The Favor

As you all know, I adore being retired.  It’s been six months and the novelty has not worn off.  And my boss knows as well.  When she called me last week, the first words out of her mouth were “don’t hang up on me”.  Two new programs for the first week of May have just sold, an unusual happenstance for this late in the fiscal year.  They are warehouse programs, of which I was the undisputed queen, and nobody else has any wiggle room in their workload to fit these in.  Could I pretty please with a cherry on top come out of retirement on a temporary, part time basis and run these two programs?

I thought about it over the weekend and got input from several friends (all of whom said “go for it’ – I need new friends).  When I told my boss I would do it, I gave her a long list of requirements, all of which she agreed to.  Rats.  I also told her that this was a big favor and it was the only one she was going to get.  If these programs re-up next year, I won’t do them.  And she can’t apply the favor to a non-warehouse program.  It’s these two and no others.

I’m not all that excited about this development, but all my former team-mates are ecstatic.  Not so much because I’m coming back temporarily but because now they know they don’t have to try to squeeze either of these programs into their calendar!

Tell me about a huge favor you’ve done for someone.  Or a huge favor they’ve done for you!

61 thoughts on “The Favor”

  1. You have done an excellent job of putting a fence around this particular project and other potential ones of the type. I’m confident that you can keep your former boss from jumping over it. Where these fences sometimes fail is on the nearer side. Watch out for any future willingness to place a ladder against your side of it and climb over.

    Decades ago I stopped “helping other people move” when they had to relocate. I even had a sentence prepared, how I’d help pay for the movers, but I wouldn’t lift anything. But I didn’t bargain on a spouse with a “we” when she meant “I”, and ended up at least once lifting, carting, and hauling things upstairs. I ached for a few days afterward. Now, 16 years later and about 30 years older, I recently I heard that “we” again.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. In our State work system, we call what you are doing as being a “double dipper”, retiring, getting your pension and going back to work for a State agency for an hourly wage. Husband is a double dipper these days. He thinks he has two more years left in him to do this. He will be 70 by then.

    I am frequently asked to squeeze extra appointments into my schedule for psychological evaluations. I do two evaluations a week. Since I am the only State employed psychologist west of the Missouri River in our State who does testing, and since the other three psychologists in private practice in our region do little to no testing, my schedule is full through May. Some psychologists in Bismarck and Fargo are booked out for a year. I have been doing three evaluations a week lately as favors for various entities for various reasons. I said no to two requests yesterday. I just can’t do it all.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I was a double dipper from January 2019 until last September. I began receiving my pension in October 2018 and returned to my job in January 2019 on an “on-call” basis. They used me a lot for things that they really needed to start doing themselves. Because vulnerable adults were involved, I kept it up for almost four years. I still think about them every single day. Sometimes it is very hard to cut that cord, and they will keep you coming back as long as you say yes. At some point you have to draw a firm line.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. You didn’t say so but I assume you are getting paid adequately if not handsomely for your “favor”. That kind of takes the edge off, doesn’t it?
    As a freelancer the last 25 years, my retirement was nebulous. My work just dwindled away. I still take on a couple of jobs each year for a little extra discretionary income if I am asked.

    How big does a favor have to be to qualify as huge? Does that lie in the estimation of the giver or the recipient? Personally, when I help someone in some way because I am able and because I care, I don’t like to frame it as a favor.

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      1. They look like Jordan almonds, which are traditional Greek and Italian wedding favors. Also the origin of the word “confetti,” if I’m remembering correctly.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I’m laughing right now because I chose the photo because of the Jordan almonds. They have spread well beyond Greek and Italian weddings; they are very common at weddings. I figured everybody would recognize them immediately!

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        2. I know what Jordan almonds are and if the ones in the header had been pastel colored, as Jordan almonds often are, they would have registered immediately.
          I don’t think I have ever been to a Jordan almond sort of wedding.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the sort of problem I always used to tun in to when I was doing some work for General Mills that required me to source stock photographs. The photos were almost OK, but the photographer made some choice that ruined the whole thing. The favors in the background are fine. The idea of a bowl and spoon with some mints is fine. But why choose dull monochromatic mints that look like lima beans when you could choose mints that add some color and unquestionably read as mints? You’d be surprised how often this sort of bad choice occurs.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If this a real photo from someone’s wedding, then the bride and groom probably requested all white. Apparently monochrome weddings are a “thing” these days. I even read about a wedding recently in which the bridal couple told everybody to wear yellow. Sigh.

