...is the people. I've worked at my company for 20 years now, and the major reason I've stayed is my talented, fun coworkers. Recently the company has changed way beyond what it was like when I first joined. After starting as an Oregon company back in 1946, now it's grown to employ more than 23,500 employees across the world, and its values and priorities have changed as it has grown.
With the pressures of the economic crisis, the company has done quite well, but only because of making some very difficult choices and cutbacks. I have understood many of the decisions, but many of them appear to be short-sighted and have resulted in a lot less consistency and communication across the organization.
Historically, we had a Business Services group, which included managers of various administrative groups--Publications, Contracts, IT, Accounting, Facilities, and HR. Now the organization has changed and most of those groups are managed firmwide and not at a local level. Consequently, the communication and teamwork at the local level has diminished, even as we've gained other advantages in our firmwide organizations.
Last week I had lunch at Mother's with three great coworkers--one of which just recently left the firm. Hanging out with them made me realize how much I miss the camaraderie from my old job, when I served on a management team with them.
(left to right: Diane from Facilities, me, Lisa--the departing coworker, and Scott from IT)
On Saturday we had our company picnic at the zoo, and we enjoyed spending time with my friend and long-time coworker, Tina, and her husband Gerald, who recently moved to Portland from Alaska (and Tina took over my remaining staff management role earlier this year):
I still love my job: I feel fortunate that I get to write, edit, and work with others to develop more efficient ways of doing things...and I actually get to use my English degree. Even though I don't always agree with what my company does, at least I work with wonderful colleagues and friends, and we can all remind each other that our friendship and working relationships are more important than any Dilbertesque policies that get dreamed up and implemented. We will all survive them together (at least, we hope we will!).