Occasionally I write about what I don't miss, about photography, life, work, etc. And occasioinally since I retired in December 2005 I meet with the field office folks I used to work with and wanted at some time in my career to be their Field Office Chief (FOC) if not the Data Chief. But work didn't work out, as said in a movie I watched some time ago, "A long story about a quick decision."
Actually I had planned my retirement more than a year before during a retirement work shop all federal employees are offered to assess their ability to retire within the finances they want or have. It showed that I had the financial option to retire any time between December 2005 and December 2008. It was my choice, but I learned in the fall of 2005, not mine, but also management's choice.
While staying longer would have been better financially - ok, minus the recent economic and Wall Street meltdown, I thought about the decision when I stopped by work this week to visit with former co-workers. I miss the field office folks, they're all great and terrific people, doing an outstanding job invisible to the public. All people see is the end result, the surface water data for Washington.
And why I liked both the work and the people. Every one of us have those things in the world we innately know is cool. Something so fun and worthwhile we don't think about it, we just do it. And that is what basic data is all about to me, and to anyone in basic data in the USGS. It's doesn't mean it's all nice and good, or all easy and likeable. It isn't, but it still is about the work love of it and the public service.
So what don't I miss? The politics of the job and the office. The local office isn't always the happiest place to work, not that different than any company, organization, agency, whatever, just the typical office politics and people. And the usual career minded, career ladder climbing, and whatever else you call them, people. We all know them, even if they don't know who they are, let alone even see they are.
I spent the time after one asked, "So, how's your work going?", doing the show and tell, "This what I'm doing." And that's the point. I'm working on the Mt. Rainier photo guide, the 1896 Expedition, the 1915 USGS map, and the photos of Mt. Rainier (1894-98).
And that's on top of my photography work - especially learning large format photography, my computer and Website work, and the rest of life that happens as we live and breath. Seeing the folks at work makes me miss the work and people, but also makes me not miss it for what I've done since and have yet to do in my life.
We all make decisions, everything is a trade-off of what we have, could do and would miss if we did do. And that is what I don't miss, which is what I have missed. I like what I've done, and live with the (slight) loss of money if I hadn't retired. So far, it still is the best and right decision. Not without costs and at a price. That's the reality of the world.
I wouldn't change it, and that's the key. Mistakes and flaws and all. It's been and still is a wonderful time to be. Nothing more, just being, and being alive. And thank you friends for reminding me of both sides and where I stand.