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".