Something quite weird and remarkable happened the other day. Without fuss or fanfare the calendar clicked over to the 7th March. On this day, in 1988 I began working. I had finished High School and didn't really know what I wanted to do. I did however, need to earn some bucks and start saving for a car and a place to live. By the time I was 15, I'd heard my parents talk many times about retiring and moving to the coast. So after three months of searching, application writing and interviews I'd landed my first job. In a library on a University campus.
I have now worked there for 25 years. I don't quite know how this happened. I've had 5 different jobs within those years, with different teams. I've completed a TAFE course and am now in my fifth year of a undergraduate degree to become a qualified librarian and I have done this whilst working full time. I have survived about four restructures and a few rounds of redundancies - forced and voluntary. I was 17 when I started and am now 42. I have grown up in this workplace. I have made many fabulous friends who have helped shaped who I am. I have been given opportunities and been broken in equal measure. The old adage is true. Everything is cyclical, and if you stay around long enough the hard times get better. Conversely, the good times turn to hardship too.
It was never my intention to stay for so long. In fact, during a hard time in recent years, I was applying for jobs elsewhere. Reaching this milestone seemed unlikely. But fate dealt a hand that has me sitting here scratching my head. HR contacted my Supervisor to say that I am now eligible for a 25 year service medal. It makes me laugh. I keep thinking after twenty-five-bloody-years you DO deserve a medal. I can also have a little shin-dig at work to mark the occasion. These things will happen in a few weeks time. Interestingly, the day itself went by quietly.
I spoke to someone about 10 years ago. When I explained I had worked in the same place for 15 years, they quizzed me further. Yes I liked getting involved in different things, and with the change in technology it meant my current job is constantly changing. She smiled and said I was like a tree. I needed firm foundations and security to enable my branches to sway in the breeze. I stared at her with a knowing smile. This stranger had poetically described me. Perfectly.
Peter and I had a few days away on holiday last month. We went to the Otway Fly, which is a treetop walk through a rain forrest. As we got to the top, we stood in silence. It was amazing to look at the world, literally with a birds eye view. Other people walked past us, hurrying to complete the walk. But we just stood...and looked. You see, from the ground the enormous gum trees look like concrete poles. Routed securely in the ground of this gorgeous rain forrest. But from up in the tree tops, the wind made these goliaths sway gently. I watched and smiled.