Friday, February 19, 2016 shall be my final day of work in Woodstock, Illinois.

I started working there on Monday, April 26, 2004 having spent the past two and a half years working as a field service technician for an automotive automation company.

Not counting weekends, vacation days, holidays and the like, I shall have spent four-thousand, three hundred and sixteen days of my life here.

On December 19, 2015 I wrote about the circumstances around shutting down the plant. In the time between then and now, my emotions have run through all of the typical expressions of anger and sadness, disgust and depression. Most of the people have left already. There is some small diameter orders left to run on a single line and some labeling work. By early next week it shall be all done, but by that time I shall be gone.

I really don't care anymore.

Last week, I took several panoramic pictures with my iPhone of the plant. I took many selfies with my departing co-workers which I have uploaded to my Facebook page. The panoramas shall have to wait until after I receive my severance pay which is a modestly generous seventeen weeks of pay. One week of pay for the first ten years I worked here and an additional seven for staying until production is done.

I negotiated a slightly sooner exit, telling the general manager that I anticipated a job offer and would like to give them a start date of February 22, 2016. I honestly did expect that job offer but it has not come yet.

My ex-boss landed a job with his ex-boss to be the maintenance manager at a place that makes medical filter products. It is a little further away in Hebron, Illinois, home of the 1952 state basketball championship that the movie Hoosiers starring Gene Hackman was based off. That drive will be about seventy-five to eighty minutes long. I don't really mind the driving and most of it will be country driving which is I find soothing and pleasurable on the best of days.

Anyways, I have been told by my ex-boss, who wants to be my boss again, is that I will receive an offer next Tuesday. The position to be offered shall be a salaried position as a "controls technician." The job title is nothing new to me but the pay detail is. I have never been a salaried employee. I have always been paid on an hourly basis and enjoyed the time-and-a-half overtime pay that has accompanied. I told the human resources person that I expected a pay rate equal to what I make at my current job. However, if my salary-to-be is simply my old hourly rate multiplied by forty hours in a week and then by fifty-two weeks in a year, then my salary will be many thousands less than what I made in 2015.

So there is that uncertainty.

Last week I had a second interview at a plant that makes frozen bread products in Schaumburg, Illinois. The position open for a "controls technician" is also a salaried one. I do not know if they will make me an offer, but if they do within the same time frame as the medical filter gig, then I will have some competition.

I think I would prefer to work at the medical filter place as the nature of the work is more familiar to me, it incorporating plastic injection molding, robotics and sequential assembly and working with a familiar boss will be a welcome familiarity. The frozen bread place has the advantage of being able to work with a different programmer and learning a new process. However the bread place is a twenty-four-seven operation while the medical filter place tried to maintain a Monday through Friday operation. Both places have three shifts and for both gigs I will have to be on call and carry a phone.

I really hate the perpetuity of having to be always on-call. it really wears me down and stresses me out. When the job is stressful, knowing that there is nobody at work to call over a weekend or just a Sunday, can be a much needed stress break.

Worry...................Worry is my constant companion.

I have had a lot on my mind for a long time it seems to me. I am just done with it all. I am ready to move on and start something new. The truth is, the really deep down truth, is that I don't want to work anymore. That does not mean I want to be a "republican-welfare-poster-boy," not kind of worker. I am tired of the daily demands and expectations of manufacturing. I am tired of the "Hustle." I joke around with my co-workers, "Man, it is going to suck having to work for a living again." Only, I really mean it.

I don't know, that line of thinking is self-defeating and does not serve me well at all. I am already moving beyond this thinking though.

I have one day left. I have saved all of my personal files from my work computer to a thumb drive and have deleted them. I have deleted some six thousand emails. I have cleaned out my desk and my workbench and my toolbox. After work, I shall load many of my tools, now in corrugated boxes, into my car. The remainder of them and the toolbox itself will leave with me tomorrow. Tomorrow, I shall come to work in street clothes, my work uniforms shall be in a plastic bag for the HR person to collect.

I shall wake up on Monday and for the first time since I was nineteen years old, I shall be unemployed.

Of course, my bills are going to be paid for the following seventeen weeks, whether I receive or accept any job offers or not. My current employer will be paying for their part of my health insurance to COBRA for three months as well. I know that many thousands of Americans become unemployed every month. I see the abandoned possessions of the evicted, scattered upon the dirty snow of the street curb every December twenty-sixth. I know that millions of people on earth are starving, suffering from disease, homeless, fleeing from war.

I can wake up on Monday without an alarm clock, without a damn care in the world, if my subconscious allows it.

I have money in the bank. I have little debt. I have my health. I have my family. I have friends and loved ones. I have relative youth and vigor.

I am going to be...


Postscript: Since leaving work for the last time, I now feel a strange vulnerability. I think of what it must feel like, leaving one's home and casting away upon the sea, never to return....

Good news! On March 7, 2016 I start a new job in Hebron!

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