Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Goodbye George

I have made it a practice not to include anything on this blog regarding my business or politics. I will make this one exception however, just to say goodbye to my friend George.

George and I have worked for the same company for over 30 years. He for 32 years and I for 35…so far. Last week they told George his position was gone and his last day would be next week. Fortunately for George, his specialty is in demand in industry and he says he will have no problem getting another job.

I’ll miss George because he and I have worked together for so long and have also become close friends. I’ll miss George because I’m beginning to feel like “the last man standing”.

About five years ago we had a change in leadership in my company. The leadership decided that they wanted to radically change the way the company approaches this particular business and the way to do that was to intentionally bring in people without a background in the business. They wanted to be able to “think outside the box”. If you had a lot of experience in the business you were perceived as “part of the problem”.

My business is a part of the construction industry….a very conservative part of the construction industry. Many of the techniques, designs and products in this industry are the same as they were 100 years ago. The contractors of this industry by and large do not like or want change…they want to do things the way they know how to do them. They want to deal with people that they have a “relationship” with. They have said that in order to “think outside the box”, you have to know where the box is to begin with. In most ways they are correct.

Needless to say, the last five years have been difficult. I am one of the few survivors and I’m at the point that I wish I weren’t. I continue to do what I do because I don’t want to decrease my retirement benefits. I am not in a position to start a new career and my specialty is such that I could not find similar employment locally. The penalty I will pay for retiring before 62, however, is beginning to look small compared to the “quality of life” I now have.

Sometimes I see the whole situation philosophically. I think that I’m just an old guy. Whether they are right or wrong….it’s their turn to run the business for better or worse. Let them figure it out themselves. Aren’t I just like some of the old guys that were here when I started work at this company?

There is no neat finish to this post. There is not a clean cut answer. I work day to day, counting the days just like the counter in the margin on the left of this page. As I type this the counter says 681 days, 10 hours, 3 minutes, 36 seconds. When that time elapses the countdown stops….then again maybe it will stop before then.

Thanks for visiting.

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