Saturday, August 26, 2006

Roughly 10 years ago I quit my job at Hewlett Packard to become employee #00000001 at a startup that two of my HP buddies had founded the year before. By charging embarrassingly high consulting rates, and selling the odd piece of corporate software every now and then, we grew the company and paid ourselves decent bonuses each year.

We got acquired by a 200 person Silicon Valley software company about 4 or 5 years later. (Had we been savvier negotiators, and had I sold every last bit of stock ASAP, I might have made a million dollars. Instead, by a variety of circumstances, most of which are my fault, I still have every one of those shares of now greatly devalued stock, and now I'm a thousandaire.) A few months after being acquired by Company A, Company B came along and gobbled up Company A. I've been an employee of Company B ever since.

Company B ain't a bad place to be. I'm pretty sure that the stock will never make me rich, and I often wonder if they have what it takes to succeed in the marketplace, but overall my job is pretty good. Still, I'm a reasonably bright guy, so I sometimes wonder what a more ambitious man would have done with the last 10 years.

The Human Resources department in Company B decided that my official hire date would be the date that I joined my buddies' startup. Because of that odd bit of HR accounting, I'm now one of the longest tenured employees in Company B. This week I got rewarded for 10 years of good attendance. Seat time counts in corporate America.

I received a big heavy box in the mail on Thursday and it contained the following two uh.... awards:

The "crystal plaque" is engraved with my name, Company B's name, and a somber reminder of how I've spent the last decade, the phrase, "10 Years of Service: 1996 - 2006".

Just in case, however, I'm too thickheaded to really understand the concept of 10 years of my life passing, they also thoughtfully included an ugly clock, whose sole purpose seems to be to really drive home the "Hey, Mike! Tick tick tick!" message. Nicely played, Company B. Nicely played.

I can't imagine what I'm supposed to do with these things. They're really heavy and heavy objects often fool me into feeling guilty about throwing them away. Even the packing material alone consumes so much space in my trash can, that it will be hard to fit all our normal weekly trash.

I don't know how much these things cost, and I don't mean to be an ingrate, but I would have gladly taken the money instead. Maybe I'll let them know that before my 25 year "anniversary" so they can save the shipping costs on my Geritol and Commemorative Tombstone "awards".


zelda1 said...

I agree, give me the money. Where I worked before the drunk driver decided he thought his right to drink and drive was much more important than my right to walk, well, we had similar little giftatudes and one year, after my many years of service, the supervisor brought me a pin that said x number of years. I looked at it and she said, "Aren't you going to put it on." I said, "Let me bask in this joy of such a great gift for all these years of service." A few years later, I got another pin and then another and finally, I said, "No more pins, give me money, or pizza, or at least a cake." I still have the pins, somewhere around here or there and every once in a while I run across them and ponder the question, what was I thinking staying for so long at a place where gratitude was expressed with a tiny little cheap assed pin. Yep, at least your giftatude was big and probably cost a lot of money. Hmmm, the rats in the maze.

Mike said...

Zelda, I agree that it's nice to receive gifts, but this is clearly the fruitcake of gifts: dense and unappetizing. Perhaps a poor use of money for a company that has troubles turning a profit.

patsy said...

glad you got an award. i worked for tyson for 25 years and i got a watch with their name on it when i retired. saw you went to Beta. i had thought about it but couldn't see the benfits. i know you can post on different subject on different pages but i just jump all over the place so why do it. you could have a personal page so no one could read the page unless you want them to but i know you don't have any secerts. a blog i read in the U K switched and she lost her counter all together. me i don't have a counter , i might find that i only have family reading my blog i came by to see if i could find something to fuss with you about but you let me down.

Mike said...

Patsy, you don't want to fuss about me being ungrateful for my "award"? I thought I met you halfway on that one.

patsy said...

i worked to many years for wages to fuss at anyone who complains about working and getting some measly reward and then the company turns around and takes benifits from their workers.
the company i worked for is in the process now of taking benfits from their workes that the company had granted to the workers years ago. if we don't get a democrat in the white house soon we will all be down the tube.

Mike said...

Patsy, I'll be first in line to vote for a Democrat in the next Presidential election, but I wouldn't hold my breath that they'll really fix anything.

patsy said...

i feel the same way thought if i said that i could get you on a rant. oh i am disapointed .

Mike said...

Patsy, I live in what is probably America's most liberal big city. I don't think you'll find me supporting this administration much.