You may have read the title of this post and wondered why look back on 5 years, why not 7 or 10 or 15?
But yesterday marked 5 entire years with my my current employer (I would say job, but I’ve had a few roles during my service so that wouldn’t be accurate!) and it’s safe to say, I’m not sure where the time has gone!
On Thursday of last week I was sat at my desk, crying out to my team (not literal crying lol) wondering why we get asked so many questions when the answers are readily available for people to find – just a note so say, I work in business improvement in a support function, so this is a key part of my job and I was just being dramatic. It was during one of these moments that my manager felt it a fitting time to come and congratulate me on 5 years of service – he’s got a great knack for timing 😂
When you hit a milestone of sorts (whether that’s a work anniversary, a birthday, a romantic anniversary or whatever) you can sometimes find your mind drifting back and reflecting, which is exactly what’s been happening to me over the last few days.
I was 21 years old when I first walked through the doors, I stumbled into the job as I needed to work full time after graduating and securing myself a flat through our local housing association. I didn’t walk in with the intention of creating a career for myself and definitely didn’t envisage working in finance for retirement – I’d just gotten a degree in fashion design for God’s sake! However, the more I learnt, the more I loved it. I also felt that I was destined to work in finance as my birthday falls on the last day of the tax year (5th of April in case you didn’t know 😉) – maybe it was meant to be?!
Working in an office is like being parachuted into adult life. I’d worked in retail up until that point, so had customer service down (well I thought I did anyway) but retail was a whole different world to that of an office. You’re thrown into situations with people you wouldn’t normally interact with and can make some very unlikely friendships. So in the name of celebrating my service, I thought I’d put together my personal list of things I’ve encountered and discovered since working in an office (I’ve tried to keep away from the regular stereotypes in this post to mix it up – so I hope you enjoy!);
The longer you’ve been there, the more cynical you become
I wouldn’t say I’m hugely cynical, I tend to be quite optimistic and enthusiastic when it comes to work (I wouldn’t have had a great career journey so far without being like it!) – but after 5 years, you become a bit more of a realist and at times cynical. You know when you call IT for them to fix something on your system that they’ll take an age to sort out the problem, when you’re moved desks after a re-shuffle you know that this isn’t going to be your forever desk until you retire and that there’s going to be an inevitable re-shuffle in the next 12 months where you have to pack up your shit, label everything for the poor guys from facilities to come and move it to your new home.
Not everybody is going to like you
This is a lesson that took me a while to learn and accept. I’ve always been someone that tends to get on with everybody – I will always try my hardest to find common ground with the people I’m working with, but unfortunately, you’re not always going to be someone’s cup of tea AND THAT’S OKAY! I’d go home and mull over conversations, wonder what I’d done wrong and get so stressed or worked up over things that really didn’t matter. But I soon realised that you don’t have to be friends with everybody and you’re there to do a job, so just get on with it!
There’s always someone that doesn’t seem to care about the job as much as you do
I’m a hard grafter and always have been. When I first start in a new job/role/team, I will always make it my mission to learn everything I possibly can and deliver as much as possible. I’m a people pleaser, so doing a good job is always something I aim for – I’m not about a slap-dash approach to working. But I’ve encountered people that don’t have the same outlook and are happy giving a mediocre or crappy delivery (disclosure: these people never tend to last that long) which I never understood. There can be a number of reasons why and I thought I’d include a few I’ve noticed;
- They’re not in it for the long run and are looking for other jobs
- They have an unrealistic view of what they deserve in terms of pay
- They think the grass is always greener (which in most cases, it isn’t) and will declare that they’ll sack it off one day in favour of an easier life
- They just don’t care or aren’t interested
- They simply aren’t right for the job (which is okay – some jobs aren’t for everybody and that’s why we have probation periods!)
People come and go, but you’ll always have your long-servers
I’ve seen so many people come and go from where I work, sometimes I take some annual leave or have been off sick, only to return and find that I don’t know anyone anymore! At the same time, there are certain people there that have become part of the furniture and are the gurus of the environment (my team is full of gurus) – they can tell you pretty much anything about the product, process and regulations. They’ll remember all process changes, the significant regulation changes that rocked everyone to their core (pensions freedoms a.k.a P-Day and the most recent and equally mental GDPR changes) and the background on a customer that has been with us since 1999. These are my kind of people and I love them all.
You’ll make the most unlikely friendships
I’m the happiest I’ve ever been since moving to my current team; we’re all on the same page when it comes to work and we all support each other wherever we can (I don’t think we would have made it through GDPR if we didn’t have the right support from our peers). Most of my friends from work are people that I wouldn’t have had the chance to interact with in regular life, but I couldn’t imagine my life without them! Age doesn’t really matter in the workplace, so I have friends that are closer my own age, right up to almost retiring! I’ve made some friends for life, one of which sadly moved on to a new company, which I was absolutely gutted about, but am equally happy for him to have found himself a great job (love you Steve!)
Office banter makes the day fly by
I don’t know about you, but I love a bit of banter – having a laugh makes some mundane days fly by because let’s face it, not all days are going to be exciting! I’ve had some great laughs, sometimes to the brink of tears – I’ve been given countless amount of nicknames over the years (Brucey- for Bruce Banner, Gabsolutely Bantastic, Gabarooni – just a few of my personal faves) and they always make me giggle.
I’ve had many ups and downs in the last five years, but have learnt a lot – you don’t work in one place for five years and not pick up a thing or two 😉 here’s to the next five years and thank you to my amazing friends and colleagues for making it a great place (except for the unnecessary questions 😉 just kidding)!