Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Dinosaur Goes Extinct...

...or should I just say another of my co-workers, Pete P. is retiring. He will be gone in early August and he will be missed. Nice guy, one of the nicer ones I have worked with, always a gentleman and all that.

Seeing other dinosaurs people going one after another sure has me wondering (has a lot of people wondering) why it is that I have not become extinct retired yet. I became eligible in the Fall of 2005. Wow, it's been almost 5 years already - hard to believe that I have hung on so long. Why hard to believe? I guess because the job and I are not both what we once were years ago. I, of course, was younger, had more energy, and liked what I was doing. The job was a good one, law enforcement of laws that I believed mattered and still do, it had its rewards for good work, and I had a lot of exciting and oft times adventurous work to do. Since 9/11 things changed big-time. Customs and Immigration were taken out of Treasury and DOJ respectively, combined and put under Homeland Security and that was it, in my personal opinion, for an interesting job as far as things went for me and most of the people with whom I work. The feeling of doing something worthwhile is not there, at least for me and apparently for quite a few others. The agency seems, as I see it, to have little to no direction but exudes a lot of hot air like rhetoric about its accomplishments. Yeah, some good is done, but much of the job is so muddled by ludicrous politics as to make it impossible to enforce, with effectiveness, virtually any of the immigration laws and some of the customs laws. I still like to work but not at pointless paperwork or mindless repetitive things or at things for which I have virtually no training and there has been a lot of that type of work over the past 7 plus years. I guess that is why, when I have the opportunity, I often volunteer for temporary assignments lasting up to a few months. They get me out of the daily grind in my office, out into the field on investigative work, and remind me of better days. That is true eve when the assignment is not the best. The daily routine in my home office, for me, is almost enough to make me walk out the door right now. I do not do it though because there is something about the job, law enforcement and service to the people, and upholding our Constitution that runs deep through my soul that even overrides the desire to quit when faced with having to do work that I find somewhat less than what I had hoped it would be at this point in my career. Still though I do the job to the best of my ability and find it hard to leave. It seems to be the hardest thing I have ever done or have attempted to do is to make a decision about when to retire. Sometime, relatively soon though, is when I will leave it all behind. I have to go by the Fall of 2012 and will probably go by next summer or December 2011 at the latest. Until then, I will make the best of my current duties and will do my job to the best of my ability - I mean what else could I do. I will stick around and do my job just like others have stuck around and have done theirs despite the fact they or I could have left sooner. I guess it has something to do with indecisiveness and also something to do with loyalty and not wanting to give up what we believe is service to our country and her people, and I am sure that is what Pete P. has been thinking as have countless of other loyal American civil servants. I would hope so for the other guys but I know it is true for Pete P. He is a good man! He will be missed and work will be a harder place to tolerate with him gone.

All the best,