I don’t talk too much about what I do for a living because I’ve always considered it secondary to my life. I mean, I work to make money so I can pay bills and have money to do fun things. That’s not to say that I don’t like my job now or the jobs I’ve had in the past. But work, even though I spend a lot of time doing it, is usually just a means to an end.
I think as I’ve gotten older, that philosophy has changed a bit. I take pride in the work I do, even if it’s just for the people I work for and with. I get excited about some things and dread other things, I think like many people feel about their jobs. But, I don’t bring work home as much as I used to, so I’m getting better at leaving work stuff at work.
The reason I bring this all up is because today after work, I went to a farewell happy hour for yet another person who’s leaving the company. There’s been a TON of turnover this year, either people getting laid off or voluntarily leaving. I got into a conversation with some people about former colleagues.
Now, I will have been at this job for 9 years in February. I’m what you call a ‘lifer,’ mostly. I was at the job before that for 14 years. I am not one to constantly be looking for the next thing. Interviews are stressful, I like what I do, I like the people I work with, so why should I look for something else?
Anyway, it just struck me in talking with them that I’ve seen a lot of changes and seen a lot of people come through. Some I remember well and am FB friends with them, and others, I have a hard time recalling what they even did! Of course, I have become notorious among my family as having a horrible memory so that may not be hard to believe.
I don’t really have a point beyond just being struck by the passage of time and what things impact your life or just appear as a blip or even less on the radar of your life.
And just for fun, here’s my work history (the best I can recall :)):
LaRoche Industries (high school) – where my dad worked, I helped out in the front office for a while
Sportmart (high school) – retail job that I liked for the most part, I worked in the apparel section and I remember that the hangers always made my fingers smell weird. I met a guy there who I dated for a while. He was one of the security guards.
I think there was a brief moment during high school (maybe even just a weekend) that I worked at Conroy’s Flowers. I remember having to put pins in roses so they wouldn’t droop.
Crown Books (college) – I helped open a new store near campus. I could walk there, though I had to borrow a friend’s car to go to the training. I loved working in a bookstore, every aspect, from shelving to register to taking inventory. I only worked there a few months because I wanted to go home for the holidays but I didn’t have vacation there so I quit.
Road Runner Sports (started in college) – I started there in 1993 doing weird work opening used shoes so they could be evaluated for running patterns. I was paid under the table for the first year or so probably. I went on my first work trip to Atlanta to work a race expo. I drank so much one of the nights, I was throwing up til the morning when I had to go work the booth. All there was to eat were pierogies. But Hot-lanta was awesome. We went to a Braves game on the 4th of July. I worked my way to a ‘legal’ paid position doing administrative work. I hated my boss. When he left, I helped hire the next person who came to be one of my mentors, a wonderful woman who brought me up to marketing after she moved up. That’s where I learned how to take criticism of my copywriting, what it meant to write in a brand voice, and became a magazine editor. My boss after the woman I helped to hire was also fantastic. I learned a lot from both of them, not just about how to do a good job, but also how to be a good person. I also had a colleague there who I didn’t work with per se, but we knew each other and were friends. And he’s the guy who called me in 2007 to offer me a new job.
Bridgepoint Education (current job) – There was more than just the guy I knew from RRS at this fairly new company so it wasn’t too bad leaving my comfortable spot because there were friendly faces. I started out as a manager and was promoted in 2 years to a director position that I’ve had ever since. At the most, I’ve had four people working for me. Now it’s down to just one. At a recent large event, the guy who brought me over from RRS looked around and said, “Just think about it, nearly all of these people have read something you’ve written. Isn’t that amazing?!” And I had to admit that it was. I don’t know how long I’ll be at this job, I have no plans to leave, but the industry and the business is in a funky place right now. I just try to do the best I can, to stay challenged, to let the bullshit go, and to have fun with the people I’ve come to trust and who help me be/become inspired.