On September 21, 1980, I started my first full-time job since I became a mother. I had worked part-time after the kids were born at the same time as I was completing a graduate degree, also part-time. The boys were eight and ten in 1980, but they were still my babies, and not being home for them after school every day was weighing heavily on me. The headache I had at the end of that first day made me wonder how long I could last trying to be perfect mother, perfect wife, and perfect employee.
Two days ago, on September 21, 2010, I celebrated my thirtieth anniversary of working at the same place. It's true that I have had a lot of promotions and several different positions. But I still go in the same door every work-day, and I still love my job. The kids, of course, haven't been home for years, but they both were impressed when I told them of my milestone.
I didn't expect balloons and presents at work, mostly because no one I work with closely knew it was my anniversary. When I mentioned this to my new young boss at the end of an email as an afterthought, he responded immediately to the issue I had raised "And by the way", he added, "Congratulations and cancel your lunch plans if you have them. I'd like to take you to lunch... Let's plan on it."
We had a great time.