Thursday, February 28, 2013

Looking back ... and looking forward

Today is a bit of an anniversary for me. Two years ago today, I retired from King County government, serving the Greater Seattle area in Washington state, after more than 30 years of public service. When I decided to retire from King County, I knew I was still too young, energetic and creative to actually quit working, so I had planned a career change. 

I'd continue using my writing, editing, training and other communications skills. But since I could afford less compensation (because of my pension), I'd get a position with a nonprofit organization or agency, a progressive campaign or a socially responsible communications consultant. I wanted to write and edit for a good cause that advocates for the environment, the arts, health, education, civil rights and responsibilities, or human services.

But for various unexpected (but healthy) reasons, life hasn't turned out that way. So now I'm more fully committed to enjoying retirement--doing things like writing this blog, volunteering, getting better on my musical instruments, traveling, taking pictures, and connecting with friends and family.

But I am still available for part-time, contract or freelance opportunities with progressive, socially responsible firms, agencies, individuals, and nonprofit or political organizations. I'm flexible for whatever comes along. I describe and offer my services through Garbl's Pencil & Good Cause Communications and LinkedIn.

Looking back two years, during the retirement ceremony for me on Feb. 24, 2011, I talked about the meaning of public service to me. I described briefly how each of my communications jobs at Metro/King County built on my career goal of helping people learn about, understand, influence and use their government services. That goal of mine continues now in the nonprofit field.

I noted in 2011 that I had been an editor, public information officer, lobbyist, and service information chief for the public transit, wastewater treatment, and road services functions of Metro/King County:
I’ve had a lot of pride in all the publications I’ve produced or helped produce during the past 30 years. I’ve saved at least one copy of most of them—partially to preserve my good memories and partially to have examples of my work to display if other opportunities come my way.
I’ve been going through those publications during the past month --- at home and at work. ... And reviewing those publications stimulated my pride in the efforts of everyone I’ve worked with.
I then said: 
We’re hearing a lot lately from some people who have a political agenda that includes attacking public employees. But based on my experience, I know that their comments are mostly based on ignorance of the good work done by public employees like us—or deliberate misrepresentations of our work for political purposes. ... 
And I concluded: 
Thank you to every one here and not here for being part of our beautiful symphony of public service. We’ve made beautiful music together. Without our fine-tuned work, the people we serve every day would have less harmony in their lives—even if they don’t hear about the good work we do!
My sons, wife and me during the retirement ceremony.

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