I am on holiday from work this week. During March each year you will always find that there are lots of people away, generally using up their annual leave before the end of the financial year. Probably as many people absent from their desks as in August, but at this time the weather is generally rubbish and depending on when Easter falls there may or may not be lots of kids around. This year the weather is dry and mild and the kids are still in school since Easter isn’t for another month. A week at home with no one else around is great for both recharging those batteries and as an aid to general reflection.
Two events have sought to aid my thoughtful mood this week. The first was Friday when I received a pension statement as part of the process of consulting with staff to move people between NHS pension schemes. In black and white (with lovely coloured charts) it tells me exactly when I joined the scheme and for how long ( up to 14th Feb) I have been paying in. This is scary for someone who has been making contributions for so long. It tells me how much I could walk away with at 55 (if I was still in a nursing job which I am not) at 60 and at 65, both in terms of a lump sum and as an annual pension. This serves to tell me that if nothing changes to the scheme (which of course it will) then by 60 I will have sufficient in the pot to be able to take a pleasant holiday, pay off any remaining debts and perhaps help out my son, plus I could live frugally for the next how many years (given that hubby has no useful pension of his own to speak of) but if I wait till 65 I will receive only marginally more. I guess seeing the facts laid out in this way serves both to reassure and to cause anxiety. In one way the money is there, but is it enough, and what will future changes mean?
The second event was yesterday when I went into work during my leave to collect my long service award from the chief executive and board. For 30 years of NHS service I received a certificate which someone in the HR office had obviously made. The fact that this part of proceedings had been done so cheaply was in a way reassuring (no money wasted). any lack of professionalism in the certificate was made up for the fact that the executive team turned up for the lunchtime ceremony. They laid on a light lunch and small talk wasn’t too painful since there weren’t too many people present. The £150 in vouchers I received (this comes from the endowment fund incase you worry that I am preventing someone receiving a trip to A&E or something) will probably be put towards a new TV; soon we are going to move into the era of the LED TV though it won’t have any 3 D features I can assure you!
Today I am off to lunch with some of the ‘girls’ I managed in a previous life and then, joy of joys the rest of the week will be all about painting the living room ceiling and walls!