The first 10 years or so I had 1 half-day to hunt turkeys per season. Ohio did not allow Sunday hunting and hunting ended at Noon. I could not afford to spend vacation on it, so there I was driving 3-4 hours one way just to get a half-day of turkey hunting.
Eventually my work schedule relaxed. For the past 8 seasons, I was able to take a full week, with 5 days all to myself and 1 or two weekends with my sons on either end.
Now I'm unemployed. For the first time in my life I got to spend a week deer hunting, and unless the market improves I'll have the whole of Spring Gobbler Season open. On the one hand I'm elated. On the other hand, I have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Fifty was not my target retirement age.
Three times I had to get called in from the field to take care of problems at work. One year they called on Weds evening to tell me they'd had to fire someone in my department, and needed me back to fill in. The next year the boss' boss called me on Weds night to tell me they'd fired my boss. The next year, I had a major power and telcom outage to contend with, and handled it successfully from my front porch using the cell phone and a dial-up connection. However, I decided it was better to get back to town and show my face the next afternoon, just to show I cared.
This last year, I had everything set up-- no big problems. All my big projects had lost funding, so I was remarkably free. However, my new boss came within a hair's breadth of asking me to cancel at the last minute, because he was uncomfortable with doing without me. He still managed to call me mid-week in a fluster over nothing, regarding a project with which I had no involvement, and demand an update. The voicemail came at 2 AM. I responded at 6 AM via email, and went out hunting. That's when I knew this job was no longer for me and put out my resume when I got back in town.
26 years on the job, and finally got 3 weeks paid vacation in 2005 and still never got to take all three. I was rolling a year from 10 years ago that never got spent and they were paying me out for the third week. Of course, once I got the farm in 2001, every weekend was a small vacation, so I really wasn't bitter. About the only thing I regret was not taking more time in the beginning to turkey hunt.