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        1. I was trying to not be incredibly sexist, but I tend to agree that decisions like Jordan almonds usually lay with the bride and the bride’s mother. Speaking from personal experience, the bride’s mother. My mother made every decision when I got married except for my shoes, my dress, and my flowers and we disagreed about those as well. Oh, and the maid of honor dress.

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        2. When I read about situations like this, I am so happy that geographical distance alone was sufficient to ward off any such interference in my life. Why do so many parents have such a terrible time respecting the boundaries of their own adult children? When it comes to weddings, I think many mother’s overstep these boundaries, especially of their daughters, but sometimes of their sons, too. I don’t think it’s genetic, but apparently a lot more women have bought into that whole dream wedding scenario. I can’t help but think that a lot of couples would be happier if the amount of thought and resources that have traditionally been put into weddings would instead be focused on understanding what makes for a healthy and mutually rewarding marriage.

          Liked by 4 people

        3. I have to say that my mom did not trounce all over my boundaries. The very few things that I really cared about, I stood my ground and she gave way. But both wasband and I had recognized upfront that this was mainly a party my parents were throwing for all their friends; I didn’t keep in close contact with any of my high school friends and had been living and working in Northfield for almost 2 years. So I let my mom plan the party she wanted and I wore my flat white sandals and had pink flowers among the white (horrors). And I paid for my maid of honor’s dress. Truly what kind of an honor is it to choose maids of honor or bridesmaids and then make them cough up for an expensive dress that they’ll probably never wear again?
          Can you tell – not a big fan of the wedding industry.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I am retiring at the end of July, 2023. Yippee!

    Yesterday my co-worker/friend asked if I would come back from my retirement in a year for a month to supervise her clinic while she goes on vacation. I said NO, NO, NO. Maybe I should rethink this, and ask for enough re-imbursement to meet a major life goal—I want a half dozen raised beds for the garden. Maybe she can just gift me with 6 Gardener’s Supply Company raised beds sent directly to my house if I do that favor. Payment for favors can come in many forms. I did agree to supervise two hours per week in the last year that my license is active (August, 2023-August, 2024).

    VS and I have both commented to each other in person and on the blog how much our retirements seem to be disrupting the lives of those around us. I am starting to develop Retirement-Without-a-Hassle Envy and I have not even gotten there yet.

    I may just run away from work and not return.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am asked, nervously and more and more frequently
      by my coworkers and clients when I plan to retire. It is now 19 months away. I have no idea who will step into my role here, but that is not my problem. When I retire I want to be done. Period.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. For the last six months before I retired I had little poster in my cube with a clipart of a circus tent and the words “Not my circus, not my monkeys”. Everybody thought it was a funny comment on our planning job but for me it was a mantra I knew I would need when I announced my retirement!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Some years ago, Jacque, when you sold the practice you had created and run successfully for years, I assumed your intention was to retire at that time. Was I wrong, or did you change your mind when you went to work for your friend? Was that supposed to be a temporary situation that somehow became a “permanent” solution to her staffing problem? Or do I have the wrong impression of how your current situation developed?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My plan was to go work with the person I work with now. That had been in place for a long time. I actually planned to sell the practice to her, but when her daughter got so sick that could not happen. I was not sure when I would fully retire, but I was sure I wanted to not run anything and I wanted to work Part Time. This was the plan, but nobody saw the daughter’s illness developing as it did or in such severity.

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        1. She has a permanent Disability. She had a kidney transplant, but now, at age 20 is blind. It is an unknown genetic problem that also somehow caused TYPE I diabetes and kidney damage.. Over the last 5 years of this her father decided he could not cope and left the family so there was a divorce. It was so, so difficult.

