I Am Retired!

Finally, after many years of planning and dreaming, I am retired.  I started work with my current employer November 14, 1977, but got my first hourly job back in November, 1967.  A month before I turned 16, my mother told me I had to get a job within two weeks of my birthday.  I did.  I worked 25-33 hours a week while I was in high school.  My first job was at the Kwik-Chek in Coconut Grove, Florida – a Winn-Dixie grocery store.  My starting pay was $1.40 an hour, but I lucked out and minimum wage zoomed to $1.70 before I left a year later.

And before getting an hourly job, I had worked at mowing lawns, babysitting and two different paper routes.  But I was no Horatio Alger, Jr.  I hated work – it impinged on my childhood freedoms.  I had many jobs between 1967 and 1977, but getting my job at Memphis State University in 1977 coincided with getting married in 1978.  I couldn’t just quit a job anymore and move on.  I had to settled down.

I always imagined I’d quit that job, never dreaming I’d stay 36 years.  Instead I assumed Susan and I would move on to another city and state.  We never did.  But working for the state for all those years paid off with a nice pension.  Plus working at a university was wonderful.  In those ten years between my first job and the last, I worked many types of jobs and discovered all the kinds of work I didn’t like.

It took me over ten years to finish college.  I ended up working with computers because I had so many computer courses, but ultimately I finished my major in English.  I started taking computer courses in 1971 when they were still using punch cards and batch processing programs on an IBM 360 mainframe.  I studied FORTAN, Assembly and COBOL.  But by the time I got my first real programming job in 1987, I was hired to develop a dBASE III program for a Novell network of microcomputers.  After web servers came out, I converted my programs to HTML/ASP/VBScript running on IIS using MS SQL Server.  Those programs I developed in 1987 are still running.  I wonder how long they will last?  In 20-40 years, will someone still be maintaining them?

It’s strange to think that from now on I have no job to go to when I get up in the mornings.

Well, no regular job.  My plan is to write novels.  That’s my new career.  I shall be my own employer.  I hope I shall make myself work long hours and be very productive.

JWH – 10/22/13

11 thoughts on “I Am Retired!”

  1. I’m so jealous and i’m still 36. So i have a long way to go till retirement day. I believe you are one of those people who will enjoy retirement whatever you decide to do with it. So, enjoy Jim!

  2. Congratulations, Jim! I hoping you’ll take time out from your novel writing to continue with your always fascinating blog.

  3. It is kind of strange when you think about programming and how your work can live on after you. I got into it after webservers were fairly well developed, so all my code was html/javascript/php on linux with a dash of shell magic sprinkled on top (technically it was sprinkled on the bottom, but cake baking metaphors don’t work that way).

    Web standards change so much the code tends be far more ephemeral than other forms of programming, but a job I left 4 years ago is still using my code. Which is oddly satisfying. And surprising as it seems I was constantly adding features and otherwise maintaining it. I hear except OS patching they’ve made no changes but its still at the core of what they do. If I were to get hit by a bus the code could still be at it after I’m dead and buried.

  4. So happy for you, Jim. You deserve your time to write. Don’t be too hard on yourself with this new career, though, if you find that you enjoy all this newfound freedom.

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