A Job Well Done

Suzanne just left for her last day at work for KCS. This week she’s been the recipient of “happy retirement” cards as well as gifts, accolades, and good wishes from co-workers and supervisors alike, which comes as no surprise to me. During the several decades I’ve known her, she has always put the kids first, done her work well and without dramatics or otherwise calling attention to herself, and consistently done more than what has been asked of her. In my opinion, the system won’t know the full extent of her contribution until a month or so into next school year, when she’s not around. I will admit to a certain bias, since we’ve been married for quite a few years now, but I don’t think I’m overstating when I talk about the quality of her work.

Those of us who have spent time in the field know the amount of time, energy, and commitment that are required to do even an adequate job. To do a superlative job is rare. She has certainly earned the right to relax, but I don’t expect her to do much sitting around. My guess is she’ll soon find a new way to make a contribution, unless the role of grandparent becomes too time-consuming.

Of course, it is also possible that she will discover things about the house and grounds that require significant attention, in which case this may be my last post for a while.

How we end up in the profession we do is sometimes a matter of tradition (like my friend who was born into a railroad family), sometimes an early decision (like a person who knows from grade school what she wants to do with her life), and sometimes a matter of chance. In my case, a right turn in a fork in a gravel road led to a more focused interest in music, which led indirectly to a job working with young people in a treatment facility, which led to a lifelong career. That first job was where I met Suzanne, which also turned out pretty well.

Congratulations, honey, for a job well done. 

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

2 thoughts on “A Job Well Done

  1. Well Jim, you’ve outdone yourself. And in so doing, you’ve written a pretty good description of what I think most employers would prefer in an employee. Someone who is a self starter, puts others – especially family & children – before themselves.
    Congratulations Suzanne on a successful career and good luck in retirement.
    Thanks for the report Jim.


  2. Well said, my friend. Congrats to Suzanne. Way to go! Now the fun begins… how well can you two live together as retirees? Good luck to Suzanne. She’ll need it.


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