email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Friday, March 11, 2016

10th Anniversary Of Retirement

Yeah, 10 years now...  I retired 10 years ago last week.  It doesn't feel like 10 years.  The first couple years were noticable.  The next few were less so.  These days, I have to think about my career life. 

As much as I enjoyed my career challenge (and I really did - it kept my mind busy and I saved my Federal Agency a lot more money than they paid me), it was a relief to stop. 

Some people can't stop working because it defines them; they only think of themselves as what they do for a job.  They have nothing to do other than their jobs.  Not me.  I always had a life outside my job.  I knew too many people who, while pretty poor at their jobs, that was all they had.  I'm glad I was not one of those.

I spent my career going full-out at it.  After my first month as a temp worker, I found I had done all my work one mid day and told my boss.  So I got more.  And the "more" was more complicated work.  I got made permanent shortly after that.  And advanced...

I got moved from office to office, always some duty new to me.  I loved learning new stuff.  It was a challenge, and I loved challenges.  From counting furniture, I went to writing telephone change orders to moving whole offices with all the furniture and equipment and ordering new carpet.  From there, I supported Presidential Commissions and Committees and then Senate and House Members' office.  I went on to inventory the White House assets.  I even got under the President's desk in the Oval Office and Private Study for several Presidents.  I saw Ford's football helmet, and I got a few of Carter's peanuts and Reagan's jelly beans.  I still have a pad of White House notepaper, tucked way in my treasure chest, LOL!

But even that had advancement limitations, so I got into telecommunications management.  That was amazing.  It was planned to be a 17 person office.  But I was the only one hired before a budget cut stopped the hiring.  And for 20 years, it was just ME! 

I wrote the first telecommunications manual for my Agency (General Services Administration - GSA), and received the first telephone call records.  On paper (useless) at first, but then on pre-internet vendor-specific data mag-tapes (still useless). 

I found a company that could read the vendor data tapes on a (then) fancy bit of hardware.  It took 36 hours to process a month's calls.  Then I found how to do it in 24 hours, then, 2 hours, and finally I could get it into something Microsoft Access could read.  After that, I learned to get the data from Access to Excel.

I created an entire procedure across GSA for sending offices their long-distance calls.  You wouldn't believe how many people call non-business numbers.  Let's just say that some employees had private businesses running and some called "naughty" numbers.  I put a stop to most of that!

With the call records available to office managers, I turned my attention to video-conferencing.  My supervisor and I visited all our regional offices to help set up videoconferencing rooms nationwide.  We not only designed state-of-the-art non-acoustical walls, we found ways to to that for ceilings and floors too! 

I designed a spreadsheet that kept all video rooms schedulable across time zones.    I was also dragged around by higher management to other agencies to show them how to red the contractor data in Access and Excel, and also how to use my scheduling system (it seemed simple to me but usually got an "OH!" response.

I gave the office a year's notice of my retirement.  They were shocked; apparently most people just gave 2 weeks notice.  But I wanted a good replacement.  And to management's credit, they acted 4 months before I retired.  My supervisor and I were the interview team. 

From a couple of dozen resumes, we chose 5 and interviewed them with a set series of questions.  One guy was so tightly wound (nuts) that I was looking around for a letter-opener to defend myself.  Another had no apparent connection to the skill set described and his own.  2 others were "decent".  The last one had a sense of both managing a program and relating to customers. 

After she left, I said to my supervisor, "We have my replacement".  I spend the last 4 months training her on the details of my system.

On my last day, my supervisor's supervisor gave me a project and I just laughed at him.  I packed up my stuff and walked out the door.  It was funny.  We had various work schedules, and mine was the latest of the day.  So I was alone in the office that last day. 

I had filled my car with my potted snake plants and personal stuff at lunchtime.  I spent the last few hours emailing my regional co-workers about how great it had been to work with them, and hoping they trusted my replacement to help them as I had.

And then, I walked out the office door turning out the lights as I went, locked it behind me, and drove silently off into the sunset. 

I kept in touch with my replacement and a few trusted co-workers for a few months.  My replacement couldn't handle the work.  I guess it was the right temperment but not the ability to work "flat out crazy".  I was eventually replaced with 4 full time employees.  And THEY complained about the workload. 

From my first year to my last day, I always outworked any 2 co-workers and at a higher accuracy.  Each office I left needed at least 2 people to do my work.

To this day, I am STILL pleased about THAT!  I TOLD them they needed more people to do what I did, and they didn't believe me.  At first...  LOL!

So Happy 10th Retirement Week To Me!

Yeah, I'm bragging...  ;)




1 comment:

Megan said...

It's perfectly okay to brag when you've got such cool stuff to brag about Mark. Well done that man!

Megan
Sydney, Australia