64 degrees this morning. 56:30 minute walk, five earthquakes in past 24 hours.
40 years ago today, I started as the Administrative Assistant to the City Manager of Liberal, Kansas. It is my first “professional” municipal job and I think created a good base for the rest of my career.
It is a blur now, of course, but I remember waking early and driving around town, looking Liberal over.
I had just graduated from Wichita State University with my M.A. in Political Science. By chance, I found out about the position in Liberal and applied for it.
For those of you who don’t know, Liberal was about four hours from Wichita on US. 54. I would be ver familiar with this trip over the following years!
When I say I learned of the job in Liberal “by chance”, I really mean it. As I recall, I had either gotten stood up for a date or just had the date wrong.
As I went back to my house, I stopped at a traffic light. My Advisor from Wichita State stopped beside me, recognized me and yelled there was an opening in Liberal, Kansas. I applied, and the next 40 years was history.
The City Manager told me “this is your office, I want a grant”, so I proceeded to write a grant to redevelop a part of town that was considered the area of town where help was needed. (It was a good choice. I admire the City of Liberal and the Liberal City Manager of recognizing the need and directing resources to meet the need when it may not have been politically popular to do so.)
The area involved about a definite 20 block area of town of deteriorating houses etc. The program involved putting in decent streets, fixing the drainage, upgrading houses, provision for a neighborhood park etc. Years after I left Liberal, (about 25 years), I drove through and was pleased that the program had generally worked.
I enjoyed the interaction with the community (it involved intense “citizen participation”, which I had written a detailed research paper on for my Masters Degree.)
Anyway, 40 years ago today, my career in city government started. I probably would do some things different now, but I wouldn’t change my career path for anything.
Spring forward 40 years and i am in the stage of embarking on my “encore” career. There is a good chance that I will be assigned to my “field office” (my home) next week and will start working my territory, although probably with a more experienced person.
During my walk this morning, I noticed the first Christmas decorations of the year. I was surprised, but, on the other hand, Christmas Trees are already appearing in stores.
I guess if you’re going to the trouble to put up Christmas decorations, you may as well enjoy it!
Probably picking up the car today. I sure there will be something I assumed would be on the car that isn’t. On he other hand, there may be something on the car I didn’t expect! As long as it gets me around in a reliable manner, I will be satisfied.
That’s it for now, Tuesday, October 21, 2014.