Retirement Part II

This is my second and final post on my thoughts on my impending retirement. The first post spanned from birth to hiring onto E-Systems.

My first big shock at work was working on a team and interacting with other people.  I toiled virtually alone at all my other jobs from driving a tractor on the farm to repairing microwave transmitters for Continental Electronics.  My first assignment was with a group of around 7 of building computer system based on a 24K mini-computer with 7 level paper tape as the only IO device.  My, how technology has changed!  My cube-mate was Sharon Horton.  Steve McNeil sat in the next cube. He knew more cuss-words than anyone I ever knew and used them in a very casual manner.  Jim Snow was our lead.  After that project I moved onto another one lead by the Sarge, Dave Scott. Other members of the team I will never forget are George Hall, Dave Hooker, Jim Dunn, and, Roland Rentz.

After a couple of years I volunteered for an assignment in Alice Springs Australia. We lived there for five years. I was a maintenance programmer there instead of building systems. The kids went from babies to just young enough they don’t remember anything except what we tell them. We formed some great friendships there and camped out bush a lot. We learned to enjoy soccer, rugby, and Aussie rules football. We saw the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney, Hawaii, Fiji, and our favorite – Adelaide.  We returned home with mixed feelings but I was bored with work and the kids were getting older.

After returning from Australia I was talked into switching from Software to Systems.  The  switch was promised to be temporary but lasted the remainder of my career. I enjoyed the Systems journey. It was a journey literally. I traveled most of the rest of my career- Australia, West Coast, Denver, East Coast, State College, San Antonio, Florida.  Other than I traveled I can’t really say much about what I did except:

  • I made money
  • I had fun
  • I did something useful

I did get to know many really good people. Also, some of them were really nerdy. Like let’s calculate the gravitational effect of a proton on Halley’s Comet on the Earth at Midnight GMT April 23, 1587. I’m not going to mention any names because at my age with my memory I’ll leave someone out and wake up at 3AM in a panic.

Meanwhile on the home front the kids grew up, we grew older, and our previous generation passed away.  We, mostly Gwen, must have done okay because the kids all graduated from Texas A&M, started careers, got married, and procreated.

They say its the journey and not the destination.  I really enjoyed the journey and am ready for another one.

Best advice: He that is not busy being born is busy dying.

Best moments: 

  • Fixing a righteous problem in a component I developed.  Talk about immediate high
  • Flying home after a long and successful installation

Worst moments:

  • It’s Friday afternoon at 4PM. We are trying to install a new System.  The head Customer dude tells us if our System crashes again this weekend to turn it off, tear it down, and go home.
  • Its the day before Thanksgiving. Both sets of parents coming to visit – mine for the first time.  My VP tells me to get on a plane and fly to Australia tonight to fix a problem or turn in my badge.

The best moments dwarfed the worst moments by far.  And it’s true: If you love your job you will never work a day in your life.

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