Changing Workforce

A pink slip at age 87 for Boeing engineer

By the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Dec 30, 2016

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The day the boss man finally came for Bob King was July 22.

King, 87, ran his blue eyes over spreadsheets and databases. In his latest gig as a systems engineer in Off-Boeing Programs, he kept track of the labyrinth of regulations and directions on how to install new wings on the A-10 Warthog used by the U.S. Air Force.

In his seat that memorable day last summer, a manager — about the age of King’s children — tapped him on the shoulder.

His career, which spanned more than a half-century of aerospace innovation, was coming to an end.

“I got caught in a RIF,” said King, perturbed. “You know what that is?”

King was part of a reduction in force at the $97 billion behemoth. All of a sudden, he had 60 days to prepare for retirement and pass along parting knowledge.

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