I worked for Bell Canada for a long time. I started as an operator when I was 17 and worked part time through High School and University. After completing a Psychology degree at the University of Toronto I settled down in a full time position and pursued knitting purely as a hobby. I was always passionate about fashion and clothing and that gave me a great deal of enjoyment.
At Bell ageism was a fact of life and retirement packages came out regularly. My husband and I carefully assessed the first two that I qualified for and in both cases decided I should keep working. Our financial planner advised me that the only really sure way to take a package and be completely confident that the decision was right was to assess it and make the assumption that you might never work again. If the assessment determined that you would be OK under those conditions then she said go for it!
In 2004 another package came out. Rumours were rampant that more people would be eligible than ever before. The rumours were wrong! Eligibility followed the same legally determined rules as always. However the offer was the best Bell ever made and included an unprecedented increase in pensionable earnings. When I did the assessment it made no financial sense to stay... so goodbye Bell Canada.
I was 48 at the time and not ready to retire. I did explore a knitting career at the time but couldn't see a way that worked for me. I worked on contract for another year at Bell and then did a stint at Village Yarns http://www.villageyarns.com/ I eventually ended up at a small Bay Street brokerage firm doing reception and basic administration work.