Today is a very special day in my Dad's life. Today is his last day of work. Within the next hour, Joseph Edward Raible, Jr. will officially become retired and subsequently one of the happiest people I know. My dad has always had an interesting relationship with work. I've never met someone who hated working for The Man more, yet had such a strong work ethic.
Growing up in Montana, my dad always had the shittiest jobs. When I was a toddler, he used to walk several miles to work, often during the cruel Montana winters. As I got older, I remember him working as a carpenter, logger, trail crew specialist, firefighter, radio technician and even a programmer. The reason his jobs were so shitty is because he told us they were. I don't think he made over $5/hour until I was in the second grade.
He was able to turn his career around in impressive fashion in the early 90s. He'd always been a "computer guy" at the cabin. He even went to Graduate School for his Masters in Computer Science. When we moved to Oregon, he volunteered at my mom's new office as a Network Administrator. After 6 months, they hired him and he quickly moved up the ranks. I believe his current title is something fancy like Director of Wireless Communications. Over the last 19 years, he's worked for the BLM and done amazing things like setup radio networks in Honduras and Tanzania. He's turned into quite the world traveler.
The thing I remember the most is his perseverance. One winter when he couldn't find work, he built a barn. From scratch, mostly by himself.
The other thing I remember well is how much he complained about work. It was never the actual work that he complained about, it was the "stupid fuckin' idiots" that he had to work with (or for). This is the reason that this is such a special day. I can't help but think a huge weight is being lifted from his shoulders and he's going to much happier. Then again, you know how these things go - he might actually miss having people around to complain about.
One thing's for sure, I'm super pumped and happy for the guy. He plans on moving back to Montana for the summer to work on the New Cabin and it's likely I'll get to spend a lot more time with him in the coming years.
Congratulations and cheers to you Dad. You did it. I'm extremely proud of you today.