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  5. I think I wore myself out doing my old job on an on-call basis. They could have used me every day but accepted it well when I said no. I respected my own needs first and refused to work during covid even though they really needed the help. I was out two and a half months in mid-March through May 2020. I also took vacations and stuck to them. Worrying about how things were going was my problem – no one else caused it but me. By the end of last summer, I knew I just couldn’t keep doing it anymore. My back ached and I lost sleep. The last straw came when the staff couldn’t see that one of the individuals was having a serious heart problem and no one had done anything. I took him in to a new doctor and insisted on an EKG (you really have to fight for care for vulnerable adults – the new doctor didn’t think a heart rate of 37 was that big a problem until I insisted that it really was). The EKG showed that the atria of this man’s heart weren’t functioning at all. He was then transported Abbott NW Hospital where he stayed for several days. He was sent back on hospice. At that point I knew that there would be nursing care available for the rest of his life and I didn’t have to be there to monitor. I knew it was my chance, so I quit. I have not regretted that decision and they have stopped calling.

    Last Sunday I started chipping the several inches of hard ice off my driveway. It was quite a lot of work. When we had the big storm with wet heavy snow, the plow actually packed the ice onto all of our driveways and it stayed frozen that way. On Sunday and Monday it warmed enough to start loosening that ice so I chipped it off and got back down to the pavement. My neighbor came out and said she had fallen hard on the ice on her driveway and was bruised and sore from her fall. So I chipped her driveway clear of ice too. It was nice to be outside when the temperatures were so mild. It was really nice to have the ice gone.

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    1. I had two friends sho took bad spills last weekend. One wentface down and ended up with a cut to the eyebrow and a horrendous shiner. The other went down on her side, the same side on which she had a hip replacement last year. She was carrying a cup of coffee and a pan of cornbread out to her car. The coffee was a loss, but the cup didn’t break, and the cornbread did a somersault but remained intact.

      Both friends are OK.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Well I want you all to know that I do read and contemplate what you say. Just came home from a couple of errands and when I pulled into the garage I thought “OK I have cookies (for YA), stamps and library books…. I should be careful.” Then I thought I’d go down and get the garbage cans. First trip was non-eventful. But on the way back down to get the last can, even though I was going slow, I hit ice under the snow and went down. Since I had been thinking of Linda’s friends already, I somehow had the peace of mind (piece of mind?) to think “not your tailbone, not your head”. Got some skin scrapped above my elbow and I’m pretty sure my right shoulder will be sore by morning. Otherwise OK. So thanks for making me think about falling, even though I fell anyway!

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Add my right thigh to the list of casualties. Now that the adrenaline has drained away, I’m feeling it there as well. Probably a bruise by morning. I feel like an idiot.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Like Bill, I don’t tend to frame helping friends as a favor. Now that I think about it, I have an uneasy relationship with the concept. Isn’t a certain reciprocity implied when you do someone a favor? “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine,” sort of thing?

    For instance, visiting and cooking dinner for my friend Philip on Sundays, I’ve never thought of as a favor. It was a commitment that I made to enable him to stay out of a nursing home for as long as possible. Other friends made similar commitments; a few of them got paid for their services as a PCA. The woman who has coordinated all of these efforts is being paid, but I can’t imagine that her compensation has been commensurate with the challenge this has been.

    There’s no way Philip will ever be able to reciprocate to any of us. He’s at the end of his life, even though it has taken him considerably longer to get there than any of us had anticipated. None of us, Philip included, thought that this arrangement would have lasted for as long as it has (over two years). That’s a very long time to be on “hospice” care.

    Now, because of my bum knee, I’ve been unable to do my Sunday shift since Thanksgiving, and that has thrown a major wrench into the works. I feel terrible about it, but if my knee doesn’t get better soon, he’ll have to move. As it turns out, my dropping out – at least temporarily – has exposed a certain amount of fatigue and frustration with a “system” that has limped along as best we could for a long time. As Abukso alluded to above, it’s important to have established some firm boundaries; you have to draw the line somewhere.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. While the favor that I’m doing for my boss is certainly a huge favor and I am getting paid for it, I guess I don’t put quite as much “seriousity”into the word favor most of the time. I never consider that favors that I do for friends and neighbors as needing reciprocity.

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      2. By “transactional” do you mean that there’s a payment of some sort or reciprocity?

