I've hung it up after 29 years at a manufacturing plant making composite parts for military and commercial aircraft. I worked as a fiberglass mechanic for five years, then 13 years as a budget planner, five years as a project coordinator and finally seven years as a scheduler. I'm amazed that I made it this long as an ex hippy in a very conservative atmosphere. I had some very good years, but the company has been slowly and steadily degrading into something resembling a sweatshop (that's a gross exaggeration) as I think many others are doing as well, squeezing more and more out of fewer and fewer people with declining benefits and policies. Since my illness in 2007, I have never fully recovered to my prior level of performance. Some of it I attribute to diminished capacity (chemo brain), and some to a change in perspective to a point where I can't generate much enthusiasm for things I don't really care about. If I didn't leave soon, it would have become increasingly clear that I was not up to the task. Better to leave under my own terms.
Fortunately, my understanding younger wife plans to work for several more years and can cover me under her medical insurance. Another stroke of luck was that the company offered a retirement incentive package that sends me out with a nice chunk of change to go along with my pension and my savings.
After a few weeks of catching up on work around the house and yard, I plan to start working part time at the local bike shop. I'll enjoy working on and talking about bikes all day and I'll benefit from discounts on bikes, parts and gear as much as from the small amount of pay I'll get.
I had planned to ride 29 miles today to commemorate my 29 years with the company, but triple digit temperatures made that less appealing, so I made a 2.9 mile round trip to the neighborhood store to pick up a small bag of dog food to keep the mutts fed until I make a grocery run.