May 31 2017 marks the end of my second career. When I retired from the US Navy in August of 1994, I foolishly assumed that the travel and adventure was all in the rear view mirror. We were headed to a little town in Kansas where I would be happy helping save an old Opera House from the wreckers and do a little community service in my spare time. I’m happy to report that 26 years later, the McPherson Opera House is doing well http://www.mcphersonoperahouse.org/
but our stay in the town we came to serve only lasted for a short while. We found out about small town politics in a very large way and found ourselves on a new course that would prove to be a far better one.
A different approach
With a freshly minted degree from Southern Illinois University and my years in the Navy, I found a series of jobs that all allowed me to grow personally and professionally. It’s amazing when I look back over the years since we left McPherson to see all of the types of manufacturing I have been involved with. My first company was General Physics in Indianapolis, IN where I worked at steel plants, aluminum, power generating companies and got my first introduction to trucks at Ford Motor Company in Louisville KY. This was actually my first real break since I was introduced to something called Lean Manufacturing.
Lean manufacturing let me work in truck assembly plants, steering and pump manufacturing, transmission assembly, car assembly, and a corporate training center. Then a plastics manufacturer for Ford, a bumper and components manufacturer, an SUV manufacturer and another car plant.
I did another short stint with Aluminum and casting companies, trucks and remanufacturing and chemicals. The last stint has been pure joy in a manufacturing environment making gas pipe that are used in nearly every restaurant that you can think of. I have learned so many different ways to do Lean, that I can’t even remember them all.
And travel? Oh my goodness. I honestly think I may have logged as many miles in the air since the Navy than all of my travels before retiring. Not all of it was great and there were a few hairy times but truthfully, I had a great ride. I have so many pictures from all over the world that provide me with a lot of enjoyment. I never thought I would come to love France but I did.
So why retire now?
In some ways I am tired. A lot of health concerns have occurred in the last year and some are unresolved. Since I have turned 63, it was not a hard decision to take Social Security and combine it with my Navy pension and make it work. I am taking some time off to get healthier. But I will still seek some work from time to time. I still think I have a lot to offer as a teacher in technical schools. I want to write. And we want to travel and visit some of the amazing places and more amazing people we have met in our twenty moves. Plus, I want to write more stories for the blog.
I picked up a hobby along th eway. I love to speak. I love to tell stories. I love it when an audience responds to something I have shared with them. But the hobby is time consuming. I found that it kept interfering with my work time. So I will be reengaging in my love and try to continue to grow. There is one very large trophy still missing on my shelf. Maybe I will find it someday.
The leansubmariner Blog.
In May of 2014, theleansubmariner celebrated a milestone of reaching 150,000 views. Fast forward to May of 2017 and the number tops 330,000 views. There are currently 558 stories covering 83 categories and over a thousand tags. We are linked through Facebook shares, Twitter, LinkedIn and we are viewed in nearly every country on earth during the six years since we first published.
I would be remiss to mention the girl who has put up with me through all of these journeys. Did I mention she has moved with me twenty times? She has held my hand in the darkest of moments and propped me up when I felt like quitting. I am looking forward to many more fun adventures.
My hope for all of you is that you have as an exciting journey along the way as we have had so far. It is always humbling to see people on Facebook that we served with or worked with so many years ago and still share memories and thoughts with. I know the best is still yet to come but for now, I’m going to enjoy slowly strolling by this milestone.