Saturday, October 4, 2008

Precious Jewels

I loved my job of 6-1/2 years. I loved 99.9% of the people I worked with. (.1 percent, if you're reading this, you know who you are...snicker...I know - my bad) Yesterday was my last day at that job. And just wait until you hear what they did to send me out in style...and in tears...tears of gratitude for having had those 6 plus years with them...
Then why a new job? Well, the group I'm going to work with also works with the group I am coming from. And they have needed an "admin person" for almost 2 years now. They finally got a new director and he secured the authorization of the creation of this new position. I will be the Office Administrator for the Performance Improvement Group (the PI Group for short) of the biggest health care company in St. Louis, MO. (If you live here, you know which company of which I speak. If not, it wouldn't matter to you anyway LOL) As I said, a few of the people in this group have wanted me to come work for them for almost 2 years. It's nice to be wanted that much. Plus I thrive on new challenges. I'm not shy about meeting new people. In other words, this is gonna be exciting - being the person who creates this job and makes it what it ends up being someday when I move up...and that is the other reason I'm leaving the dept. for which I worked as of yesterday. There was really nowhere for me to go there. My boss tried to upgrade my job with corporate 3 times and 3 times they shot her down. In this position, I have the opportunity to work with a program called Six Sigma, with which some of you may be familiar. The new position is also much closer to home and only about 2 miles from my husband's work, so we can commute together. That alone is about a $50/week raise in gas price savings. Otherwise, it is a lateral move. It is also right next door to the company at which I worked for 10 years, so I have built-in lunch buddies!
So, now, you're probably wondering what they did to send me out "in style". You are NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS, but every word is true. First of all, the other admin assistant there, with whom I've become very close over those 6 years, planned a going away pot luck for me - a POTATO POT LUCK at that! (I'm a MAJOR potato-head!). Then, she orchestrated a chain of events to surprise me by having the diamond replaced in my engagment ring of my wedding set! Yes, really! She knew I was devastated when I lost the diamond about 4 or 5 months ago and could not afford to have it replaced. She and these other wonderful, special co-workers wanted to give me a going away present that would really mean something to me. (Can you imagine anything meaning much more than that????) She called my daughter and had her bring it out to her. (She met her at a half-way point and told me she had a lunch date that day! :) Anyway, she handed it off to another woman I work with whom I'm also pretty close with, who handed it off to her next door neighbor, who knows a reputable jewelry broker to get it replaced/repaired. (Fun side note to that: Ironically, when I went to the Journey concert a few weeks ago, the woman told me she had it in her purse that night without me even knowing! And the other couple with us - her neighbors!!!LOL)
So, fast forward to my last week of working with these folks. I had to train my replacement in 3 days. That's cramming about 3 weeks of training into 3 days. It was very grueling for both of us. I was exhausted to the point of not even being able to go to karate this past week. I was zonked and I mean really zonked - mentally and physically. And I knew the material! Can you imagine how overloaded the poor new girl felt?
At 11:30 am yesterday, the potatoes started flowing (that was the 2 varieties of potato soup)They also started rolling (the potato candy) and being scooped (all the varieties of potato salads & casseroles, both hot and cold) It was buffet heaven for me! LOL The conference room was overflowing capacity with people. There must have been 100 people there total. People craning their necks in from the hallway to watch me open the gift - a gift I thought was basically gag gifts. Wow - was I ever wrong!
I felt like a mother-to-be at a baby shower. Silence, all eyes on me as I tried to open the box. (I was waiting for someone to break out a skein of yarn to take guesses at measuring my belly girth! Embarassing enough when you really are pregnant, let alone if you weren't!LOL) So, the first gag gift in the box is a little basket that had been on my desk and I put in a community public place to try to get rid of it when I learned I got the other job. Everyone laughed. Then I open a wrapped CD case says "I Can't Drive 55"...a Sammy Hagar CD, right? Nope. A gift card to QT - my favorite gas station who has the best coffee around - even better than Starbucks! I did not open it - just said thanks. Went on to the next item, a red apple candy jar that again, I had tried to get rid of from my desk. More laughter. Then I unwrap a mug that bears the newer logo of the part of the company I'm leaving. Aw, a memento...It's filled with those pretty decorative glass rocks. The other Admin Asst tells me to pour our the rocks. And there it is...a ring box. The other Admin Asst is a jewelry fanatic and I say, "Oooooh, jewelry!" Well, jewelry is right! My repaired wedding set is staring back at me. I just couldnt' believe it! Nobody pulls off big surprises on me! I was flabbergasted. I tried to get it on my finger and I'm all puffy lately (gotta cut out that salt, plus menopause would probably help too - LOL) but my hands were shaking so much I could barely get it on. I could feel the tension as everyone thought it wasn't gonna go on. But it did, as I knew it would - My knuckles are huge but my fingers skinny, so once it was over the knuckle, it was all good. They even increased the size of my diamond! Yes, really! And it is just so clean and sparkly! I couldn't stop staring at it (in between power-training my replacment that is!) Later while back at my desk training her, the other Admin Asst told me I needed to look at the QT gas gift card. So, I did and had to blink a couple of times at the amount - was that a typo??? It read $175.00!!! OMG! It was correct!!! OMG again!! Can you believe that???? A diamond, free gas - which is about as valuable as gold these days, potatoes...yukon gold...
I would have stayed in touch with almost all these people even if they had given me all gag gifts. But just because I won't see them everyday like I used to, the most "precious jewels "of all are these people whom I shall ALWAYS call "my dear friends".

8 comments:

Meg said...

Oh you just made tears come to my eyes! That is a wonderful thing to hear! You worked with a wonderful bunch of caring people!
Congratulations on the new job! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as your previous job!!

Martial Arts Mom said...

Meg-
Me too! I just can't get over that they'd do something that special just for me! Thanks for the well-wishes too!

Anonymous said...

How spectacular! What a great group of people. BUT they wouldn't have been so great without you, which they thoroughly recognize. Ah, to be loved IS the greatest gift of all. I hope your new job goes well :) Get back to class girl! I am sure they miss you too! rose

Martial Arts Mom said...

Rose, I'm going back Tues. - first Tues night this session matter of fact. But look at the pot calling the kettle black...You need to get back, too, young lady! Everyone misses you!

Michele said...

Wow! What an amazing send-off to your new job. You have great friends and co-workers. Congratulations on your new job!

I never had potato candy but potato soup is my favorite.

Martial Arts Mom said...

Michele, here's the kicker - I couldn't even taste all the different potato dishes because there were so many! YUM! And the potato candy was a hit. the fllling was mashed potatoes and they were covered with chocolate. Just tasted like soft chocolate balls with a white fluffy filling - didn't taste like mashed potatoes. Everyone wanted the recipe! Yes, I feel very fortunate to know these great people!

Steve said...

Here's hoping that your new coworkers become as close to you as your old ones.

Martial Arts Mom said...

Well, I'm off to a good start anyway. Got to the new job this morning and they had a little "welcome party" for me. One of the women made this great breakfast casserole (potatoes, what else? along with eggs and cheese and smoked sausage- YUM) and we all sat and had breakfast together. Then the ladies took me out to lunch. Spent most of day alone as they were all out in th field but that was okay because I was learning how to use all the equipment in the office. So far, I really like it.