyesight, he retired from his church. Within a year or so he was called to be minister of another church. After retiring from that second church he was called back into ministry at another church or two before his last retirement finally stuck. George was a Master Retirerer!
I am happy to retire only once. Retiring during a respiratory pandemic was certainly not anything I could have imagined! When I set my retirement date for February 1, 2021, and started to think about winding down and cleaning up from working almost 24 years as a Library Director at Cozen O’Connor, my most remote guess of the cause of professional, societal, and personal upheaval would have been an approaching world-wide Pandemic.
As I planned my retirement pre-Pandemic, I realized it would be an abrupt change from the office routine and a cutting off of the normal daily interactions. My big disruption happened almost one year prior to my actual retirement. The sudden and unexpected lack of normal collegial interactions was further compounded by the changes in normal social behaviors and activities that round out the other parts of our lives. Thankfully my library work did not slow down. The work load coupled with concerns for my family and friends, pushed thoughts of my upcoming retirement aside until late 2020.
My Firm sent us home to work remotely on March 17, 2020. Within about three days our fabulous computer department had almost everyone up and running. While the switch over felt seamless to most of us, it certainly could not have felt easy to our computer department who worked tirelessly till everyone was settled into WFH mode. The order to leave the office was so abrupt that people only had time to grab their laptop and a very few work items that were not already incorporated into a database. In the scurry to get safely home, everything was left behind, personal belongings and any non-mobile equipment were simply left in place. Certainly the situation would be under control in the not too distant future…right? When I returned to clear out my office fifteen months after the order to WFH, things were mostly as I left them with a few additional piles left by the mail room. The most impactful strangeness of my office was the lack of people, the audible hum of the HVAC system which ordinarily would have been obscured by the hubbub of activity, and the very odd feeling of settled quietness which cemented the profoundness of what had happened to us all.Continue reading