michelel72 (michelel72) wrote,

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You work 15 years, what do you get?

(Well, in my case, an extra week of vacation annually.)

I was drifting after university. I never really did settle on what I wanted to do with my life, and I hadn't been prepared for an environment in which I would have to work for good marks; I wound up taking the easy way out, emerging with an oddly named degree (Bachelor of Science in Humanities) from the Literature department of an engineering-and-hard-sciences school. I tried a graduate school film program, but I dropped out in November; the program and I were a bad match.

So I took odd jobs in film projection and temp work for about the next year. It seems longer, in retrospect, possibly because I had worked some of those jobs while in university/grad school. (I didn't realize that spending so much of my energy working to pay for school would make it harder for me to concentrate on school.) It would only have been 1996 that I was out of school and doing temp work. Late in that year, I saw a job posting that sounded equivalent to help desk work, and I thought I could probably do that; I sent in my résumé.

I later learned that my résumé had gotten attention because the company founder had the same alma mater. The first interview or two felt skeptical, as if they were unsure that I really had what they needed; by what I remember as the fifth meeting, the interviewers were then expressing concern that I was overqualified and would use the company as a springboard within a few years.

I don't know if this is a standard technique, but at the time, it felt personal. I just wanted stability. I wanted company-sponsored health insurance. I pushed back; I feel bad for my contact, in retrospect, because I nagged him for a decision, or so I recall. Somehow they decided to offer me a position, in the middle of their standard starting ranges, and I gleefully accepted.

I think it's clear by now that I wasn't seeking a springboard: Friday was my fifteen-year anniversary. (Fifteen years is, as far as I know, the last of the major milestones at this company. At this milestone, the employee goes to a different time-off status that is, in most cases, more generous.) This job has been an unbelievably fantastic fit for me. I spent a little over two years as customer support, but in those two years I noticed that the company's proprietary programming language was in that sweet spot between English and logic, handling all that low-level work I never quite grasped under the hood. I picked up the language quickly, and I was then able to transfer from customer support contact to development programmer. We've had several reorganizations since then, but I've remained within the development side of things and I remain a programmer.

No other programming language has ever clicked for me the way this one does. I love what I do, and I'm very good at it; I also have a fantastic management team. (I can say these things because my annual review paperwork has already been submitted, as of Friday. Heh.) There are frustrations, but that's the nature of work, and the balance is overwhelmingly in my favor. I know I'm profoundly lucky to have a good, stable job, and I'm delighted to have it.

Here's to ... not-quite-thirty more years of the same.

Originally posted at Dreamwidth | Comment | comment count unavailable comments
Tags: a day in the life

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