January 05, 2005

A small, self-congratulatory pat on the back

I do not, as a rule, talk much about work here apart from the most casual and general sort of way. I think there are pretty well-documented reasons why a blogger would make that decision when his or her blog is not completely anonymous, unless they work in a situation where doing so could not put them at risk for being shown the door if they are less than discreet.

But today was a landmark day for me in my career at my current company, so I figure it deserves a mention...and it's for a reason that talking about won't get me in trouble.

Seven years ago today, fresh off a series of temp jobs, I walked into my company's headquarters for a full-time, regular position unlike any I'd had before. Fast-forward through one dotcom bust, two promotions, three cube moves, four bosses, five haircolor changes, six different tea/coffee/hot chocolate mugs and seven times I was sure I was either going to quit or get fired, and today I left that building having achieved a goal that seemed so far off and so very unattainable way back when.

As of today, I have earned the one reward that is available to all the company's salaried employees in the U.S., regardless of department, location, position, rank, pay or influence, after seven years of uninterrupted employment: an eight-week, paid sabbatical leave.

To me, it was the alluring prize that got closer in tiny increments, seemed impossible during the most stressful of times, seemed endangered during the most difficult of times for the company, seemed somewhat possible as more people came and went in the department while I still remained and, finally, seemed more and more necessary the nearer the time came.

It only became real last month when they sent me the notice informing me about this particular benefit, in case I hadn't been aware of it...and hadn't been counting down to the exact date by working days for the last year.

While I believe that it's something that many Silicon Valley companies used to have available back in the heady, carefree boom days, it is fairly unique at this point in time for big companies. And it's an achievement for someone who had never previously worked anywhere for that long and honestly didn't think she'd ever get there.

The dates for my sabbatical have not yet been set (nor approved), so a new countdown has not yet officially begun. But in spirit, I have arrived, baby!