Ten Years at the Daily Grind
Happy anniversary to me, a little late. Saturday, September 10, was my tenth anniversary with my current employer. That’s right, I started a new job the day before America came under attack by terrorists. For that rather obvious reason, I will always remember the exact date. For the same reason, I am loath to celebrate the anniversary. But I figure this one is worth mentioning.
Ten years might not be a big deal for people who have built a career at a single employer. For me, though, it’s significant in that it’s longer, by multiples, that I have ever spent with one company. And to think it happened by accident.
I never planned to work for Mega-Super-International-Corp. But as a single mother who had always worked in small organizations and had suffered my share of layoffs in hard economic times, I needed something more stable as my son headed to college. I spent my first two months in training before jumping into a caseload full of psychiatric disability claims. Then they promoted me a couple of times and gave me an extra week of vacation every few years, and of course there was that employer match to my 401(k) contributions, not to mention the fully funded pension plan (yes, those do still exist in some places), and… Well, before I knew what had hit me, ten years had passed.
Disability insurance claims was never what I wanted to do when I grew up. The fact is that since changing my major halfway through college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, at least not until I finally figured it out just recently. (That’s a post for another time.) Which was fine. I decided long ago that I would work to live, not live to work. So employment anniversaries never meant all that much to me.
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to receive from the company, via my boss, a nice plaque in recognition of my ten years of service. And not just a plaque, but also a catalogue from which I could select an anniversary gift. Anything from jewelry to fine art prints to housewares. At the moment, my practical side and my frivolous side are duking it out between a tool set and a wall clock.
I have no idea how long I’ll stay at this company. Any decision in that regard that might come in the future won’t be influenced by the possibility of a bigger and better recognition gift at the next milestone. But if I make it that far, I’ll be glad to take whatever they want to give me. Maybe by that time, I’ll need a gold-plated watch.