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  • Sunshine go away today, I don’t feel much like dancin’
    Some man’s gone, he’s tried to run my life, he don’t know what he’s askin’
    When he tells me I’d better get in line, he don’t hear what he’s sayin’
    When I grow up I’m gonna make it mine, these ain’t dues I’ve been payin’

    How much does it cost? I’ll buy it!
    The time is all we’ve lost – I’ll try it!
    When he can’t even run his own life, I’ll be damne if he’ll run mine

    Workin’ starts to make me wonder where fruits of what I do are goin’
    When he says in love and war all is fair, he’s got cards he ain’t showin’
    Sunshine come on back another day, I promise you I’ll be a-singin’
    This old world she’s gonna turn around, brand new bells will be ringin’….

    (Jonathan Edwards – “Sunshine”)

    Here’s to all the shitty jobs that I despised
    Heres to two-bit guarantees and other lies…
    Here’s to roads of burning tar and hot cement
    And here’s to money in my hand and where it went

    Amy Alice in the summer with a sack lunch and a punchcard,
    See my sister with a drag job, ah man she feels like she’s a hundred and eighty years ago…

    Well, here's to people living lives that they regret, work your fingers to the bone and sink in debt

    (Steve Forbert – Midsummer Night’s Toast)

    It’s theworkin’, the workin’, just the workin’ life…

    (Bruce Springsteen – “Factory”)

    When did “work” get such a bad name? So many people I know spent a major portion of their careers working for that golden day in which they could retire, and they got “short-timer” attitudes for the last few months/years leading up to that date. Some waited a year or two more until their financials were where they wanted them to be, and then they got the hell out. They were kind of miserable the whole time. I don’t get why they hung around all that time? If they didn’t like it here, why not go somewhere else? I think a lot of them just didn’t like to work. I never understood them. I’m not waiting for those golden years. These are my golden years. I am living them, now. I’m not ready to pack it in and live “the good life”. I don’t understand what that is. What’s so bad about what I’m doing now?

    My date was nearly two years ago. I hit 30 years on October 12th, 2010, and reached age 56 on November 12th that same year. I remember my first supervisor telling me how great that was going to be for me, having both of those numbers occuring so close together like that. This was back in 1984. “Yeah, 2010 is going to be quite a year for you, Pete. You can get the hell out and go do whatever you want to do.” I, quite honestly, thought he was smoking something funny. Had he not noticed my resume, the one that showed that I hadn’t worked anywhere longer than 9 months over the past 4 ½ years? Granted, I’d only listed a third of the 17 jobs I had had during that time period. I didn’t bother to mention the ones that lasted only 3 days, or that I’d gotten fired from, or walked out on. But you’re telling me, 26 years from now, I’m going to still be doing this, and retiring from it? The way I figured it, if I’m still here then, I’ll probably just keep working, because that’ll mean I must like it here.

    Sure enough, November 12, 2010 came and went, and I barely even noticed it. What the hell would I want to retire for? I spent 28 years getting to know everything there is to know about this agency, its public health mission, and all of the different ways that I could contribute to that mission. I came in as a clerk typist, got the job because I could type fast, and now I’m sitting in my 3rd executive position in the past 3 years. It throws new and interesting, sometimes seemingly impossible challenges, at me on a daily basis. I’ve developed a reputation as a problem-solver – the bigger the challenge, the sooner they think of me. What is not to like about that? Is it right to get paid for something you enjoy doing so much? I plan to keep on doing this until they kick me out the back door, or put me out to pasture – at the very least, another 10 years. I get 5 paid weeks of vacation a year, and have so much banked up that I have to take all 5, because I have the maximum amount that I can carry over year to year in my leave bank. That’s plenty.

    In addition to the job, which includes a bunch of other initiatives that I’ve been tapped to lead that are not covered in my job description, I sit on a couple of active executive Boards, which require a lot of work. I manage and play on 3 softball teams. I write stories everyday for Cowbird, occasionally write for the Navy Memorial's Navy Log Blog, and love to read as many stories as I can. I have a very full life. On most days, I like it this way. There are times I find myself looking forward to that next vacation. Those 5 weeks a year make all the difference in the world. We always go somewhere, and do something, to get away from all of this. We like to cruise. We like to go to Disney World. We like to hang out on the beach. We like to travel. And we do – all 4 of those activities. We generally do each of those things, at least once a year. This all helps keep it all in balance.

    When I was younger, I didn’t understand the balance bit. I just liked to work. I did learn that you have to balance it out. But, as Ben said in one of his stories – work is a trip. There is nothing wrong with it. It is in working that I find some of the most meaningful things in life. Some of the most valuable lessons. Some of the best stories. For me, it is not a bad word. I enjoy working.

    Don’t you?

    Photo - me presenting a retirement certficate to an employee in 2009.
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