26 Years and Counting

imageSuddenly, my LinkedIn inbox is overflowing. Congratulations! Congrats! Bob has sent you a message: “26 years. Way to go Dan. Congratulations!” “Wow, 26 years!” Yes, yes I’ve been working for the same company for 26 years. That’s longer than I’ve been doing most things. Well, that was my first thought. That was the way I answered several of my coworkers who asked “have you done anything longer than this?” Then it occurred to me. 26 years isn’t that long. In fact 26 years pales by comparison to how long I’ve done certain other things.

I’ve been married for almost 31 years. My wife has stuck with me for almost 31 years. You can congratulate me; I’m not sure if condolences might not be in order for her. One of the really important things to consider is what I was doing during those early years of our marriage. For some of those years I was travelling as much as 80% of the time. On one occasion, I was on the road M-F every single week for 6 months! Another time, I was traveling to Lowell, MA, every M, W & F for 6 months. As bad as that was, as hard as that might have been for my wife, there was another 14 month period in there when we operated our own business. That was even harder. Congratulations to me indeed.

I’ve also been a father for more than 26 years. So, while I’ve been employed for 26 of one company’s almost 60 year run, I’ve been my daughter’s father for her entire life. I know, that’s just semantics, and I realize that it’s bordering on hyperbole, but it happens to be true. For 26 years, I’ve been involved in largely the same task at work. Sure, I work in technology and technology has changed, but technology didn’t learn how to walk and talk. Technology didn’t learn how to read. Technology didn’t have to be taught how to ride a bike, drive a car, swim, cut steel or use an oxyacetylene torch. You know, all the things little girls need to know.

Almost without exception, parenting has always been an additive process; Faith has been progressing from skill to skill, adventure to adventure. Technology, on the other hand has been a more-of-the-same-only-slightly-different-this-time-around kind of thing. image

How about something that’s really obvious? I’ve been alive more than 2 times 26 years! If you go back far enough, you run into the points in time where I learned to walk, talk, read, ride a bike, cut steel and use a torch. You get to the point where I learned how to do the stuff that I’ve done in my job for 26 years. You get to the point where I met my wife and when we brought our baby girl home from the hospital. Remembering these things helps me to put my 26 years of work experience in perspective. It’s really not that big a deal.

I was fortunate to work for a man, very early in my career, who told me that “work is what you do to finance your life.” He added “don’t ever let your work become your life!

As I look back over the past 26 years, this job has financed a lot of life. imageSince starting this job, we’ve purchased several vehicles. We’ve been working on the purchase of one house. We’ve bought 4 Irish Setters and 5 cats (actually one of the dogs and all of the cats were free, but free pets are never really free). We’ve bought appliances, tools, clothing and a thousand pairs of shoes. A bit more hyperbole with the shoes, but baby girls need shoes. Interestingly enough, some really important stuff in my life was financed by previous jobs. My first job out of college financed a bicycle that I am still riding today. I couldn’t wait to buy a good bike. I have tools that are older than 26 years old. I have tools that are older than me, financed by someone else’s work, but I’m still using them. When I think about it, 26 years of employment just doesn’t seem worthy of congratulations.

It’s not hard to believe that I’ve been in my current job for 26 years, I like my job. The 26 years have gone by quickly. I might not have noticed this anniversary if not for LinkedIn broadcasting the fact to my contacts. I actually started working on February 29th, so I really only recognize every fourth year. In 2016, you can congratulate me on my 7th anniversary.

On the other hand, it’s hard to believe that, once again we have an Irish Setter puppy in our house. It’s hard to believe that our daughter is grown, living on her own and financing the care of her two free cats. It’s hard to believe that she has been introducing me to new things like social media and blogging. It’s also hard to believe that she has added jumping out of planes to the list of things she has learned. It’s hard to believe that marriages have added a few wonderful new members to our extended family and that death has taken too many away.

Now when people ask me if I’ve done anything for longer than 26 years, I say: “only everything that matters!

