Office Politics 101: Retiring the frequent visits

Q: This may sound rather heartless, but a retired employee comes around quite often and interrupts us — and his visits can be annoying.

Q: This may sound rather heartless, but a retired employee comes around quite often and interrupts us.  He is a great guy, but his visits can be annoying. What can we do to discourage him?

A: It’s an extremely sensitive matter because he believes you appreciate his visits while you would prefer he didn’t drop by — at least not so frequently.

He is apparently under the misunderstanding his visits are genuinely valued and that the conversations are not interruptions, but welcomed social times.

You don’t identify when he retired, but my guess is that it was within the last year or so. He is probably still going through work “withdrawal”.

Men in particular seem to identify with their work to the degree that retirement can sometimes cause depression.

He may even be lonely and is missing the fellowship of colleagues. This can be understandable, especially if he has a small circle of friends or is single.

If you think back to his retirement party — which I am presuming you attended — the MC may have invited him “to keep in touch,” which is a common phrase.

The problem is that he has taken it too literally.

Does he have a close friend in the office? Perhaps it is his or her invitations that are promoting him to come by and once there, he naturally turns his attention to others.

You say he is “a great guy,” which presumably means he is not self-absorbed and emotionally needy; this should make any communication regarding this issue somewhat less challenging.

One informal option would be to identify his friend and encourage him or her to share the concerns of the office. The message should be extremely gentle but it would be less upsetting coming from someone close.

A more systematic approach might involve the HR department which could organize regular — perhaps quarterly — social events specifically for retirees.

These events, implicitly, would replace the current casual drop-ins.

Any communication with him needs to stress that you miss working with him but that in order to give him the attention he deserves, the times for conviviality need to be scheduled and outside of work hours.

An additional benefit of a planned event is that other retirees will also be invited which may allow him to re-kindle friendships which could possibly diminish his need to drop by your office.

Your compassion for him is critical.

While he can’t be permitted to continue interrupting your work day, you don’t want to make him feel unwanted.

Consider a somewhat formal social which could allow him to continue his relationships with former colleagues and, at the same time, connect with other retirees.

Simon Gibson is a university professor, marketing executive, corporate writer and civic leader. He is a graduate of four public universities, including Simon Fraser University, where he earned his doctorate in education. He also also holds a degree in journalism (honours) from Carleton University. His email address can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Distracted Driver crashes into ditch along Byng Road

Port Hardy public works department confirms the incident was caused by distracted driving.

Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign needs volunteers in Port Hardy

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign is starting up on Nov. 29… Continue reading

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

UPDATE: North Island highway crash resulting in serious injuries still under investigation

The two drivers were seriously injured and sent to a hospital in Victoria.

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas votes in favour of eliminating overtime pay for confidential secretary

“I think when staff makes a recommendation I have to support staff’s recommendation.”

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Most Read