25 Weeks to Go! πŸ—“

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.

23 thoughts on “25 Weeks to Go! πŸ—“

  1. I can relate to your comments about younger people. I’m 31 and my husband hates hiring people from our generation down because of laziness and entitlement. As a misfit millennial I am embarrassed for my generation.
    Keep pressing on, you will be enjoying retirement before you know it! (My dad is!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Katherine! The work ethic in our department is the worst I’ve ever seen in my 48 years of working. The young folks’ laziness is enabled by supervisors who are afraid to confront the slackers.
      My wife went on disability in 2019 and is now officially retired and I can’t wait to join her.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope your next few months be smooth and this ends well with this job, without any issues so you can retire. I think it’s sad some from my generation and younger can be poor worker

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jimmy! I appreciate all of your support. I’m happy that there’s only 25 weeks left. The productivity of the younger workers in the warehouse is incredibly poor, but the supervisors are reluctant to confront them.

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  3. Very exciting Tom, the season’s coming to an end and sure enough the Lord will have a new one rise up.
    Who knows how this job will have prepared you for whats in store, might be 20 fewer miles but a fruitful path with Him.
    May He order your steps thru to this finish line!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is very interesting, Tom. Thank you for sharing. I think the days of 40+ years at one job are mostly history. It sounds like the job is keeping you in shape but I can completely understand why you are counting the time remaining. It is wise to plan even though your nod to James 4:14 is necessary. Life is vaporous. The older I get the more I realize how true the verse is.
    I graduated from high school in 1976, the year you got hired by Kodak. I can remember the days when almost everyone seemed to have a Kodak camera. I didn’t even know the company still existed.
    When your time at you latest job is ended, you will still find that you have plenty to do. I’m a few years behind you and have a lifetime teaching credential with the Arkansas Department of Education so, after having taken a break from teaching for awhile, I may still end up in a classroom in my mid 60s’. In the mean time my day today is indicative of how active I have been. It was record breaking heat today (yesterday the 122 year long record of 91 was shattered in Little Rock at 94). I was out doing yard work (mostly in the shade of beautiful oaks and pines) and by the time I finished, I was drenched. Thank God for bananas and pistachios, potassium and salt. Oh yeah, and water.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Chris. The swift decline of photo giant Kodak due to the change in technology is an amazing story. They still make film and large commercial printers, but their days are numbered. I was part of the photo kiosk business but very few are getting their photos printed these days.
      Hope you’re able to go back to teaching if you so desire. I look forward to the yardwork after I retire. That will keep me somewhat busy April thru December. Temps are going up all over.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Happy Friday the 13th, Tom. Just another day. It’s kinda sad that if you aren’t on the cutting edge these days, you can be tossed in a heartbeat.
        I just pulled out a digital camera that I bought years back and it was made by Kodak. Or, maybe something happened where Kodak put it’s name on something that someone else made but I highly doubt that. I can turn the thing on after years of collecting dust and it still works great.
        In fact, I used it back in my short-lived days as a journalist. I had my own “Chris’s Corner” in a publication that still exists called The Tailgate News in Gurdon, Arkansas. I got to cover sport stories and I particularly enjoyed covering high school basketball games. I would sit against the wall, under the basket, not the safest place mind you, and take pictures of the action as I kept stats and took notes. I liked to take free copies of the paper that included the article I had written about the game to each school involved and I particularly made sure that any student in a picture got a copy.
        The Kodak digital camera did a nice job capturing the action even though the photographer was untrained.
        Thank you for you kind words about returning to teaching. It’s in the Lord’s hands.
        I enjoy yard work as well…always have. This year’s yard work includes growing Sun Gold Cherry and Better Boy tomatoes along with a nice stand of Elephant garlic (a leek really).
        About the temps, my phone weather app says we are going to be in or near the 90s’ for the next 10 days with little chance of rain. We had a ton of rain early but they are already saying this may be the hottest May on record here. Hope not.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Chris. Kodak made many great products for many years, but the switch from analog to digital and the rise of the smart phone killed the company. Thanks for the interesting personal anecdotes. Those Kodak digital cameras were made in China. Much of the manufacturing was switched to China in the final throes.
        Have fun in the garden. My wife is gardening while I’m at work.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’re welcome, Tom. Kodak always impressed me as a good company. It sounds like you were there longer than most. We really should get back to manufacturing here in the U.S. We rely on China for too much stuff even though much of it is not something we have to have. I hope you have a good weekend even though I know you will be working through much of it. Glad to hear that you guys have a garden. It is always nice to eat something that you grew yourself. Just think, next year you will be helping your wife in the garden good Lord willing!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thans, Chris. The decline/exit of manufacturing really decimated Western New York – Buffalo & Rochester.
        Thanks and have a good weekend yourself! Yup, nice ro know I’ll be puttering around in the backyard next Spring. The best part is knowing I won’t be driving to work next Winter.

        Liked by 1 person

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