He loves everyone.
I miss Ginger, my cranky girl. Chase’s world is so different now.
Looking back on my personal work history it occurred to me yesterday that I’ve been working steadily for 41 years. That’s a long time. I’m old and getting older all the time.
I’m closer now to the end of my working career than I am to the beginning of it. I started work at 19. At the time I was even shyer, and I was a greenhorn in so many ways.
After a couple of temp jobs, I started out at what is now known as CTG. Back then it was called Computer Task Group, and it provided data processing services to other companies. I worked in the office, and over the years there I did a little bit of everything. I started out at the reception desk as a clerk typist when I was 19. CTG was the first place to send me on a business trip. I took my first airplane flight to Chicago, Illinois for a week of training. I also traveled by car for business meetings in Buffalo, New York and Syracuse, New York.
Nine years later after temping briefly at Eastman Kodak, I landed at ICE Communications, an advertising agency. I was an account coordinator to three account executives (salesmen). They sold advertising and the in-house creative staff made the ad campaigns a reality. At ICE I worked my first job with summer hours. We had half days on Fridays. That was nice.
I was laid off for lack of work two and a half years later and after I came home from my honeymoon, I started at Nixon Peabody. New husband, new apartment, and new job. Within a year, new baby, too.
I worked at Nixon, my first law firm, for twelve years. I also had my second baby while working there. I started as a floating secretary with zero legal experience. I was terrified. I floated for maybe two weeks and took a job that opened up in their Human Resources department, something that fit my background much better. I worked in HR for eight years and then when I was feeling burned out, they tossed me a lifeline.
I moved to the Intellectual Property department and became a paralegal. I learned all about patents. This monumental step would secure me my niche. All my working career to that point had been as a generalist, either general secretarial or general HR work. Anyone could have done my job.
Patent work was unique and complex. It requires a strong attention to detail and focus on the minutiae. Everything has to be exact and correct. Learning this skillset was a lifesaver for me. It made me feel special and unique to know something that others did not. Apparently I’m good at it, too. I’ve been doing this type of work now for 22 years.
While at Nixon, I would also travel by airplane again. They sent me to Washington DC for a tour of the US Patent Office, something they did for all IP employees. They also sent me to Tampa, Florida for a week of patent training.
Unfortunately while at Nixon, my youngest son was diagnosed with autism. Work was telling me I needed to spend more time there – stay later and maybe come in on weekends. My heart was telling me my son needed more of me, not less.
When one of the IP attorneys at Nixon decided to open up his own biotechnology startup company, he took one of Nixon’s HR managers (my former boss) with him. A year later, she asked me to come to the startup, too, so my four years as an IP paralegal (and my twelve years at Nixon) came to an end.
It was meant to be because while working for Integrated Nano-Technologies, I was able to flex my schedule and work part-time. I got my son on and off of the school bus every day so I was there for him. I was almost a stay at home mom.
The startup was different. In addition to keeping an eye on the company’s patents, I did everything else. I did accounting, payroll, and I even sat at the front reception desk, something I hadn’t done since I was 19. We wore jeans and sneakers.
Unfortunately as is often the case with startups, they ran out of money. When I was asked if I’d defer my pay, I couldn’t so I left. I was there nine years. Others stayed, and the company is still around today.
While at INT, I went back to college (at age 51) and earned two associates degrees online.
I was unemployed for eight weeks. It was a nice break, and I got to take a deep breath and relax. The world of patents beckoned again, this time with the opportunity to learn trademarks and copyrights, too. I joined my second law firm, working in Intellectual Property, Woods Oviatt Gilman.
WOG is where I still work today. I’ve been there nine years this year (there’s something about that number – nine years at CTG, INT and WOG). WOG is likely where I’ll stay, if I’m lucky, until I retire.
I’ve been fortunate to work at some great places for some good people, and I’ve had long stays at all of them. I can’t complain. I learned something each place I’ve been, and I think I’ve been a decent addition to each place.
Not bad for a shy kid who only ever wanted to be a stay at home Mom.
You know you’re getting older most days just looking in the mirror. More wrinkles, gray hair, and things sagging that once were firm.
The gray hair has been there since I was a teen. My Gramma went white when she was in her 20’s and no one ever remembered her with darker hair. I have had my hair every color possible because why not? My biggest personal indulgence is my monthly hair salon visit. A natural brunette, I’ve gone blonde with pink highlights to help hide the white roots. You know you’re getting older when the few stray dark chin hairs you used to pluck out have turned white.
I was blessed with good genes as far as wrinkles go. It wasn’t until I turned 60 that wrinkles really started to catch up with me. I’ve been blessed not to have looked my age. Once the youngest in my office (I was 19 when I started my very first job, a temp job at a bank), I am now the old broad, the oldest one in my department. You know you’re getting older when you’ve been tasked with training (multiple) people. I spend a good portion of my day imparting my knowledge to others. After all I’m not going to be doing this forever.
I was never a star athlete or much of a fitness nut. I was fit enough in my 30’s to join a gym and work out every day at lunch time. Now I find myself working in the very same building with free access to the very same gym. I’m 60. I know I’m not dead, but I have zero interest in jumping around in an aerobics class as I once did. I could walk a treadmill or ride a stationary bike, but the things that once worked well enough for that no longer cooperate as they once did. You know you’re getting older when you add your name to the list of people in need of assistance during a fire drill.
I fell down the stairs a number of years ago and I have a knee that’s had physical therapy. It refuses to cooperate and swells up every so often. It buckles when I go down stairs. I have Achilles’ tendons with calcium deposits and a bum ankle from spraining it twice in my youth. I work on the 19th floor now. Walking down all of those stairs for a fire drill isn’t an option for me. If I don’t have to, I’m not going to. Period. Hell, yes, add me to the list. You know you’re getting older when your pride doesn’t hold you back from asking for help.
Yes, age has its benefits. I no longer care what others think nor do I walk around worrying about what they might be saying about me. Nope. I wear leggings, capris or yoga pants. No more tight waistbands for me. I remember lying down to zip up snug-fitting jeans and then looking damned good in them. I also got gas cramps and itchy grooves dug into my belly. Now I wear baggy, triple x sized t-shirts. I’m not that fat. I just don’t like anything tight or clinging. I wear flats 24/7. I used to stuff my feet into spiked heels, and I’m 5’9”. Now I wear sneakers to work, and I wear slacks and baggy blouses. I used to wear business suits, stockings and color matched high heels. I dressed for success. Did I ever succeed? Nope. So now I’m comfortable. You know you’re getting older when comfort comes before fashion.
I’ve reached the age where I can eat off of the 55 Plus menu or do the early bird specials. Do I? Nope. I’m not quite ready for that level of senior citizen label. I probably should because my digestion these days doesn’t allow me to scarf down bad food. I’d rather be hungry than sorry tomorrow. I only eat what agrees with me. You know you’re getting older when you order a full meal and walk away leaving most of it still on your plate.
You know you’re getting older when you can feel it in your bones. Age is freeing, but aging is permanent. The years slip by before you know it, and you can’t get them back. So take those instrument lessons you always wanted to or put pink streaks in your hair. Play live on stage with a band. Adopt a kitten while you’re still young enough to chase them around.
You know you’re getting older. Hurry up before it’s too late.