It’s been a good ride. Today, 31 December 2022, is my final day of Federal employment after serving for almost 37 years. The last few weeks have made one thing very clear to me—it’s incredibly hard to step away from something you’ve been doing every day for so many years. It’s also very hard to say goodbye to colleagues you care deeply about. So I won’t. This will be the first and last chapter of the book I’ll never write.
After graduating from college, the kid in the photo above took two weeks off before packing up his entire life in the back of a VW Jetta and moving to the Washington, DC area to live in the basement of a complete stranger. I had been offered a government job with a starting salary of $16,100/yr. How could I resist such an attractive offer? What I didn’t realize at the time was that I wasn’t just starting a job. I was joining a family made up of the most dedicated, courageous and brilliant officers I have ever known. I never looked back.
I have had many amazing opportunities to do things I never imagined doing in my wildest dreams. I have had the opportunity to travel the world. I have been a witness to history on multiple occasions. Some moments were better than others. Some made the front pages and some never did. But I was never alone. That is part of what makes our organization so special. The relationships we have with each other, and with our external partners, are part of a special formula that allows us to do things that no other organization can do.
I could never have done this without the love and support of my family. My amazing wife, Renee, was by my side every step of the way. With the patience of Job, she would watch me head off for weeks at a time when our kids were sick, she was sick or she was just sick of me being gone. My daughters carefully navigated the complicated course of having a father who never specifically discussed what he did for a living. They learned how to be patient, thoughtful and speechless at a very young age. They also provided a constant flow of laughter, which was always needed.
Like many others, I didn’t work here for fame or fortune. However, I can say that I am leaving a better person, rich with friendships and experiences that I have shared with some amazing, talented and committed officers. This business is all about relationships. Success is dependent upon every relationship we develop and foster. We move mountains every day in this organization. I cringe when I hear people talk about “typical government employee” or “good enough for government work”. Those people have never walked in our shoes. Those people have never seen the tremendous personal sacrifices that are made for them every single day.
13,363 day later, I remain forever thankful for the opportunity to serve my country and contribute to the mission of this critical organization. I am looking forward to my next chapter.