George Findlay loves his 1968 Chevy Camaro. He bought it for $525 in 1972. He was only 19. Now he's 60. Like him, the car has aged through the years. He hasn't driven it for 11 years, but today he needed the support of his four-wheeled friend; this is the last day he'll drive to work.
After 39 years and 40 days, it's Findlay's final day at IBM. It's the only career he's ever known in a job he loved, working as an electrical engineer. He was laid off 30 days ago.
Reporter Gina Bullard: Why did you want to drive this on your last day?
George Findlay: To close out my time with IBM. We started together; we'll end together.
Gina Bullard: Is it emotional for you?
George Findlay: Yup.
Findlay drove the car to his first day at IBM in Fishkill, N.Y. There are some details he'll never forget about that day, June 3, 1974. It was his first job out of college.
"My starting pay was $173 a week when minimum wage was $1.60 an hour," Findlay said.
Three years later, he was relocated to Essex Junction. Findlay could have retired nine years ago with his pension when he celebrated three decades at Big Blue, but he enjoyed his job and co-workers. He says he was going to think about retiring in the next two years.
"It's hard," Findlay said.
Since the recession hit, he started feeling the heat of cutbacks, as friends around him lost their jobs. Thirty days ago, his new manager pulled him aside and told him he was laid off. Findlay says the transition will be difficult.
"I've gotten choked up when I think about it, so I try not to dwell on it and think about the positives and the future," he said.
A journey now full circle, leaving in the same car he arrived in almost 40 years ago. And now Findlay says he'll have time for a project he always wanted to get to-- restoring his Camaro.
Vermont Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan says IBM will let the state know the exact number of people laid off by Monday.
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