It’s been an interesting week in the Full Time Finances household. First we attended an anniversary luncheon at my work. I’m actually at 11 years this year at my employer, how time flies. The second thing we did was attend a retirement and going away party. Both events gave me some time to reflect. I really wanted to write about them based on their impact, which brings us to this post, It’s the People Stupid.
Spending Your Life with One Employer is Abnormal
We’ll start with the anniversary luncheon. I’ve been at my employer for a good 11 years. But sitting in the room with me were many individuals celebrating 20, 30 and even 40 years with the company. Frankly I can’t imagine staying 40 years working anywhere, no matter how much I like my job or my company. Then again if I were to hit 40 years I’d still be working at 66, so that is not so much in the cards. So the first event left me thinking some of my coworkers were nuts for still being with the same company after 40 years.
A Recent Retire with a Big Impact
Then our second event happened and my feelings changed considerable. On Wednesday morning I was minding my own business when a coworker walked up to me and asked me if myself and my wife could attend his going away party that night. He was retiring the day after. This was one of the 40+ year employees, but in this case it was a bit more than that.
Story Of Joining My Current Employer
Before I go any further I have to tell a story. I joined my current employer as my second employer post degree (though by no means my second employer). I worked as a process analyst at the time and was employed doing small projects on the side. Anyway, I was loaned out to a group to do a project and worked with this gentleman for a while. No big deal so far.
A Period of Few New Hires
Anyway, at the time my company had just come off a long down turn, so there were very few new hires at the company. Most of us hung out together, even though the majority were just out of college while I was further along. Anyway, one day this gentleman invites all of us “new hires” out to a happy hour to meet his newest just out of college employee. Someone he had started to mentor and introduce around.
Meeting Mrs. Full Time Finance
I went to the happy hour, and the rest shall we say is history. His just out of college employee ended up being a beautiful woman with whom I hit it off immediately. We spent that night till some late hour just hanging at the bar talking. She ultimately became my wife. We celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary this year.
Years Later, Seeing the Retiree Off. Reflecting
Over the years this gentleman mentored my wife helping to guide her through the start of her career. He even brought the keg for our wedding. His impact on my wife’s career and our lives is unquantifiable. It truly was something great he did for her. Over the years we’ve drifted slightly away as my wife left the company and I’m always busy. And yet he made sure we were there to see him off. It got me thinking hard about the company I work at.
I have a similar person to this gentleman that got me started with the company. I also know she is on the verge of retirement later this year. Her impact on me was significant too. We’ve talked about the importance of mentorships and both myself and my wife have benefited from good ones.
It’s the People Stupid
But this post is not really about mentorship either. You see I write a lot about liking my job. I enjoy having an impact through my changes. But you know what, the real reason I like my job is the people. The people make the job.
Partake In Work Events
It took me until my second job to realize that. At my first job they always had community events and I always skipped them. I always thought, why waste time with this when I could get my work done quicker and just go home. I was wrong. These days I make it a point to attend work community events. If nothing else you meet new people who might be able to help you to land that next opportunity. It’s possible in some cases it can lead to much more.
Coworkers Become Like Family
Theres a saying in business, people don’t leave companies they leave managers. Well if you expand that out a bit further you hit the nail on the head. Working for a company requires hours at the office leading to strong bonds between you and your coworkers. You hear the work wife and work husband joke all the time. But you know what, in some ways its true. In a truly cohesive stable work environment becomes like your family. If you don’t find that family you tend to leave. If you can’t find it you probably should leave. However, If you do it’s a lot harder to leave for greener pastures later.
Still Some Weird Eggs
Now that doesn’t mean all of these relationships are great. Like any family you have everything from your crazy uncle Joe to that annoying cousin that drove you crazy as a child. But if you work there long enough, I’ll bet most companies will have a profound impact on you. And when you see people who you truly have a relationship with, as opposed to just people who worked a few cubicles away, retire it will be like the company changes a little when that person walks out the door.
So I guess in conclusion what I’m saying is, don’t forget work places are as much about the work as the people around you. Given you spend hours and years of your life working with these people it can’t help but be so. So take the time to get to know your coworkers and participate in your work community. You’ll be happier for it and it may just help your career progress (or introduce you to your future wife). It’s the people, stupid!