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Thursday, September 02, 2004
Happy Anniversary to me...

...Yesterday marked 5 1/2 years with the company that I've been working for.

Now, some may think it's odd to mark a half year anniversary, but when you put it in my perspective it will make sense. Prior to this, I had a history of leaving companies after 2 1/2 years. I made it 3 years past that yesterday... in a market where jobs are scarce, at a dot-com long after the bubble burst, keeping a job longer than a lot of my peers in Generation X (the so-called slacker generation) who would job-jump to get better salaries and options after 6-8 months at a place.

I bucked the trends... what a surprise there. If you know me, that's what I've done my whole life.

I worked for Follett Corporation, which ran the college bookstore I worked at, for approximately 2 1/2 years... just a shade over, actually. I spent 5 months at another place that was off the career track, and then spent another 2 1/2 years at an audioconferencing equipment company.

*THAT* was an experience. Enough of one to learn a few things like know when it's past time to leave, that I never want to be in marketing or PR ever again if I can help it, and when you find out that the job you go after has been filled by another candidate who will now be your boss, you need to look for another job. Especially if that new boss is an insecure woman who "knows everything". I was young and stupid and learned that too late.

Then I left to get another job at an online auction company that doesn't really exist anymore. Well, it does and it doesn't. It's been reborn. Sort of. I spent 2 1/2 years there and I learned some lessons too.

When the new VP (your boss) hires someone and starts paying lots of attention to her because she knows almost nothing about the job she's been hired to do (and you're supposed to be training her), ask for reassignment in the company if you really want to stay. Or find a new job. This is especially true when you've got all the numbers and facts in front of you, and the other gal (who is now supposed to be your equal) says something and he goes in that direction without regard for the fact that it's completely wrong.

It's also a good time to leave when he says "If I say the sky is green with purple polka dots, then you *have* to back me up on that no matter what the facts say - that's what teamwork really is.".

So I resigned as soon as I had a new job. Funny thing there - he found another job too, and they escorted him out of the building the day after I resigned. There were quite a few people trying to get me to stay because he was the sole reason I was leaving.

Obviously, I didn't stay, although I almost didn't go to the next place (where I am now). I had the interview from hell. I interviewed with two women, who then sent me over to the contractors that had brought the fulfillment center up and running. They didn't know I was coming, they didn't have my resume, and were a little put off when I said I could bring it up online for them. Only one of the two interviewed me at a time, since the other one was on the phone, and then they'd switch. I thought it might be a bad sign when one asked about developing reports in Oracle, and I started talking about the methods by which I could do so, and his eyes glazed over.

When I was finished, they said thanks, and one stepped in front of where I was sitting, so that I had a view of his backside. I was never so mortified and put off by someone in my life. So I walked out, sat in my Jeep for a few minutes, gathering my thoughts and headed for the first place I could think of - my husband's office. I sat in that office crying for a good 20 minutes that this was the worst interview of my life, that this place was so infinitely screwed up... and that they needed me badly to straighten it all out.

A good night's sleep later, I found myself dialing the number of the VP or HR (who had set up the interview for me) and letting her voicemail know how unnerved I was by that interview. She called me two hours later and asked if they'd scared me off, because if they had, I would be the fourth one they would have done that to. Oh. Kay.

Later that day, the Boo-Boo Brothers (as I started calling them) called me and begged me to work for them, and could I start Monday? I told them no, that I would need to give a couple of weeks notice while I roll out one last project (that would have virtually eliminated my position anyway). They said fine... and proceeded to call me every day at 2:30 in the afternoon asking me to come sooner. I finally told them that if they kept calling, I would turn down the job.

They stopped calling.

I started on March 1, 1999... The Boo-Boo Brothers were gone after a couple of months of me being there... I've vested almost all of my options... I've outlasted one boss (the ex-boss) and am back with my original boss (who started a month after I did). I've moved up the ranks again in responsibility and position. I thought the company was going to go under at one point early in these last five years, because I questioned the viability of the idea. But here we are, with competition attempting to run after us, publicly traded on Nasdaq, and in a new building because we outgrew the old.

I have looking forward in a company because I feel that may be when the walls will crash around me and I'll have to leave, but I can't help it. I'm on a team that's testing some new ideas, and I'm putting some things into motion that should keep me busy for a few months. My peers are folks who are nice, who live life and not breathe the job, and we all respect each other equally. We genuinely like our boss, and we like each other. This feeling truly secure and truly happy in my job thing is new to me...

...and I hope I get to feel it for another 5 years.