A year ago today I re-entered the ranks of the gainfully employed after being out of work for two years and forty-five weeks. To be given the opportunity to contribute and make a living again after being at one employer for so long (strike one), being my age (strike two), and having been out of work for so long (strong three) was a wonderful thing and it would be hard to overstate my gratitude.
On the other hand, it seems that I’m holding my own and pulling my weight, and then some. With the magnitude of the changes I was expecting there was a sliver of doubt that I could still make the grade (see strikes one, two, and three above). There have been days when I’ve been exhausted and a few where I’ve been a bit down on myself and frustrated (gee, I’ll bet some of that comes through in these daily brain regurgitations!) but despite that things are better now than they were a year ago, both for me and for the Habitat for Humanity affiliate where I’m the Director of Finance.
A little thing went a long way to making my day today. I got a card from our CEO, a simple little congratulations for making through the first year. An acknowledgement of the anniversary, a bit of praise.
If you think that’s not that big of a deal, consider that at my previous employer no one from the President and Vice-President down to the executive secretary ever acknowledged any kind of work anniversary. Not one year, not five years, not ten years, not twenty years, not twenty-five years. Forget about the proverbial gold watch for twenty-five years – no one knew and no one cared.
There are a lot of reasons that this job is so much better than that one. I like the job and the company goals more, I like that we’re actually making a difference in people’s lives, people who need the help. (We build houses for low-income military veterans.) I like all of the people I work with. The commute is much, much shorter — if you don’t think that’s a big deal, come and drive around in LA traffic for a few morning rush hours. I now have people to work with who I can truly trust to be teammates, people that I can count on to get things done, help me when I need it, and ask for my help when they need it.
The fact that we take the time to set up a calendar to give out a card on work anniversaries is small, but very important. It makes a huge difference.
Here’s to the next year and to all the years beyond!