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I'm Retired

Added February 20, 2021

Recorded Circa March 10, 2006

I’m Retired

(Parody of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”)


I worked 25 years for PG&E

Take a look and see what it’s done for me

Hey, I’m bald now, and I got a spare tire

But oh, now I’m retired


Started my career in Personnel

Talk about your basic life in hell

I got out, I must have had things wired

But oh, now I’m retired


I wanted me something that was much more thrilling

So I came over to Customer Billing

It was all that I desired

But oh, now I’m retired


I helped write a system called ABS

Some folks said “hey that’s a mess!”

But do it better?  They could only try

So don’t blame me ‘cause I’m reti (ered)


Lots of great projects came my way

There was Sarbanes-Oxley and Y2K

How’d I get all the fun stuff?  I had to inquire

But oh now, I’m retired


I never cared much for the corporate brass

I’d like to tell ‘em all “Hey kiss my…”

I guess I'd better not – because I might get fired

And it’s still three weeks 'till I’m retired


So after 25 years my story's been told

I'll turn things over to Thu and Joan 

I’ve got medical now, but my dental expires

But that’s how it goes when a man retires

I'm guessing this song was performed March 10, about three weeks prior (as the song says) before my official retirement date of April 1. The venue was my retirement party, a lunchtime affair at PG&E's corporate headquarters.

It was about a year earlier that I was about to perform at a group retirement party, and the I told the emcee that I'd be eligible for early retirement (55) in about a year. She misunderstood and announced to everyone that I was GOING to retire. It sounded so good that I never bothered to correct her.

People would ask if I was looking forward to leaving. I paraphrased comedian Rita Rudner and would reply "I'm going to leave skid marks."

The song pretty much wrote itself one night as I was leaving work (late). It was performed before a group of co-workers with the able assistance of Joe Pratt (the keyboard player) who had earlier performed with the Clef Notes. They had done a parody of "Hit the Road Jack.", written by Wayne Shepard who I'd worked with closely for several years. I mention Wayne in the introduction.

Joe Pratt really did a remarkable job - hearing that the song was a parody of Springsteen's "I'm on Fire" he volunteered to back me up. It turned out, he thought it was another Springsteen sone "Fire", so he totally winged it on the spot, which is why it sounds rather ragged.

One of those who had the misfortune of supervising me for several years, Dave Boughton, (who retired not long after I did) recorded the performance. Dave is a good friend to this day. Joe Pratt, it turns out, is a neighbor of mine and I've happily run into him on several occasions.

There are lots of inside references. For instance:

Verse 2 - I'd worked in the Personnel department for the first seven of my 25 years at PG&E (and nearly four years before that at Chrysler in Detroit) so I had the pleasure of burning out on two separate careers!

Verse 3 - Customer Billing was the name of the department I moved to from Personnel. Though the name changed several times as did the organization I worked in, I basically worked with the same computer system and the same people until I retired. 

Verse 4 - ABS (Advanced Billing System) was the computer system I worked on. It was an "under the radar" system that was eventually discovered and roundly criticized for not being run the way many would have liked. As I left, the 3 to 5 year project it was in its 17th year with no end in sight.

Verse 5 - Sarbanes - Oxley and Y2K were two computer systems projects that were nightmares, the root canals of information systems projects. I was the Department lead on both of them.

Verse 6 - I'd actually already worked my last day, but was technically using up vacation time. In the original version I named names (at least one) but decided not to burn my bridges behind me. It wasn't a particularly good verse anyway.

Verse 7 - Thu and Joan were the other two seniors in our group. They were excellent and I couldn't have handed things over to two better people.

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