I haven’t written about my employment status in quite awhile, so here’s an update.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I was laid off from Kodak Alaris in September, 2019 at the age of 63. I had worked in many capacities at Kodak after being hired in 1976, however, my positions within the company the last 20-years were non-physical desk jobs. It was actually quite incredible that I remained at Kodak for 43-years given the steep decline of the company over the last 34-years of that period. Competition from Fuji and rapidly changing technology forced the photo giant back on its heels beginning in the early 1980s. The layoffs began in 1985 and never stopped. Kodak once employed 60,000 people in the Greater Rochester area. That number is now down to around 1000.
So there I was in 2019, unemployed at the age of 63. I had planned on working until I could collect full Social Security at age 66 and 4 months and hoped that I could still hit that goal working someplace else. I began collecting state unemployment checks along with federal supplements due to the pandemic and was making as much money as when I was working, but I knew that wouldn’t last. I applied to many, many companies over the course of a year only to get the virtual door repeatedly slammed in my face. Jobs are scarce here in economically-challenged Western New York, especially if you’re in your 60s. A local manufacturer finally offered me a job in December 2020 and I started a few weeks later.
Starting with a new company at the age of 64 was tough. The learning curve seemed incredibly steep. It was originally intended that I was going to be a data integrity analyst/problem solver in the warehouse, but the job transitioned into coordinator of work orders going to the factory floor and I ended up doing most of my own order picking (a photo of one of our warehouse aisles is above). My young co-workers are so lazy and unproductive that it’s actually faster if I pick the orders myself. Ironically, picking work orders was my very first job at Kodak in 1976.
My schedule is somewhat weird, Friday thru Sunday, 6AM to 6:30PM. The job is very physical and entails quite a bit of heavy lifting and walking. I average about 60,000 steps a weekend. Nope, that’s not a typo my friends. I walk 60,000 steps aka 27 miles per weekend. Definitely not an optimal job for a 65YO. On my days off, Monday thru Thursday, I mainly desire to just sit on the family room couch to recover from the weekend and to recharge my batteries for the next weekend.
Well, I’ve put in 70 weeks to date and I have 25 more weeks to go. Yes, I am counting! My retirement date is targeted for November 30, but I’ve been accumulating vacation time so that my last actual work day will be Sunday, October 30. All that said, I fully realize, as the Bible states (James 4:14), that I can’t “bank” on tomorrow, let alone six months from now, but certain things must be planned for.
I’m grateful to God for my job and the opportunity it gave me to bridge to full Social Security without having to dip into my 401K savings, but it has been a very physically tough row to hoe. I’ve considered quitting several times, but I’m pretty close to the finish line at this point and I plan on sticking it out. Thanks to all those who prayed for me when I was searching for a new job and afterwards. A special thanks to my brother in the Lord way over in SoCal who has encouraged me to keep pushing since I was laid-off in 2019.