To a diplomat especially from developing countries, retirement could be scary more so if unplanned and ill-prepared. It comes for us at the age of sixty or thirty-five years of service whichever comes first. However, it varies from the policies of one country to the other.
         At the age of twenty-seven as a ‘cadet’ Foreign Service officer, Third Secretary to be precise, sixty years or thirty-five years may seem ages. But time and nature could be tricky. They pass and evaporate into thin air in a twinkle of an eye.
          In between years of dedicated and exciting service at the Ministry and various posts in Africa, U.S.A., Europe, South America and the Middle East, time moved without notice. Occasional thoughts of retirement flash through the mind – and so what. Each time as if it would never come – yet it lies in wait and lurking likes a hungry lion at its prey.
          Yes, we become prey when we have no vision and refuse to accept the reality of life. Change is a constant factor of life – it is always with us. But then how do you plan for a time or a period that is twenty-five years or more away with all the uncertainties of life. Besides the stipulated benefits of retirement, what’s next?
          In retrospect, looking back to those early days as a Third Secretary, when the horizons were not clear, one would wonder at the wisdom in the advice ‘PREPARE FOR RETIREMENT’.
          Honestly I was confused and did not at all understand the importance of such an advice from my Ambassador at that time in Washington. How can I begin to plan for retirement when I was yet to be confirmed in the service?
         It took a while (years) before I realized that it was the best advice you can give a young officer. That was twenty-nine years ago. Time flies and it waits for no one. Retirement is knocking hard on the door and soon the door would be opened.
          Am I ready? It’s only time again that will tell. In any aspect of our working life we must PLAN FOR OLD AGE as my late father would always say. If we do not plan retirement, it could be scary, a disaster, a nightmare and could even be a fast track to transition.
          We must always be prepared – An attribute of a good diplomat.


Published on August 21, 2008 at 11:25 am  Leave a Comment  

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