This month I achieve 20 years of service at my job. Twenty years at the same place. I am quite shocked, actually.
I have had several different careers, although somewhat related, but I have moved around a bit over the years. Staying at one place for an entire career is less likely in these times, people move around more than ever. Twenty years is not a career, but it is still a big deal.
The first year I was here, I resigned. The job was disappointing, and it felt like I was set up to fail. Only after I turned in my resignation and prepared to leave, did the organization get the point and a few important things were changed. I still have the plaque they made for my departure, and for years, I hung it on the wall as a conversation piece. It served as an important reminder how best intentions can go wrong.
I wish I could say that the last 19 years were smooth, but there are have been some bumps, and the past couple of years have been quite difficult. I never planned to stay 20, but after five years, I noticed how the chair molds itself to your rear-end, and before you realize it, you are more of the “old guy” rather than the “new guy”.
Interestingly, I found myself somewhat at odds with the organization over how they did things, including a few policies and a general conservative nature toward risk. I still do; but as a senior member of the organization, I am part of management and a defender of the realm. That is what happens over time, you move from outsider to insider.
I am fortunate, this organization invested in me to grow and develop, and to explore my leadership potential. When I needed it, the health insurance paid for surgeries and I had sick leave. When I had a death in the family, I was provided time off to grieve and help my family.
The organization established a set of values (which I was asked to help create) and operates from them, including hiring and promoting good people.
By and large, this has been a good place to work, and while I have the occasional difference, my boat-rocking days are behind me. I have enjoyed a decent salary and good benefits; life could be worse. As my boat moves closer to the sunset on the horizon, what I prefer are calmer seas, for my next 20.