Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year in Sand: 2009

When I started working in Los Angeles' ATSAC (Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control) Center in 1991, the job was technical, demanding, and interesting. We were leading the way into using computers to help traffic flow better.

By about 2006, ATSAC was no longer at the leading edge. The Control Center had become more of a political showplace and a production environment, and I, being something of an embarrassment to the politicians, was shuffled off to the back room and told to keep out of sight. Keep the system working, though.

In 2008 I started looking into the possibility of early retirement. Money would have been somewhat tight, but it would have worked. Then the economy tanked and we heard rumors of a coming early retirement incentive plan. My boss and I looked at each other and said "We've heard this tune before." By the middle of 2009, though, the rumors became fact.

Month by month we tracked the negotiations. Would we be eligible? In late October the final plan was presented and I turned in my application on the first day I could, as did my boss. Then we waited.

In early December I heard that my application had been accepted, and I was qualified. The only remaining question was that of when it would happen. I expected the wheels to grind slowly. In this case they dropped into high gear: I heard on December 17 that my formal retirement date would be January 4, 2010. What I'd thought would be a 2-year sojourn had turned into a 25-year career, and it would end in two weeks.

It was shocking. Work had defined what I could do; if I lost this job, where would I find another at my age? Now that consideration was gone. I spent the last couple of weeks providing some basic teaching to someone who'd take over my job, and cleaning out my office. On the last day my boss gave me a ride home, and that was it.

It was a difficult year. I didn't write reports for any of these sculptures. We're lucky there are images.

Sometime in the summer: 09P-1 (arch dissolved by rising tide, no photos)

September 19: 09P-2 (small multiple, images by Jane)

November 11: 09P-3, "Contact"

November 12: 09P-4

November 19: 09P-5

November 26: 09P-6

November 27: 09P-7, "Simple Time"

December 4: 09P-8

December 11: sculpture plans rained out

December 12: sculpture plans rained out, again

December 18: 09P-9

December 25: 09P-10

December 26: 09P-11

December 31: 09P-12