Outgoing Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang yesterday recalled her first day of work as an administrative officer almost 39 years ago, and admitted that she was ignorant at the time. But Mrs Chan said she had matured since her first day of work in the civil service on September 17, 1962. 'In the moment of retirement, I feel deeply that I am a lucky and blissful person,' she said at her last media conference at the Central Government Offices. 'Being a civil servant is full of challenges and a sense of satisfaction.' On her last day in office, Mrs Chan said she would miss being a civil servant, her place of work and the colleagues she had worked with. 'In the past several decades I have always walked between the two buildings [of the Central Government Offices],' Mrs Chan said. 'I spent more time here than I had spent at home. Starting from next week, I don't have to wake up early and return to work as I have done. I think I need to take some time to get used to the change.' She again paid tribute to her family. 'My husband and my family have given me enormous love and care. They are my most treasured assets.' Mrs Chan reported for work at 7.45am yesterday, as she has done for almost four decades. She spent a busy half-day in meetings and bidding farewell to her colleagues. She also had a 30-minute meeting with Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, after which she said she had said goodbye to Mr Tung and thanked him for his support. They discussed the challenges Hong Kong would face in the future and how to overcome them. After leaving the Central Government Offices, Mrs Chan enjoyed her beloved Shanghai cuisine with six other senior officials and former officials, including Director of Home Affairs Shelly Lee Lai-kuen, Secretary for Environment and Food Lily Yam Kwan Pui-ying and Secretary for Treasury Denise Yue Chung-yee, known members of the 'handbag gang' headed by Mrs Chan. But Mrs Chan said her retirement did not mean the end of her friendship with her colleagues and she would maintain contact with her best friends. She then returned to the office in the afternoon, saying she had to finish her work before really starting her retirement. Mrs Chan is regarded as a pioneer in the civil service. Among other things, she was the first woman department head and the first local person to be appointed chief secretary and chief secretary for administration. She was also regarded as Hong Kong's conscience, a description coined by Newsweek magazine in 1997 for her commitment to freedom.