Today, Nov 24, 2016, I celebrated my 60th birthday. It was so nice to also celebrate it yesterday with my Australian genealogy friends who were wishing me the best when here in Winnipeg it was still the day before.
But that was not all it was. This was also my last day of work as I head into “retirement”. I planned many years ago that I didn’t want to “work” a day after 60, and I was able to gear up for this day and count ‘em down. On the right is my 88 workday countdown as I had it up on my wall at work. It was a great way to ensure I had enough time to finish everything off and pass everything else on before the final date.
I have seldom mentioned my day job in my many years of posting on my Behold blog and that was mainly to prevent any possible conflict of interest. But now that I am officially retired, I am free to talk about what has kept me occupied during the day over the past 41 years.
I’ve worked over two thirds of my life for one company: Manitoba Hydro, the electricity and natural gas supplier for my Province of Manitoba. After 4 years as a summer student for the company, my degrees in Statistics and Computer Science allowed me to snag a permanent position in the Computer Services Department at Manitoba Hydro. I was there 8 years as a programmer and then system analyst working on some important and complex programs for the company.
In 1988, I accepted a position as a Load Forecaster in the Load Forecasting Department. We had to analyze electricity and gas usage in the province to predict what the Province was likely to need over the next 20 years. This work was perfect for me and allowed me to use both my statistics and programming skills together. Among other things, I was involved in implementing large customer surveys on energy use, I designed and built a Customer Information Database, I developed models to predict load growth based on historical trends and economic influences, and all this came together into a detailed annual forecast document. It was a great job that required learning of the latest techniques, working through all the technical details, and meeting with other forecasters from other utilities to share modeling methods and techniques. Every day was a new adventure. There were always new and interesting questions to answer. I loved doing this job. I did this for 20 years working with a great team of people.
In 2008, my manager retired and our company built and moved into a beautiful new gleaming headquarters in downtown Winnipeg. I took over the manager position in the Department. Now instead of doing the technical work, I became the leader and teacher of our talented department of forecasting professionals. I was manager for 8 years, enjoying the interesting work with my great co-workers, in a beautiful downtown work environment, taking the bus to work for 9 months and biking for 3 summer months while still playing squash 3 times a week at lunch. It was wonderful.
Today, my 60th birthday and my last day at work, I had a retirement reception in a 3rd floor Conference Room at our Manitoba Hydro Place building, with co-workers, family, squash buddies, bus buddies and bike buddies. It was a day that beautifully capped off a career that I fully enjoyed and am proud of.
So now what?
What I hadn’t told most people up to now was that Behold and GenSoftReviews and my involvement in Genealogy & Family History Stack Exchange and my work on Better Gedcom and FHISO and my recent DNA work and my DMT program and my genealogy lectures and travels were up to now just things I’d have to slot in after my full-time day job and after my family and friends, when I could on evenings and weekends. Not bad though. I still got a lot done over the years, even though I haven’t yet reached my goal of Version 2 of Behold with editing, so that I can use it for doing my own genealogy.
Now with my career at Manitoba Hydro completed, I get to move my evening and weekend work into a new daytime 8 – 5, Monday to Friday role. I am so looking forward to this. Everyone at work is happy for me, and wishes me the best in my pursuit of my life goal to develop the tools I need to research and document my own genealogy, and in doing so make these tools available to other genealogists as well.
This is all starting as we speak. I have to make a YouTube video for my Double Match Triangulator program by December 1, to complete its entry for the 2017 RootsTech Innovator Showdown.
And to round out today, my birthday, before I get to bed: In the mail today came my DNA test kit in the mail from FamilyTreeDNA. I’ll take the test and send it back and in a month I’ll likely have my own 9,000 matches to add to my uncle’s 9,000. I’ll really need DMT now!
And the other thing I’ll do tonight is to send my uncle’s obituary to the newspaper. He passed away last Saturday. He’ll be well remembered, and I’ll make sure of that as I am the family genealogist.