        For instance, it happens with some regularity that someone will shovel or plow half the block I live on. Often we don’t know who did it. I consider that a favor, and it’s being a good neighbor. Reciprocity in this case means paying it forward somehow when the opportunity for being neighborly arises.

        It’s really an interesting phenomenon to ponder. Within the last few weeks I’ve seen bitter complaints on Nextdoor from elderly and/or physically disabled people expressing dismay that when they have asked for help shoveling snow, the volunteers that showed up quoted them a price for doing the job. In other words, they expected a favor. To my mind it ceases to be a favor when you think you’re entitled to it and demand it.

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        1. I don’t expect my neighbor to return the favor. I was just out enjoying the weather and physical activity of shoveling and chipping ice.

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  7. Using this definition I just found online (doesn’t say which dictionary): “an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual” –
    the three times we have moved our friend W would fit the bill of “a huge favor”. We weren’t expecting reciprocity – there is no way he could repay that. In retrospect we’ve gained respect from the community of people around him, and many of those people came forward to help after Husband’s stroke.

    A neighbor just cleared our driveway space and blasted the snowpile in the street left by the plows. He won’t let me pay him anything, so maybe I’ll follow VS’ lead and make some cookies…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I know I’ve told the story before, but in high school we used to have the disciplinarian named Mr. Ehlers, who hated hippies, and for some reason he never gave me any trouble. It was weird turned out years later that my mom who was a teacher at my high school was told by Mr. Ehlers that he really thought her son was great. She said why and he explained that some jerk came up to Mike Kennedy, who was a special needs kid and knock the books out of his hands and continued walking like it was funny and I came up to mike after seeing it happened and helped him pick up his books. I just gave my pat on the shoulder and told him those guys are jerks, and Mike said yeah I don’t know what’s wrong with my shit well, don’t worry about it. You just have a great day, and I walked away and turned out. Mr. Ehlers caught me doing something special. It’s doing the right thing.

    VS I’m glad you’re doing the favor this time but I’m wondering in my mind if there’s a line to be drawn that could be modified if for instance, a similar situation came up where they wanted to hire you and you say no no no but they offer $100,000 a month obviously you take it then the question becomes would you take it for 50 then the question becomes would you take it for 25 then the question becomes would you take it for 10 and at what point do you say no
    I had a really fun time buying some camping chairs that way one time we stopped at a roadside garage sale and there was nothing at the sale I wanted but they had to camping chairs and I told him I wanted to buy those and they said they weren’t for sale and I said well if I gave you $200 a piece for me to sell them and they said oh sure and I said if I gave you $100 a piece for Michelle them and they said oh sure and I should if I gave you $50 a piece for your salon so well I don’t know and I said well think about it and let me know what the right prices and I said yup $50 is the right price so that’s how much they got

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    1. I’m a hopeless at negotiating a deal. To my recollection, the only time I ever got a deal was on the island of Majorca. I went to a street market and one of the vendors wanted to sell me a bottle of perfume. I was not interested in buying perfume, so I told him no thanks. He persisted and lowered the price, and I once again told him I didn’t want any perfume. This happened repeatedly until he was practically offering me the perfume for free, and I relented. I figured I could give it as a gift to someone once I got back home. I have no memory of whether or not I ever did.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m also not great at negotiating. I did however get an incredibly good deal once on a leather bag in Tijuana. I didn’t really want to bag to start with but my client was in the store and she was shopping and shopping and so I was just hanging around. The sales person took that as a sign that I really wanted this bag. But since I didn’t, I kept walking away every time he gave me a better price. Finally, he gave me a price that I just couldn’t refuse, it was about a quarter of the tag price. When we finally left the store, my client was so excited – she gotten some kind of wallet and she was really happy because she gotten them to knock about 30% off. When she asked how much I paid for my bag, I lied.

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    2. I’m going on the assumption that the fact that I’ve made it so clear that I’m doing her a one time favor will be meaningless to several folks. So I do expect there to be other offers in the future and I guess I’ll take them as they come. This one is actually not a lot of work, it’s easy work and it’s the kind of program that I always enjoyed. So it was easy. I guess I’ll take every situation as it comes.

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