today, july 12th, 2016, is my last day with my current employer.
you may still remember my first day. i surely do. for the last ten years whenever anyone would ask how long i worked there i would always respond "since april 10th, 2006" with an aspergers-like zeal. many would comment on the precision of my answer to which i would simply say it was a special date to me.
only a few people know that seven years prior to that start date i pointed to the stands and said i would work there, at that place, a place considered by many to be the most coveted employer within hundreds of miles of my home. not many people know because it was such a far-reaching aspiration, i mostly kept it to myself. at the time of the declaration i had exactly zero things this place wanted or needed from me. i know this because the first few times i spoke to them they all but hung-up on me mid-sentence. over the next seven years, in the wee hours of the night and stolen moments in the workday, i slowly and methodically honed a variety of skills i thought everyone, even this place, would need in the years to come. and would you know, with a little bit of fortune and barrel-fulls of luck, the bat met the ball in that just-right way.
for many years i was known as the smiling guy. many deemed me as the happiest employee the 150 year old institution had ever seen. i've often told people that much of my success through my working years had less to do with me and more to do with the people that worked around me because many of them walked into the office with a "i don't get paid enough for this" sentiment where i always possessed more of a "we could be digging ditches" mindset. this is why today i tell young people that their future professional (and life!!!) satisfaction may very well be governed by the most evil job they ever held. if you've never had a really, Really, REALLY bad/tough/hard job, you might not know what a good or even great job looks like. for many years i called any job where i didn't have to take a shower at the end of the day, spectacular employment. i still vividly recall how jealous i was of people who could leave their work and go straight to a social outing without having to change their clothes beforehand. that was what i always wanted, a job where you showered before you worked, not after.
as for what happened here at my dream gig, well, a number of domino-connected things but one comment made by one bystander summed it up best: people don't leave jobs, people leave managers. i would say there have only been two times in the last twenty-four years where my management and myself have not been a good fit. it is worth noting that that is also how many times i have left an employer. if there is a downside of working for great folks it is one gets a little spoiled, prima-donna-ish even. i, and every person i've ever worked for, could easily and openly acknowledge this foible in me. one past manager said it best when telling someone interested in hiring me, "troy is a super-high mantenance guy but if you can stroke him just right, you will get high-quality things in return". i was once told those words, near verbatim, were logged in my actual HR file.
and if you're wondering if i will miss my cherry, corner office, pictured above, yes i most certainly will. it was good to me.