November 13, 2009, was my last day of gainful employment. I started to say last day of work then remembered that the day was not exactly filled with hard labor. It was, not surprisingly, a short day which I spent, as I assume most people leaving office jobs do, saying goodbye, being debriefed one last time, turning over keys and passwords, and twiddling my thumbs until time to head to the party.
Technically I retired from Solarsoft who had purchased Mattec, the company I helped start in 1983, a few years earlier. I worked there more than twenty-six years. I got the ring in the picture, one of the first pair made, after ten years. The pin next to it came after five years at Cincinnati Milacron. I was there nearly fourteen years and must have received a ten year pin but the five year version is all I could find. My only other full-time job was at R. L. Polk where I spent a bit more than two years before moving to Milacron. Over forty years, those three jobs, all involving some sort of software development, brought tons of satisfaction, pounds of irritation, and immeasurable amounts of fun. Now what? Five years ago I was as uneasy as I’d ever been starting a new job but, as I was soon telling anyone who asked, I think this retirement thing is the best idea I ever had.
The last five years have gone by as quickly as any in my life. Age, of course, has something to do with that. I’m convinced that some part of our brain measures things in relative rather than absolute terms and, as each year makes up a smaller percentage of the whole, it seems shorter. Another reason is the old observation that “time flies when you’re having fun”. Ain’t it the truth?
UPDATE 8-Dec-14: While looking for something totally unrelated, naturally, I found that Cincinnati Milacron 10 year pin. The figure on the pin is a burly metal foundry worker but he had been nicknamed long before I joined the company. At five years, employees received a “bronze fairy”. The ten year award was a “silver fairy” with a “golden fairy” coming at (I believe) fifteen years. Beyond that, diamonds were added at five year intervals.