Reflecting On The End Of An Era

As some of you know, I’ve now reached the last week of my day job and will retire on Friday. In many ways it’s the end of an era. Although I was a stay-at-home mom in the 90’s, I returned to the work force when my youngest was seven and have worked different types of jobs over the years.

SFU_burnaby_campus,_1_sept_2007,_8[1]This last stint was at Simon Fraser University. Oddly, it was also one of my first jobs. When I was just twenty years old in the mid-70’s, I landed a job in SFU’s Registrar’s Department. I didn’t like my supervisor, so I eagerly took a job in the Computing Science Department, working as a secretary for the department chair. The man had a formidable reputation as being difficult to work with and the position had been vacant for some time. He turned out to be one of the best and most interesting bosses I’ve ever worked for. He was one of those conducting research to establish a definite correlation between cancer rates and asbestos workers, and all we know how that turned out.

My husband graduated from SFU. Although we were both on campus at the same time, we never met until years later where we both wound up employed for the same company. My son and daughter have also graduated from the university, and it was my great pleasure to see them receive their diplomas.

I returned to SFU in the fall of 2013, where my sister also worked. In fact, I got her started in the Registrar’s office way back then, but she stayed and I left to return to school full time. For a year, we were both up there again until she retired in the fall of 2014.

My first job back on campus was a year-long- temporary assignment in the Biology department. When that ended I was offered another year-long position in the same department, and from there I moved to continuous, part-time employment in Linguistics. Continuous employment meant that the university would subsidize my son’s university education. I worked 60% of a full-time week, and the university paid for 60% of his education. It was a great deal.

My son graduated two years ago with a degree in chemical/physics (minoring in computing science),  and I stayed on, partly because he wasn’t sure what, if any, job he’d find and I had visions of him going to grad school. But that didn’t happen. He wound up with a great job.

I have to admit that working 40-50 hour weeks at my writing and day job for the past seven years has worn me out. Compounding things was my mom’s dementia and cancer in 2018 and 2019. It’s been almost a year since she passed away.

Work-2My daughter’s in the last trimester of her pregnancy, and I feel that now is the right time to leave. An important new chapter in my life is about to begin and this grandma doesn’t want to miss a thing. Of course, I’ll still keep writing and publishing, though I might slow down a bit. Or not. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, thank you Linguistics. I’ll miss you.


Author: debrapurdykong

I'm a British Columbia author who's been writing for over 30 years. My volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and security work inspired me to write the Casey Holland transit security novels set in Metro Vancouver. I'm also a part-time facilitator in Creative Writing Workshops through Port Moody's Recreation program. Feel free to contact me at

13 thoughts on “Reflecting On The End Of An Era”

  1. Congratulations! I bet you have become a bit of a fixture around the college… Perhaps there is an author lecture in your future, or author talk in the writing department or library… I see many possibilities!

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  2. I may have passed you in the halls. I graduated in 76 from Burnaby North and went to SFU. I lived close in those days on Ridley Drive to the West of the mountain. Those were fun times but life was calling, my heart was broken and I decided to move to the interior. See any similarity to Ravi?
    That was certainly a nice career with benefits for your son and daughter. So neat and I am sure they appreciate it. Congratulations on your retirement. Two suggestions I would offer – some people will think that now you have nothing to do and want you to (fill in the blank), but I suggest you choose how you spend your time and for many it is doing what you enjoyed when you were younger. Some hobbyists go into miniature trains, and I love to ride my bike. I know being Grandma is going to a pleasure you will treasure. – Best wishes sincerely David

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    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts, David, and yes we would have been there at the same time! I do see some connection to Ravi, for certain. I appreciate the advice about post-retirement. I’ve already had two requests to teach plus volunteer for a year, but I turned them down. Our retired grandparenting friends have advised us not to over-commit to babysitting, so that’s in the back of my mind too. It’s going to be really exciting to see how the next year plays out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations, Debra. On Monday morning you can lounge on the porch with a coffee in hand and wave to all those cars heading out to work (or you could have, if it weren’t for the pandemic). Happy grandmothering.

    Liked by 1 person

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