“A red letter day is any day of special significance.
Its roots are in classical antiquity; for instance, important days indicated in red in a calendar dating from the Roman Republic (509 BC-27 BC). In medieval manuscripts, initial capitals and highlighted words (known as rubrics) were written in red ink. The practice was continued after the invention of the printing press, including in Catholic liturgical books. Many calendars still indicate special dates and holidays in red instead of black. The practice did not originate, as it often assumed, from Medieval church calendars or a requirement that important holy days be marked in red from First Council of Nicaea in 325CE, as has widely been claimed.”
Today is just such a day. The Kickass Canada Girl and I have formally given notice to our respective employers of our intention to retire at the start of July this year.
I left college in the summer of 1975 and got my first job as a very junior programmer in a University of London medical school. The computing resource there at the time comprised a machine that took up a whole room (an NCR Elliott 4100) which had no hard disks (just four enormous tape drives) was programmed using punched paper tape and had less computing power than my mobile phone… by a very long way!
I stuck that job out for a mere nine months before moving to another of the University of London’s many colleges, though this time in a most pleasant situation in the verdant countryside well outside town. I was to remain there for the next two decades and more, first as a systems programmer and then as network manager. I would probably have stayed even longer had I not been head-hunted (there’s posh!) by the first of the two public schools (in the English sense!) at which I have been gratefully employed throughout the last seventeen years.
Forty years is not a massively long working life these days and will certainly seem even less so to the coming generations. It is – however – not bad going in a fledgling industry such as IT, which is – and will doubtless remain – a young man’s (or woman’s) game. Remember – when I started there were no personal computers, no mobile phones, no InterWebNet – no iAnything! There were also no digital cameras, no flat screen TVs, no touchscreens, no digital recording or sampling, no digital musical instruments – and certainly no ubiquity of microprocessors in absolutely everything – as it seems that there is now.
The Girl and I want to be able to spend as much of the coming years as is humanly possible doing things together and being together. We have already lost far too many precious hours to sitting in planes, trains and automobiles.
My father finished his career at the age of 59 and subsequently enjoyed two decades of retirement. I would like to do at least the same.
It’s time to go!!