15 Years (And Counting)

Today is my work anniversary – 15 years. I started with this company my freshman year of college answering phones/dispatching labor for our evening cleaning crews. The hours worked out very nicely with my classes, and the office was conveniently located between my house and campus. I loved having the reliable hours (that being the prompt that got me to leave my very cushy high school job where I could do homework if there were no customers.)

It did not take long to expand my role here. Familiarity with desktop publishing (sniffle, RIP PageMaker) and fast typing skills allowed me to move away from the entry level phone job and take on bigger projects for different departments. I could also fill in for data entry projects whenever I had extra time off school. Through initial years I worked in almost every department within the company as floater labor. Sure I wish I would have taken more initiative for higher wages back then, considering how much money I saved the company through efficiency, but I was grateful for the extra hours and work experience.

Eventually I made a more permanent relocation into our sales department. Finally I had an assigned desk and phone extension (yes for years I simply had a rolling cart with supplies and snacks that I wheeled to an open desk on a daily basis.) The opportunity of severe vacancies in that department – one rep had just been terminated and another was going on maternity leave – allowed me to be able to switch bosses completely. It was heavenly. I revamped our entire filing system and took over a serious role in our marketing as the company re-branded. When the opportunity to backpack in Europe came about, my boss encouraged me to take 6 weeks off work and my job would still be waiting for me when I got back. (I am still blown away by this.)

Right around this time things fell apart in other areas of my life and a full-time job was necessary. They made a position for me and I felt like I had found a home with a company that cared and treated employees well. After a lifetime of focus on early childhood development, the dream of teaching drifted away. I loved my boss and I was happy.

The recession hit our company hard and many positions were cut. I took on more and more jobs and never felt I was making any headway.  Our parent company had been pretty hands-off for years, as we were the cash cow of their portfolio. Now with revenue and profits being slashed left and right, they came down hard on us and our employee perks were slashed as well. On top of this was being constantly told with every grumble to be thankful we still had jobs at all in such a lousy market. Employee motivation at its finest I tell you.

My beloved boss was promoted into a new role and a new employee was hired to take over our department. This person was hired by our parent company using a head hunter and we had little input in the decision making. It was a horrible fit. He did not understand the sales process for selling service (vs selling a tangible product) and he was too arrogant to learn. Slowly his incompetence became an issue and more and more of his responsibilities were parceled out to others in an effort to not tank the company. This whole time there was a power struggle going on in the positions above him, and leadership throughout the company was hard to come by.

I stayed. Maybe out of a sense of loyalty, maybe out of optimism that things would have to turn around, maybe out of laziness and not wanting to give up my freedom to come and go as I please. I was not silently suffering by any means and I cannot imagine the frustration of those around me who constantly asked why I didn’t get a different job.

Fifteen years ago I never would have guessed I would still work here. In the months leading up to this monumental date I wanted to reach it even if out of sheer stubbornness. I am good at my job and I like the opportunities available to grow here. Every time I played with my resume or scanned job postings I was gritting my teeth. Why do I have to be the one to leave when he is the one in the wrong? Well 700+ rambling words later I can say that I won. There is still a lot to figure out and make right again, but the idiot was let go, and I came into work today happy.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “15 Years (And Counting)

  1. RA

    Yahooo! Good on you for sticking it out. I hope they reward you in some way and commemorate your workiversary!

  2. Courtney

    Hooray! I’ve had many jobs and many idiot coworkers, and it’s true that the people you work with totally make or break your job. I hope this makes things so much happier for you!

  3. Congratulations!!! 15 years is a BIG anniversary. And how wonderful to have persevered in the face of such yucky conditions and to finally come out the other side with good news.

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