I do want to make a journal entry about predictions for the coming year. Not so much my predictions, but rather, I'll offer some commentary on predictions made by others whose opinions I've come to hold in high regard. I'll also talk then about my plans for 2015, but first, I have to say something about my recent watershed event.
Dec 31, 2014 was my final day on an 8-to-5 job of 13 years duration. It was an IT job (Information Technology) and the culmination of a 34 year career that saw me move from a 24-year-old operator of a computer that filled a large room, to a grizzled network administrator of systems that don't physically exist. There's probably some lesson in that about moving from something to nothing, but I don't want to deal with that now.
No, the job I just left, I began in November of 2001--a scant month after the world's watershed event (9-11) of terror. That world event does not move me to patriotism, but rather to disgust at seeing in it the manifestation of a great evil. Still it was a turning point in human history, just as my job start was a turning point in my personal history. It was the start of my last mainstream job (so far as I know) and I held it longer than any other.
That employment began with a world-altering event and lasted through many other world-altering events. But my job was little affected by any of them. That is, the machinations and work of the job went on as if nothing else was happening in the world, or at least the effects were subtle and never acknowledged. But then, that's the way the western world's economy works, with people having value only as units of production and as "consumers." They are well trained for this life and do their work without looking up. I don't think it will be that way for much longer, though. World events will intrude and people will have to acknowledge that the monumental powers that move western civilization and even alter the very forces of nature, affect them as well.
In the last 13 years, I think that only happened at my job when hurricane Katrina breezed through town.
What happened instead, was 13 years of routine--getting up before daybreak, making an hour's commute, checking computer systems, updating work statuses, filling out virtual timesheets, appraising staff, drafting documentation. There were a few special projects that alternated between earning me praise and censure. There were problems that drew from management the moral equivalent of righteous indignation. At times, there were celebrations of holidays, birthdays, and even vacations (presentations with slides of a manager's trip). Those grew steadily less over the years until there was nothing but the job. Pleasure and pain were bound in the daily routine that sometimes stretched into the nights and weekends, diluting compensation, and offering only the reward of the faithful servant.
That's how it all seemed to me after being a cog in the capitalist machine for 34-plus years. Early on, I was motivated by the joy of the geek playing with computer technology. That lasted for some years until it became not enough. That "not enough" grew and became visceral for me in the year of 2013. I think my spirit guides just brought me to the point of finding old inspirations and applying them to that present time and their contrast with the way I was living was just too great. You can trace that process in my journal entries from then (an exercise for the Reader) and, I hope, find some inspiration.
And it all came down to now; to this time when my soulmate found employment in another state and local holds were relaxed enough to allow us to leave. We acted on that opportunity and it brought me to that last day of 2014, when my resignation of employment became effective.
I had spent the prior weeks tying up loose ends at the job. I gave final instructions and suggestions, and shored up the voluminous documentation that would be my voice when I was no longer there. On that last day, I attended a reception held for a fellow employee who was actually retiring, and for myself, who was just quitting. Slices of a fine chocolate cake were passed around with kind words for us, the departing. Many people expressed warm wishes towards me (and towards Donna, my wife, as well). Though I've been thoroughly jaded towards the daily, crushing, grind of 8-5 employment, I was very touched by the loving-friendliness extended to me by some human souls on that day. Thank you so very much.
Then for the final time, I submitted my timesheet and shut down my workstation. I left the network area and locked the door behind me. I turned in my keys and my badges, said some final goodbyes, and left the building. Out on the street, in the mid-afternoon, I scanned the downtown with nostalgic eyes. It was cool and as clear a day as the geoengineers will allow. I was thankful for that and got into my car and drove away with a joy at leaving the rat race, but with an ache at the closing of a chapter. Indeed, that chapter closed the second act.
It is often said that the problems a person has with a given job are usually not with the work, but with the people. I also find that when I remember a given job, I remember little about the work, but mostly about the people. I've just left another bunch of people who are fellow pilgrims on the camino of this physical plane. I wish them well even as I move on.