About Dan Antion

Husband, father, woodworker, cyclist, photographer, geek - oh wait, I’m writing this like I only have 140 characters. I am all those things, and more, and all of these passions present me with opportunities to observe, and think about things that I can’t write about in other places. I have started this blog to catch the stuff that falls out, overflows and just plain doesn’t fit the other containers in my life.
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22 Responses to 26 Years and Counting

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Pictures – That’s Faith working on a sculpture project for art school. They wouldn’t let undergraduates use power tools so she would come home to cut, ben and weld stuff rather than wait for a TA to show up. The drawing is another bit of iPad handiwork via Jot and the picture at the bottom is the shoes I talked about in a previous post.

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  2. dweezer19 says:

    Well, Dan, at the risk of sounding redundant, I’d like to say, “Congratulations!” But not just on your work record, but for all the above mentioned milestones you have reached. For sticking by your family and being a hard working husband and father. For remembering all those details about your life that many people skim right over and never look back. For continuing to learn new things every day (thank God for our kids who help us with the “new and improved” cyber advancements) and for showing the world what really goes on in your head-and heart. Congratulations on living a full, productive and happy life. May you continue to celebrate!

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  3. Well-written, and quite valid. My oldest is not yet 21, the longest job I had was 4 years, my marriage, going on 15. I’d say marriage is the real feat, because marriage is there through all the comings and goings of everything/one else!
    But yes, 26 years at one company is quite an accomplishment – and almost unheard of anymore. Congrats!

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    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks. I had 6 jobs before this one. I never expected to stay this long, but I like the job, I really like the people and I have pretty much the best boss ever. It’s been easy. I like to think I have the best family too, so it’s all been easy.

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  4. What a lovely, thoughtful post. You are right: 26 years of work don’t compare to the life we live with our family and close friends during the same period of time. Love the math you bring through your writing, something I simply can’t do.
    May the next 26 years be as fully lived as the 26 first.

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  5. Congrats on your great journey thus far! I bet in the 26 years (and more) you have touched many, many lives in a positive way. Congrats on the 31 years of marriage?

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  6. gpcox says:

    I understand what you’re saying – those other milestones mean much more to you than your job – but the other people don’t consider those things – in today’s world, having the same job is unique. So, Congrats on the milestones you enjoy the most, Bob!

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    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Bob. I do know that 26 years in the same place is unusual these days, albeit not in our small company. Since I started on February 29th, I said that if I made it to 5 years (20), I’d by everybody a beer. 20 years later, I announced that I’d be opening a tab at 4:00 for as many of my 29 coworkers who wanted to join me. I think 19 of them had been here longer than I had at that time. Some of those have retired, so I’m getting closer to being the old man, but I may never make it. There are still 9 people who have been here longer than me and several are younger than I am.

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  7. jolynnpowers says:

    that line at the end is what I just want to say to every boss I have ever had… “So what other things do you do?” then say back to them your quote “Only every thing that matters!” love it and 26 years work with the same people is wonderful.Just got a new job offer yesterday and I may be changing again soon…. we will see.

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  8. Kami says:

    What wonderful perspective and vision you have regarding your life and those around you. Sounds like you’ve been a wonderful husband, father, employee and all around good guy to know. Your friends and family are lucky to have you in their lives. Congratulations!

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  9. Whoa, 26 years is certainly like a century to me if I was working in the same firm. In a company I can only last for max 2 years, in fact just 16 months to be precise. However, I have been doing content writing for last 4 years so I guess I need something to motivate and interest me rather than just regular 9 to 5 job.

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    • Dan Antion says:

      In the 10 years before I had this job, I had 5 jobs so I understand how you feel. I never expected to stay here this long, but the job has evolved, and I’ve always liked what I’ve been doing and I really like my coworkers so it’s been easy to stay. Thanks and good luck.

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  10. John Hric says:

    a very nice perspective on life.

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  11. jaime tong says:

    I loved this post and enjoyed reading your reflections on how we mark the passing of time.

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