Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Some time next spring, I will be receiving a letter from the state retirement system, telling me that I am eligible to retire. The triggering event for this letter was a birthday which occurred a few days ago. I have somehow reached the minimum age for public safety employees under my agency's plan to retire. For us, the magic age is fifty.

Fifty. Half way to one hundred, two times twenty five. An age I once considered ancient, now an age I just consider. Who freaking knew.

Although I have reached the magic age, I don't yet have enough time on the job to achieve the maximum compensation rate allowed under law. I still have a ways to go for that. Financial and other considerations may not allow me to go at that time, time will tell on that.

It's kind of funny how reaching the magic age changes one's perception of the job, ones life and one's future. It is kind of nice knowing that should I get in trouble I could pull the pin before the disciplinary process is complete. It's also nice knowing that should I become ill or injured off of the job, I would still be able to retire.

It's not nice thinking about how I don't work as fast as I did when I was twenty five. Nor is it nice having to think about my back/knees/neck as I go about my duties. I notice when the younger members of my crew jump in and take care of the more physical activities and I can't help but wonder inside when I will become more of a liability than an asset.

As I have been around the K.B.F.P.D. for a while, I have seen many of my friends and co-workers retire. Nearly all have made the statement "you will know when it's time". The question is who's time? The aging member's time or the district's and the public's time.

As of now, it's not time.  Just another milestone passing by as I look out the window of my life.

Thanks for reading,



  1. I'm so glad I won't have to wait until 50. I'm finding that the job I loved is becoming less and less appealing, due to the expansion of our duties, reductions in staffing, the deterioration of my body, and the mental weariness of waking up three times a night for calls and dealing with disaster.
    My system allows 25 and out, at which time I will be almost 48. With the current trends in my dept and the economy of my state, I will be dropping my papers immediately.
    The only thing that may slow me down is an opportunity for a Chief or DC job, but those are also dependent who I may be working with and other opportunities. I'm leaning towards some type of military contracting or GS job, as I'm finding I prefer the military environment vs the local politics.

  2. Another sad consideration is the reliability of the pension promises. With states and municipalities in such financial straits, working for a paycheck a decade more may be a necessary precaution.

  3. A friend had been debating to retire and changed his mind several times on a date. He just couldn't give it up. He did come to the decision after a huge warehouse fire and was laying on the ground beat-up and finally said "Ok, I am done!" He retired after 32 years on the dept.

    I wish you many happy years on the dept. and yes you will know when the time is right. Have a Merry Christmas.

  4. John - I am picking up what you are laying down, though maybe not to the same extent.

    fche - there is definitely going to be some changes though they will probably affect new hires or recent hires more than they will old bastards like me. I will likely do something to produce income, the gas island gig at Costco looks pretty good to me!

    Lisa - 32 years is a good long career, though he might have waited a little to long, he finally knew when it was time, his time.

    To all three - Hopefully, I will know when its the right time. Thanks for the comments.