15 Years!

Not too sure if I should be worried or delighted when I recently received a mail from the company I work for, congratulating me for having spent the past 15 years with them.  Should I be worried that I had been with them for 15 years or delighted that I have been there for 15 years?

Well, I choose to be delighted.  It may sound corny, but for me it has been a great journey – a journey that many of my colleagues over the years have expressed amazement.

OfficeSpacePicYes, I have been ridiculed for being a company man, but I’m actually proud of that.  To me it shows that they believe in me just as much as I believe in them.  The more cynical would say that I’ve been stuck in the Matrix and that I have not lived.

For the cynical, as we say in Ireland, well feck ya!  I’ve had a blast and I’ve met so many wonderful people … and some have even inspired me to do better.

The year I started my job the Celtic tiger was still alive and roaring across the Globe.  We had a fantastic life inside our little Leprechaun world, where most bankers would give you a 110% mortgage, the credit cards limits were increased weekly just for being happy and the only house common people could afford was 15-20 miles outside Dublin City … unless you of course didn’t mind buying an overpriced town house that would eat away at both your incomes.

A lot of Irish people who had left the country in the mid 80’s came back to their homeland to take part in this phenomenon, trying to reach the pot of gold.  But as many found out in recent years, we got somewhat shafted by the same generous bankers and people ended up leaving again.

During the 15 years I made great friends.  Some are more than friends, but that’s because we grew up together, started families, had kids and got older.  At times I spent more time with my colleagues than at home, and our partners participated in various corporate events.

The worst memory of my working life was in 2008 when we had to make a number of very hard decisions.  At this point in my career I had made it to senior management and was now faced with some harsh realities of management.  We had to reduce our team by 25% and I was part of the team having to share the news with the individuals.

That afternoon, after having told friends they were no longer with the firm, I spent good parts of 15 minutes crying.  Many might think it’s easy being management, but it breaks my heart to send people into the job market, especially because we weren’t parting ways because of poor performance, but because some twats in banking society had started the killing of Celtic Tiger.

A few years later I was offered a great opportunity to move to the US and be part of the Global organisation.  Professionally it was a side step, but I’m willing to work hard and become part of another great team.  More importantly, it was a fantastic opportunity for the family to improve our quality of life.

The only laughing matter was how the company would actually thank me for all these years?  Was I really at the age where they would dish out the traditional gold watch or would I just get a free meal in the canteen.  It didn’t really matter to me, I was just happy to have been able to contribute to the growth of the organisation over the years.

I was utterly amazed with the selection of gifts I could select from; iPod, Bose sound system, TV, bicycle, lamps, etc.  In the end I decided to get a pool table.

We don’t really have space for a pool table, but that’s a minor detail.  We just have to buy a house that has the necessary space.

Roll on the next decade and may I find new opportunities to grow professionally, and I’m certain it will continue to be an adventure.

How long have you been with your company?  Are you prod to work for your company?  Or do you work to live?