I reached a new milestone at work this year. As of April, I’ll have been employed in the same job for 15 years! And with the glorious news comes an extra week of vacation moving forward. The fact I’ve worked in one place for so long is news in itself.

I bounced around a lot when I was younger from job to job and place to place. Without realizing it at the time, I was searching for a place to call home and it wasn’t until I hit San Francisco that I found it. While I had some good jobs over the years, some I liked, others I hated. They all benefited me in one way or another. It wasn’t until I landed in emergency services that I seemed to settle. When I took the job here, I had other offers on my plate and I took it almost on a whim. There were several very random occurrences or coincidences that helped push me into this line of work.

Fast forward, here I am 15 years later still at it. I’m fully vested here and consider myself very fortunate. I won’t have to worry about income or health benefits when I retire and I’ll be able to provide for myself and Shawn. For someone who came from such poor means, I’m so very proud of my accomplishments. I’m not rich and never will be but I’m proud of my work and it gives me comfort knowing I’ll be ok when I get older. It wasn’t always so easy. When I first started it was right after the PGE rolling blackouts and just before the dot.com bust. Even then, I had a hard time making ends meet. I made a lot less than I do now and eking out a living was tough. I stuck it out and thru several busted/broken relationships and 15 years I’ve reached some stability. I make enough to keep more than just the bills paid and can afford a few luxuries. The irony is I’d do quite well pretty much anywhere else on my salary. Of course, I also wouldn’t make said salary anywhere else either.

A few weeks ago I was discussing the old days with a former blogger and he mentioned the passing of my father. I was so broke at the time I ended up soliciting donations on my blog so I could afford a trip home. [1]He had sent me a nice check for which I was eternally grateful There was no such thing as gofundme or indiegogo stuff back then. All we had was the "tip jar" button that was tied to PayPal. I was a bit embarrassed and felt a little guilty when I did it but I sure appreciated those who reached out to help me. Several complete strangers offered money and it was just enough to push me over the edge to make the trip. Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since then.

So yeah, I busted my ass and stuck it out. There were several times I wanted to quit and just walk away. The stress, drama, and negativity builds up on you over time. Luckily, I persevered and I’m still here. And while the idea of living here for the rest of my life still appeals to me, the cost will eventually push me out of the city. Its just too expensive.

Either way, I’m stuck here for another 15 years. I don’t plan to retire until I reach the max benefit, which requires 30 years of service and be age 65. Plus, I like working and I want to max out what I can because once I retire I’m on a fixed income for the rest of my life. Of course, if you had asked me 15 years ago if I’d ever be happily engaged, financially stable, debt-free, and a plan for the future, I would have laughed at you. It was never even in the realm of possibilities for me back then.

So I move into year 15 of my career with an eager look to the future. I hope the next 15 years treats me with the same growth and progress that the last 15 have.

Hope springs eternal…


1 He had sent me a nice check for which I was eternally grateful