Saturday, January 26, 2013

An Empty Desk and Being Blessed

The final week of my work life has arrived. There are only four work days left and I will be working offsite through Wednesday, with my last day of work on Thursday.

That means that I had the arduous task of emptying my desk and packing up my personal belongings to bring home.

There was the stash of birthday cards, thank you notes and newspaper clippings accumulated over the years. I didn't take the time to look through them - that's something that can be done later.

There was my stash of the supermarket rag "News of the World" which I bought to entertain a coworker and myself on long road trips. It was cheap entertainment with articles such as "George Washington was a woman!" It was followed a few months later by "Abraham Lincoln was a woman and John Wilkes Booth was his jilted lover!" It was nearly verbatim to the George Washington article - I think the author just used the F2 key, Find and Replace, and put a bit of a new spin on the story. And there was an all time favorite issue about Bill Clinton getting into a fight with Hillary's Alien Lover, P'Lod. Hillary even talked about that one with Jay Leno. I had to leave that collection behind with my coworker.

There was the Howie Mandel "mask" we used at a training workshop where one of our learning activities was a parody of "Deal or No Deal." It's true - I had no problem making a fool of myself to try to entertain an audience of people who were required to attend, rather than wanting to attend. What a difference it is when I speak to genealogy audiences who actually want to be there!

There were notepads from various hotel conferences. Lots of notepads. I have a bit of a reputation for collecting notepads and free pens. Pens are always growing legs and walking off. There's never a pen around when you need one. I gave all of those to one of the secretaries to use to restock the supply cabinet. And I left behind a coffee mug to hold the pens. Because there's never a pen around when you need one.

There was a tin filled with granola bars. Five or six year old granola bars. The tin was the result of a recommendation that we secure any food because mice were getting in the offices and eating it. Refer to my earlier post in which I write about the Pest Management Devices that I see the first thing every morning. Granola bars went in the trash.

There was the drawer that housed the various over the counter medicines and elixirs to treat cough, cold, pain, heartburn, headache and more. There was even a blood pressure cuff.

There were a few service year lapel pins that I never wore. I never cared for them, but I also couldn't throw them away. I had long ago thrown away the various certificates and awards I had received for publications, marketing campaigns and other achievements. A person reaches a point in life when other people's opinions of you don't matter. I didn't need the validation of my accomplishments hanging on an Ego Wall.

There were my two framed Georgia O'Keeffe posters which will make their way to the walls of my home office.

Amazingly, I have not been a pack rat at work. Everything that I packed up to bring home fit in one tote bag. Except the posters, of course. I didn't think that was too bad for working 40 years in the same place.

My years in public service have been rocky. There have been good times and bad times. There have been good bosses and far too many bad bosses. There was one Great boss. He originally hired me in 1972. Over the years, I would be reassigned to other programs, but as long as he was with the agency, he always hired me back.

I was blessed with many professional associations and friendships that have spanned that 40 year period. Hopefully, many of these friends will be around as I celebrate my last work day this Thursday.

I was blessed with many travel opportunities over the years. Meetings and conferences took me to Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; Houston, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Las Vegas, Nevada; Denver, Colorado; Cheyenne, Wyoming; New Orleans, Louisiana; Pierre, South Dakota; Salt Lake City, Utah; Columbus, Ohio; Boston, Massachusetts. I'm sure the list is longer. I was one of those people who never ducked out of meetings to see the sights, so my experiences of most of these places were to restaurants with colleagues in the evenings after the day's work was done. I did tag some vacation days on to a couple trips so at least I got to enjoy Washington, D.C. My Mom accompanied me on the trip and it was a lifelong dream for both of us to visit that city.

Memories of the bad times will soon fade, and in time, I will remember only the good parts of my work life. After all, the bad times have helped build character and given me the tools to deal with just about any situation. Retirement will definitely be much easier. And a lot more fun.

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copyright 2013 Susan M. Petersen


  1. Enjoy your retirement, Susan. Thanks for sharing what you found in your desk as you cleaned it out.

    On my last day back in February 2005, I ended up going back to clean up what I didn't get done before the last day.

    1. Thank you, Janet! I'm looking forward to a long and healthy retirement!

  2. What comes to my mind today as I read this is "Look out world, here comes Susan Petersen!" A whole new life is opening up for you and with your intelligence, drive, attitude, talents, skills and motivation, you're going to have quite a positive effect on the world now, in your genealogy endeavors and anything else that you tackle from here on. Wishing you the choicest blessings in your new life!

    1. Becky, you are much too kind! I hope I can live up to your expectations! As well as my own! I really appreciate your support and our online friendship. Many thanks!

  3. I totally concur with Becky. She expressed my sentiments much better than I could. Bring it on! ;-)

    1. Thank you so much, Dr. Bill! It always means so much to me to get your support and vote of confidence. I hope I can follow your lead and start getting some books published. Well, I guess I had better WRITE them first!

  4. Susan, enjoy your retirement and the new found freedom to explore new interests and develop new skills and loves.

    1. Thank you, Donna! Every day just keeps getting better and better.