Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Best 10 Years of My Life

     As I walked into work my boss met me in the hallway.  She told me that a server was down at our NYC location.  A couple of  my co-workers had been there for two days trying to get the servers back on line and they needed a break.  I had been on vacation and it was my first day back.  The colleagues I would  be relieving were much more experienced than me.  I was feeling quite unprepared for the task.  To top it off, my boss wanted me to go home and pack a bag in case I had to stay for a few days.  Due to the urgency of the situation, the company helicopter would be waiting for me to transport me to the site.
     It was the first time I had ever been in a helicopter. Since it was the Executive's ride, refreshments were available.  I was apprehensive at first. But, I actually enjoyed the ride.  Once we got up into the air, I was surprised at how smooth and  relaxing the ride was.  I took advantage of the peace and quiet because I knew there would be chaos and stress waiting for me once we landed.
     The computer room where I would be working was on the 14th floor.  From the large windows in the room I could see the World Trade Center building ,which was across the street from our building.
     This was just one example of the life of a tech support specialist.  It was not a 9-5 job.  Each member of our group took a turn carrying a blackberry to provide 24/7 coverage.
     I remember more than one holiday being interrupted by the blackberry alerting me of a problem which had to be immediately looked at and fixed ASAP.
     On September 11, 2001 I was at work in the New Jersey location of our company. As we all gathered around the TV, we watched in horror as the plane crashed into World Trade Center.
     I worked for a well known financial company which published a famous newspaper.  Their corporate headquarters were in close proximity of the attack.  In fact it was the building that I had been working in a few years prior.
    The publisher had never missed a day printing the paper.  They managed to get many of the reporters out of the city and over to NJ to our location.
     Our group was told that no one could leave.  We had to stay as long as it took to make sure the reporters had everything they needed in the way of technology to get the newspaper out.
    The only thing I wanted to do was go home and be with my family.  I thought that was much more important to me than getting a newspaper out.  But I was not allowed to leave.
    I had been with the company for 20 years.  During that time there were many late nights and weekends.
    There were many times that the job came before the family.   But that day, 9/11, made me realize that I didn't want the job to be and run my life anymore.
     Sometimes I feel that taking an early retirement may not have been a wise decision.  But when I think about all of my sacrifices for "The Company", without comparable reward, I know that I did make the right choice.
     And I have not missed the job once since I walked out the door nearly 10 years ago.  And you know the old saying, "I'm sure that on my death bed, my last words would not be: "I wish I had spent more time at work."

Here is today's entry from Anna's Diary:
Sat February 9 1929
Card party at Bambergers restaurant given by Jean's Sor. Brought Elsie and Minnie home.  Met bunch. Dinner Palais Royal Goodwin "On Trial". Home at 12. Found Jewel-Rick Marie-Jim here.  Home at one.


  1. It sounds like you made the right choice. I can't imagine them not letting you go how and be with your family!

  2. I think you made an excellent decision, and can settle for a different departing message.  I'll have to remember that, when making my own last statement.  What a stressful job you had; I thought having 37 8th graders was bad, but I loved my job, so it must have worked out.

  3. I think about this sort of thing often.  As I am sure I have made abundantly clear, my work is stressful and largely about crisis management.  I wonder how long I can keep doing this and still feel as if I have a life of my own.. perhaps I shouldn't say still b/c I feel as if, these days, the I only have two days a week that are my own.   I think about taking an early retirement too and I have SO MANY ways I would fill my time.  The problem is, how to get the bills paid in retirement...

  4. I think it's true for so many of us that our work life bleeds over into our personal life and finding a balance is one of the more difficult things we have to do. While I do get more than merely financial rewards (and I certainly could stand more of those, in any case) from my current job, it takes quite a lot out of me time and energy wise too. Financially, retirement is a ways off for me, but I often think about trying to pursue something less stressful in the meantime.

    (I am still loving the glimpses into Anna's diary--she was quite a social butterfly, wasn't she?)