As the calendar progresses I’m looking back over my past 9 years here in Oregon. I arrived here then with all my worldly possessions in the back of a Budget rental truck. I had been out of work for months and was living on borrowed money to make the trip here. I left everyone I loved behind in South Carolina.
I started my new job at Intel Corp., a giant in the tech industry, Oregon’s largest employer. Then the recession hit. Intel still made a profit, just not as much as usual. Management had entered a get lean and mean policy just before the recession started. It proved a wise decision as we buried AMD, an upstart chip company sworn to take a piece of Intel’s pie. That was a big mistake as Intel management decided to teach them a lesson they still haven’t recovered from. When Intel got lean they underbid AMD and marketed new, better chips. AMD didn’t stand a chance.
In 2010 Intel was way on top again but decided to close one of its obsolete plants, the one I was working in for the past 4 years. Management gave us 18 months notice, an unheard of practice in our industry. They did everything they could to place us within the company and even asked outside companies to help find us jobs. I decided, at 61, I would be better served taking an early retirement. staying on unemployment for the year it took me to reach 62. I was then able to draw early Social Security and make my retirement official. I’ve been retired now for 5 years and don’t regret my decisions one bit.
During all this time I’ve built a support system of friends around me. I belong to a senior coffee clutch at our local McDonald’s. Even that McDonald’s went through a renovation, being raised to the ground and rebuilt to the flagship store it is today. It was better for their business but not especially loved by those who enjoyed the older, more friendly design. Still, we stayed loyal to the staff that remained from the old store. They were on loan to other local restaurants but returned when the new store was completed. We all gather there 3 times a week now, having lost some of our group for a number of reasons. I don’t know what will become of Pat & Dianne when I leave. There are only the two ladies remaining. I will miss them but I will not neglect to stay in touch, through email and my blogs.