day 80 - so now what

Twelve years ago I started with my company. I remember sitting in a bar a week into the job and the whole table of my new coworkers sang "Wasn't That a Party" at the top of their lungs. I'm not a singer so I didn't join in, but I remember thinking "these people are nuts". They were so much fun and I remember looking around on many an occasion in that first year thinking about just how lucky I was to be working with them.

Two years later that same group of people toilet papered my brand new (to me) Cavalier Z-24 and tied a big yellow smiley face balloon to my antenna on my birthday. Ever seen what happens to toilet paper after a thunderstorm? I would spend the next half an hour on my hands and knees, picking soggy, teeny tiny wads of toilet paper off of my car while they laughed and banged on the glass from the second floor window. It was in that moment that I realized that I belonged. They loved me just as much as I loved them.

Over the years people came and went. Fun people. People who brought their own little flavour to the group. There was Ryan who could take a three minute story and turn it into a 45-minute one. There was Sara who shared a love of Burger King whoppers and Days of Our Lives and who I would engage in the occasional game of Solitaire Showdown with as an afternoon stress reliever. There was Charlene who somehow knew that they served steak sandwiches at The Manor on Tuesdays. She would later go on to become a brilliant lawyer and I would put my money on her every single time.

Most importantly there were the people who became lifers like me. Jane and I didn't have much in common early on, but I came to have a ton in common with her once I grew up a bit. Old movies, golden retrievers and a love of Colin Firth were just some of the things we had in common. She encouraged me to take my blog from just photos to photos and stories and for that and all of the above I thank her.

Three years in, Checco arrived. The entire landscape changed and things got even better. The laughing got louder and everything was kicked up a notch. We all had to bring our A-game to keep up with him and we got an education in return. I would list some of the terms he taught us but my mom might google them and that wouldn't be good. A master of storytelling, it didn't matter that we didn't know who Mr. Anderson was. The story of a light fixture falling on his head while sitting on the toilet on Thanksgiving and his family breaking down the bathroom door down to find him lying unconscious with his pants around his ankles was still hilarious. He came in at a time where I was seriously considering leaving and made me want to stay. For that I thank him because he has become one of the best friends I have in this world.

Our kitchen was small and as the office grew, the space around the table was limited. People used to race to the kitchen at lunch to get in on the action. We'd tell the same stories over and over and laugh like it was the first time we had heard them. They were tales that were told with just the right amount of bullshit peppered in. I learned to tell tales and went to the local paper for many of mine -- I won't repeat them here as some of you could be related to the perps or quite possibly are the perps themselves. Anyway, there were a couple of crowd pleasers in there so keep up the good work people. At one point the town was on a real roll and the stories were so insane I regularly brought the weekly paper to work to back them up.

We had fun. I was excited to go to work. I was happy to go to work. It seemed insane to go to work and get paid for having this much fun. Surely I should be paying them.

On many occasions I had people ask me if we actually did any work. The truth was we did. We got a pile of work done. We worked crazy hours and it wasn't a big deal. Most of us didn't have any kids at the time. We had nowhere to be and we were dedicated to the job and getting it done and there were never any complaints as we did it. We loved our boss, he appreciated us and we loved the company.

Over the years, things changed. The company merged with two others and became much larger. Lots more people came and quickly went. The culture shifted and things changed. The super cool vibe that we had slowly slipped away. It was still alive in the dealings I had with my friends, but by and large it died for the group as a whole. It had gotten to the point where I didn't recognize it as the same place anymore.

So I leave this company today with all of my personal effects in a box and I am sad. Sad because I have been there so long that I really don't know anything but it and it's hard to start all over again. Sad because I am leaving behind two of my best friends. Two people that I have spent more time with over the years than my own family and who have shown me an incredible amount of support, especially in the past two weeks. Sad because I gave twelve years of my life to a company that couldn't keep me. But most of all I am sad because at one time not so long ago, this office used to kick ass. I wish everybody could have experienced it because it truly was a place of wonder. I would know best of all. I started as the 22 year old kid who occupied the cubicle in the "enchanted grotto" (right beside the bathroom) and left the 34 year old mother of three.



Comments

Courtney said…
It sounded like a great place to work when you started! I'm sorry to hear today was your last day!! Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for you :O)
snapshots2011 said…
What a great story! You have such a knack for writing! So sorry that it's your last day- but good luck with the future's dealings!
Amanda Pfeifer said…
The door shut.. now all you have to do is find the window :)
Trish ~ ♥ ~ said…
times are changing, no one seems to stay at the same job for life long periods of time anymore,
Checco said…
Hello my dear,

It's Checco. You know I have followed your blog for years and have had a chance to give you my comments first hand as you walked through that AdFarm door, 5-10 minutes late ever day;) Please forgive my spelling mistakes. I will try to keep my comments as clean as possible. I know your mother reads this blog and I have way too much respect for her. I will follow religiously. I will comment regularly and I will miss you every second of every day here at AdFarm. Our days will suck without you. You are the best Production Manager I have ever worked with in my career and you have become one of my best friends in the entire world. Keep up the amazing work on this blog. Your photography is superb and your ability to tell a story amazing!

Take care. Talk soon!
Checco
Sheri said…
Jen, I know all to well about how quickly a great company can change. I was you, a few years ago! It's hard to accept at the time, but every day it gets better! Like you said, it's the people you work with that make it a great place to be! It sounds like they are amazing people and you have come away with lifelong friends :) As I have said many times, you're an inspiration to me, and I know many others! You'll go on to do wonderful things! I wish you all the best :)
Mari said…
Sorry to hear of the changes in your former company. I'm having some of the same at my place and it's really sad. Hoping you can find a great place that will appreciate you!
mcdougk said…
I really think you should take a look at writing and photograpy as a whole.

I think it may be your calling.

Karen A
jane said…
You have recapped your last 12 professional years so beautifully. I'm glad you "grew up" at the companies that I worked at. Your creativity is shining and I think your future is hidden in there somewhere. Can't wait to see what comes next. xo
Serline said…
Bo one can take those 12 years away, and the future is entirely in your own hands. Good luck! Have a blessed weekend...
Jennifer said…
Thanks so much everyone - I really appreciate the support. :)