I started my working career during a time when you were expected to get a job and stay with that company until you retired. It was considered the norm to be with the same company your entire career. So when someone asks me how long I have been working at misco they, are amazed when I say an odd 34 years..since 1988. If I could read their minds, I am sure they are saying one of these: how loyal/how boring/have you never had other opportunities?
People my age took the ‘loyalty’ issue much more seriously than nowadays. If you are happy at your place of work, why would you leave and go elsewhere? Even when faced with other opportunities, one would hesitate before being ‘disloyal’. In any case, why fix something which is not broken?
Working within the same company for a long time means you become knowledgeable about the tasks, workflows, and systems at your job – as long as you keep in line with changing environment both inside the office and outside! It also means that when one needs to refer to something from the olden times – as my much younger colleagues call it – they come to me.
Yes, I have seen a LOT of changes within the company during my time at misco. I’ve seen so many employees come and go, but I’m still here! So, what’s my story? Isn’t going to the same offices, doing more or less the same chores, meeting the same people year in year out…boring!
I can easily say that during my 34 years at misco, things were continually changing both from a work and a personal aspect so the ‘boredom’ factor did not really have time to set in.
Let us take it from a technological point of view. I always worked within an administrative role, so when I joined misco in the latter part of the 80s it was the start of the age of electronic typewriters – which were soon to be replaced by the computer. The fax machine which had replaced the ‘telex’ was soon taken over by scanning and emails. I joined in the age of non-mobile telephony, so calling people would always have to be when they are at home. Imagine that today! The mobile phone and being ‘in when you are out’ was something which one heard about but wondered about the telephone cable! Photocopiers were basic and any sorting would be done manually. Thankfully, we had the long tables used for training which made collating so much easier. Nowadays keeping soft copies is preferred to paper, so even the photocopier is soon becoming something of the past.
Of course, internet and emailing did not exist during my first few years at misco but I was there when they were introduced. I remember the first computer entering misco offices in Valletta, and this was to be shared by quite a few people! What a far cry from laptops on everyone’s desk today, and the incredible change and fast pace that internet has got with it.
Once all these new technologies took over, there really was no stopping it. How could I ever get bored!
Having been at misco for such a long time also meant that I was passed on some duties of other people who might have moved on, thus rendering my job continually in a state of evolving – which is a godsend, as doing the same chores can get to you. Taking on new duties obviously also allows you to learn and absorb new things whilst keeping you still interested in your work.
I have seen more people come and go at misco than most other people in the office today, except for the founding director. I was with misco when we changed offices from Valletta to Mriehel so it is easy for me to look back and see the great improvements that the company did in this respect.
But are all the things above what keeps a person at the same employment over so many years?
No. To me life is not just your work. In my case I brought up two kids during my time with misco; during a time when nurseries were practically nonexistent so one would need to depend on the flexibility of your employers for reduced hours, and even more flexibility during school holidays. Nowadays, these working conditions are more structured and accepted since the majority of mothers still remain working. I have taken my kids to work after school to do their homework until I would be able to leave and go home and carry on with other chores. I was allowed the flexibility of working reduced hours to be able to handle their extracurricular activities, so again…Why change something which works?
Obviously, there are cons of staying in the same job for years. One can become complacent too and unless one grows to higher levels within one’s own company, it could be considered that you are lacking in wanting career advancement.
Maybe the fact that I am a product of my age group, when career advancement was maybe given second preference to being more ‘there’ for the kids is what kept me from changing jobs, and hence my lack of regret at having been at the same place of work for so many years.
Marthese Spiteri Gonzi, Office Administrator