I am not in a hurry to grow old, but I find myself absently counting the years and hours left until I reach the minimum service and age at which I can retire.
27 years, 2 months and 19 days ago today, the chief clerk in our yard office took me on a tour through the office to introduce me to the staff as the new kid on the team. Everyone was friendly, except for one older guy who was hunched over his keyboard, angrily typing away as we approached.
When the chief clerk introduced me to him, the man simply tensed his shoulders and said nothing at first, then he spun around in his chair and jabbed a finger at me, not quite poking me in the chest.
"Quit now, boy," he said angrily. "Quit now before it's too late. This place is a fucking trap. It seems like a nice job when you first hire on, but sooner than you think, you will have too many years in here to just quit and get a better job. Quit now and save yourself the grief. This is a terrible place to work. You don't hate it now, but you will. Save yourself a world of fucking grief and quit now."
His mouth moved a couple of time like he had something else to say, but then without another word he spun his chair back around and resumed angrily pounding on his keyboard as if I had ceased to exist.
It turns out that he was right. I try to remind myself that I've had some very enjoyable years working here, and that if I had not stayed with the job, I'd likely have never met atara.