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A Surprise Retirement Goodbye

by Mia Zoey Edwards 22 days ago in career

They would not let me leave quietly into the night

A Surprise Retirement Goodbye
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


The U.S. Department of Prominence allowed me to experience new things beyond my low-income housing environment in Southeast, Washington, D.C., and to gain another view of the world while traveling around the globe for them from 1997–1999. So, for all this knowledge, I am forever grateful for what they had given me.

Seed Planted in 2016:

One day while at work, I received an unexpected telephone call from an ex-C.I.A. lover. He called to say that he had retired at age 55 years old and served 30 years in the government. He asked why I am not retired yet. After he probed that question, a light bulb went off in my head illuminating the fact that I was close to being eligible for retirement, too! I was 53 years of age and had 29 years of service in the government. To be eligible to retire from the government, one must be 55 years old and 30 years of service.

Retirement Strategy:

After speaking with the ex-C.I.A. lover, I set the plan in motion to prepare for my retirement. It took two years to start paying off debts, to purchase a new car as a retirement gift to myself, and to pay in full the co-op I was renting to own. I succeeded in that strategy.


Following the completion of my tactical 2-year plan, I was then, 55 years of age, and had 31 years of service. I was eligible to retire in May 2018.

Mentally Ready for Retirement:

I was more than ready to retire. I was mentally and physically exhausted. And I was tired from fighting for more pay. People may say why did I not apply for another job. I am a light-skinned Black woman, so it was hard applying for higher-paying jobs when one did not have a college degree in a high-profile government building. So, I had to stay put, keep my mouth shut, and hope for the best. I was scolded often because I could not keep quiet about the injustices that I was dealt when it came to me doing Karen’s and my work!

Winter of 2018:

I submitted the paperwork for retirement and attended a three-day retirement seminar.

I rented a small U-Haul truck and took home all the stuff that I had accumulated at the office over 31-years.

Spring of 2018:

Three days before I retired, I sent out an e-mail blast letting everyone know that I was retiring. Later, with great delight, I received an overwhelming flood of incoming e-mail responses from co-workers domestic and overseas wishing me well. I got emotional reading and replying to all those emails.

Throughout the last week before my retirement day, old and current colleagues were dropping by my office to bid me farewell. That was fun!

The office staff took me to my favorite Italian restaurant Bertucci’s for lunch.

A colleague brought me a bouquet of white tulips. He was a cute Caucasian man with coal-black hair and an angelic face. He was an unassuming and kind man. I never knew that he noticed me. The tulips were certainly a lovely surprise. I wondered if he knew that tulips are my favorite flowers.

I wanted to retire quietly without a farewell party. I had had enough of giving parties and attending parties.

Two desk officers dropped by my office asking if there was anything special that I wanted for my retirement farewell party. I told them that I did not want a retirement party. They were not happy about my stern decision.

A Surprise Retirement Farewell:

On my last day, I walked down to the building’s garage where my new car was parked and then, the surprise retirement goodbye happened!!

As I entered the garage, a choreographed combination of clapping and chanting of “Mia, Mia, Mia, Mia!” was heard loudly! There was a massive row of colleagues that filled the garage celebrating me! While walking towards them, a co-worker handed me a bouquet of flowers. Another presented a small cake box with a chocolate mousse cake from the Watergate bakery. And another had given me some funny retirement farewell cards. Lastly, my favorite colleague, Mummy jumped out from among the row of people and said: “We will miss you Betty Bop!” He planted a wet kiss on my cheek!

After the applause, my supervisor Mr. Thalberg stepped forward and gave a farewell speech. He presented me with a retirement gag gift. It was a red basket that had mini soda cans of Coca-Cola and small bags of Lay’s potato chips in it. When I worked on several projects, simultaneously, which was often, I would eat potato chips and sip on a Coke soda. He teased me about eating too much salt and caffeine all the time.

Mr. Thalberg also gave me a beautiful black box with a large white ribbon bow tied on it. He whispered: “Do not open the box until you get home.” I murmured: “Okay.”

Following Mr. Thalberg’ s speech, I gave a tearful, remark. Afterward, my co-workers erupted with a warm round of applause.

I hugged and chatted with everyone, while walking towards my new 2017, Sporty SUV Volkswagen Tiguan. The crowd of well-wishers followed me to the car.

As I waved goodbye while driving slowly out of the garage, my former colleagues began cheering and chanting, again: “Mia, Mia, Mia, Mia!”






When I arrived home, I opened the exquisite black box that Mr. Thalberg gave me. Inside the box was a heavy sterling silver cup with the U.S. Department of Prominence emblem embedded on it. And a retirement card that had four, separate, one-hundred-dollar American Express gift cards inside it!!!

The Government’s Retirement Gifts:

A few days later, I got an email from the U.S. Department of Prominence’s Retirement Office instructing me to pick up the government’s retirement gifts for me. The presents were an American flag folded inside an acrylic triangle case and a crystal bust with a black marble base. Inside the bust is a white, 3D image of the Man and the Expanding Universe Fountain by American sculptor Marshall M. Fredericks. The crystal bust was engraved with: “Presented to “Mia Z. Edwards. In Recognition of her service and Dedication to the Government of the United States.” These items are proudly displayed on my coffee table.

Lump-Sum Payment:

I received a lump-sum payment from my unused annual and sick leave. The government taxed that money heavily!

Salary for Life:

My annuity and pension salaries were electronically deposited into my checking account, on time.


My mind was at peace.

The End:

My contribution in the workplace was finished.

Yearly E-mail:

Mr. Thalberg sends me a yearly Happy Holidays e-mail.


Thanks for reading. (Copyright Mia Zoey Edwards. All rights reserved.)


Mia Zoey Edwards

~ An eclectic mix of short stories based on my memoir, non-fiction work in Washington, DC, travels abroad, and fiction.

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