When the calendar turned to the first business day of 2011 I officially became a member of the 10-year club at the day job. At my place of work that comes with a couple nice benefits, such as a single share of stock (which will prompt quarterly dividend checks in the pennies), a lunch at some point for all employees having an "anniversary" this year, and an extra week of vacation.
Well, the week of vacation I get for this year. Then in the next four years I don't get it, then it returns permanently in year 15. Yeah, it's weird.
So I got this letter in the mail just before New Year's from our company's division president, a form letter (that he did personally sign - maybe eBay will be interested), congratulating me on my "accomplishment."
That word stuck with me, because what does it really mean? What is my accomplishment, really? I managed to go ten years without leaving for something better or different and didn't piss anyone off enough to fire me?
It's at points like this in one's career where we tend to stop, to take a look back over wins and losses, and then to look forward over our expectation as to what will come next.
I gotta be honest here - such introspection doesn't exactly fill me with joy looking in either direction.
I'd like to think I've done my job well. The benchmarks used for my particular job are very positive in my time in the position. But as I look forward, do I see a future where such a thing is rewarded?
Not sure I do. Perhaps this is a beginning stage of a mid-life crisis, but I'm not old enough for that - and I prefer to think it as healthy analysis. I've been in one job long enough to recognize the cycles in process, to accurately predict how things will play out, and be able to call the things that will annoy me in the life of a project before they even happen, because it's always true.
Perhaps that sounds jaded, but at the same time if it's true...
Part of this also is, I believe, my standards for what I consider a good life have changed. The paycheck is still important, but it's not the top thing on the list anymore (rest assured, it's still high). As I've grown older little things, items that weren't important at 22, are now much more so. And how I want to spend my time has changed.
Hell, I've committed myself to writing, which can be hard when you come home from work drained from fighting battles both unnecessary and fruitless.
Where does that leave me? I suppose the proper word with regards to work life would be "unsatisfied."
Ten years in, this "accomplishment" sure rings hollow. Hopefully the next ten years, whether at this job or somewhere else, leave me feeling more productive, valuable, and satisfied.
In the meantime, it's time to go take more pictures of Misaki and the cats.