Today was our company's holiday lunch (it's sitting right here as I type this). There were the usual words said along with the "tough year, glad we're still together and our clients appreciate all the hard work we do" part of the speech. Then the boss also went into service awards. As soon as he said that my brain went, "Holy crap, I've been here five years." Yep, just this past Monday I entered into the "old timers" category (actually, we also celebrated several 15, 20 and one 25 year award, this job tends to hang onto people).
This makes the current day thing my second longest running engagement with a company in my professional career. It's very standard in my industry to job jump. Much of it runs along personal taste, short longevity, few options for advancement, much of the stuff I really no longer care about. Hell, I don't even have my new job title memorized yet (I think it's Information Architect).
To be fully honest, when I graduated college this is not where I expected to be at this point. But about 9 years ago my dreams and goals changed. I may bitch and moan about the job, but I genuinely like what I do for a living. I like being able to contribute my skills to the team and in the end make us all look better. I also (very much) like when I get home my head doesn't feel like it's going to unscrew from my neck and pop off like a water rocket launching. And that's a pleasant side benefit I didn't fully expect when I choose this job five years ago.
For the record, I had three offers at the same time, one mid-range studio, one consumer products design, and this one in printing. The studio would have been a small step up from where I was at, but for a little less money. The plus side would have been working with some cool clients and the opportunity to work on cool things. The consumer products job would have meant a lot of exposure in the consumer marketplace (I can't tell you what a jazz it is to see people buying products in your box). It wouldn't be as cool, but it was about the same in money (and you all, while you might not own the products, would definitely have seen them in the stores).
And then there was this job. Less exposure, less cool things, and a little more money. The plus side of this job is I don't feel wrung out at the end of the day. Most days I leave here and except for the things I willingly carry, I leave my job here. No research into client markets, no new color theory, no keeping up with the cutting edge in the field (which you never get to use anyway), no wondering just WTF the client was talking about when they said they didn't like the font. There's still stress, still the uncertainty, still all the crazy crap, but the structure of the job puts the knobs back down to 10, instead of 11.
So happy five years to me.