Thirteen years. The 23rd of March marks the beginning of my 13th year at the IRS. What started as a temporary thing to pass the time while waiting for my art job to come along has turned into something horrific. I will grant you that I learned a great deal there, it was mostly about myself and how a socially inept geek/nerd/dorkboy who left the extreme isolation of scenic upstate New York could do things he'd never before dreamed. (Or, really, even wanted to do.) Like public speaking! Often! To bigwigs! (Often!) I also learned quite a bit about people. Good and bad. (More often frustrating than not, but I will never forget how well the people of the IRS treated me in '99 after they learned of my apartment fire.)
The bad thing is that my "early retirement" age of 47 has a catch. I can retire at 47 only if my job no longer exists. While it would certainly be possible that my job would no longer exist during this madcap spate of downsizing, it is infinitely unlikely that I'll last 12 more years there in order to find out. True, 13 years ago I would have eaten your heart if you told me I'd still be at the IRS, with the same goddamn form!, after all this time. But back then, I would've eaten your heart for just about anything. Nothing personal.