Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No More Job To Go To

It seems odd to be typing these words, but I’m retiring.  Not from writing, in fact, I plan to write even more, but I’m retiring from my day job with MaBell.
I started to work with South Central Bell on a cold and dreary Monday morning in January of 1977.
I’d been out of a job for a year and I was glad to get the work. I never dreamed it would turn into a career.
My first position was as a Garageman in Bessemer, Alabama. That’s a fancy way of saying I went to work at 3 a.m. and gassed up all the trucks.
The job came at a low point in our lives and lifted us out of poverty. It has provided Jilda and me with a steady paycheck ever since.
I wasn’t afraid of hard work, and as it turns out, the company offered me some great opportunities. I learned to troubleshoot telephones and later I learned about computers.
I started gassing up 12 trucks in Bessemer, and wound up supporting thousands of computers spread all across America.
It’s been an interesting ride, but a few weeks ago the company announced plans to reduce headcount by three percent in my pay grade.
MaBell has a decent severance plan, which allows people who are close to retirement age to move on.
Jilda and I spent a restless weekend running numbers, and what-if scenarios. I asked myself some very hard questions, like – “What do I want to be when I grow up?”
I found out Monday, I was one of the ones selected, and my last day is March 22, 2010.
This week started the transition to my new life. I began the process of cleaning out my desk, which has been interesting.
I’ve been sorting through 33 years’ worth of pictures, papers and souvenirs. It’s a strange and wonderful experience.
I found coffee cups, umbrellas, key chains and other memento, which brought back a rush of memories. I found a mechanical pencil that’s older than kids graduating from college this year.
I have a plant that my work group sent me in 1986 when my father died. It outgrew my cubical, and now lives in the break room where hundreds of people admire and care for it. I’m sure that plant will be missed when we leave in a few weeks.
I’d been preparing for this day for some time. Jilda and I have worked to get our finances in order and to start thinking in terms of what we want to do during the next phase of our lives.
But when the realization sank in that I was leaving, a flood of emotions washed over me.
I’m excited, but a little scared, too.  I know deep down that we will be fine, but I also know that I’m closing down a chapter of my life that has consumed a huge chunk of my time over the last 33 years.
As the friends I’ve worked with through the years hear the news and come to wish me well, I find myself with a lump in my throat.
I’ve daydreamed about this moment for a very long time, and yet now that it’s here, I’m experiencing sadness which I did not expect.
I tell all my work friends that we’ll keep in touch, and I’m sure we will for a while. But I’m about to start down a new path and you know what they say about good intentions.
I will miss my friends, but I will not miss the stress or the commute.
Ella Harris once said, “A retired husband is often a wife’s full-time job.” I hope that’s not the case with me because Jilda has made it abundantly clear that she doe NOT need a second job.

1 comment:

  1. sarah gorsuch1:45 PM

    You will be fine and I bet pleasently suprised. Jillda loves you, so I am sure she will love having the extra time to do more things day to day with you. (most of the time lol) Good luck and God Bless.


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