A Dozen Years of DEG

Today marks my twelfth anniversary at my current job with DEG. A dozen years. Wow! What does one say about such an occasion? Well…read on and find out. 🙂

Come…take a walk down memory lane with me…

POSITIONS THROUGH THE YEARS

29362_10151073398720796_393490727_nWhen I first started at DEG, I was only a part-timer. I job shared with another sweet woman. She worked the beginning of the week and I worked from noon on Wednesdays through the end of day on Fridays. We did the regular front desk duties – answered the phones, sorted the mail, greeted visitors. We also did some very typical digital world stuff – creating Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, doing a lot of website updates, and dealing with the insanity of a shopping website that now only a handful of us are left to laugh about. I’ve been lucky to get moved around in positions. I hesitate to say “promoted” because its felt like a fairly natural progression through the company for me.

Neal on ChairI had countless opportunities to show my worth throughout my tenure. I did the front desk for a while (I don’t think there was a title there), then I was the first Technical Coordinator, the Implementation & Support Manager, the Training Manager, and now the Special Projects Manager. Each change in position was essentially looking at my job duties and putting some on another associate (sometimes a new position being made) and adding new duties. Even now, my job title lends itself to flexibility in duties and a fair amount of autonomy. Currently I have assignments as the MS Office magician, the pro bono chick, and now working with a couple of directors on stabilizing internal Operations. As the needs of the company change, so do my duties to match.

Over the years, my boss has called me his right hand, his “Swiss Army Knife” and “the glue that keeps things from falling through the cracks”. Essentially, I believe he sees me as one of the associates he can hand nearly any project, however crazy it might seem, and he knows I’ll find the right tool in my “knife” collection to get it done. He can rely on me not to let things be forgotten and to find ways to fill the gaps, whatever they might be.To know that you’re thought of in such a positive light is a good feeling most days and a bit daunting on others.

GOOD WORKS

CuriosityMy Hermione-level skills in Microsoft apps (a dubious distinction to some, a true blessing to others) seems to be my strongest skill set. Sometimes I love being able to share my skills and knowledge with others, sometimes it feels like a huge weight around my neck because there isn’t someone else I can point to and say, “Ask them this time if you would please.”

Many years ago, when I was first assigned to be the technical coordinator, I created an Access database that I named “Genesis”. We needed such a thing to track all the many project requests coming from multiple managers to multiple resources and to help with invoicing. This database was eventually followed by EVAN D’Onion (Email’s Very Annoying Number-cruncher) & ERIC D’Onion (Email’s Records for Implementation Coordination). The D’Onion was because they were database onions; they were very layered and occasionally made me cry. These twin databases for our two main functions in the Email (now, Direct Marketing) team are still somewhat in use today, over 8 years later, with changes over the years. These databases were my pride and joy but I was more than happy to finally turn them over to someone else in the long run. 🙂

CharityI’ve been able to create Microsoft Word & PowerPoint templates that the entire company uses. I’ve taught many classes on all the Microsoft applications and even more little tricks to those who want and need them. I’ve worked on many events, both clients and our own internal events. I’ve led a team on an award-winning event website (still one of my favorite websites ever). I wrote a blog on using social media for non-profit events. I’ve acted as the unofficial historian, taking photos at nearly every event & personally getting to know almost all associates who have come through our doors (however that’s been increasingly difficult over the last two years). I’m working to help standardize many of our internal operations through the use of visualizations, a company-based glossary & wiki, and injecting my own two cents now and then while surrounded by some incredibly intelligent people.

My latest success came for the social team. I did what many told me couldn’t be done! With a few bits of stolen code from the Internet, some creative thinking and more than a few curse words I created a data merge between Excel & PowerPoint that pulls in content AND images into a dynamic PowerPoint deck on either a PC or a MAC (interchangeably). And the fairly automatic process pulls it all together in about 30 minutes instead of the old 8 hours. I relished the change of making this happen!

PERSONAL LEARNING

Before this sounds any more like a resume, let me adjust my writing. Over half my adulthood has been spent within the walls of DEG so I’m sure to have learned something besides how to do my job, right? And, yes, my very geeky self just did the math to make sure that was right before I wrote it [(41-18)/2=11.5] . And I have many coworkers who will appreciate the diligence and geekiness of that gesture.

I’ve done some pretty interesting things over the years but what has always and will always make this company interesting is our people.

DSC02699Five officers who are collectively smarter than any other five people I know and whose intelligence exponentially increases when they’re agreeing (and when they’re drinking they can change the world)

The tallest man I’ve ever personally known with stories literally from around the world who handles problems with Zen-like calmness and has an encyclopedic knowledge of movies to rival my own

Kerstin and MeMy own best friend who is more wonderful than I can put into words and who has kept me sane since she walked through the DEG doors. [Thank you, Kerstin!]

The amazing female engineer who kicks ass, takes names and is the most glorious country girl I know

The quiet men who code every day but have incredible (and not always geeky) senses of humor

The young and beautiful girls, sorry – women – that fill the office with laughter and youth and are scary smart as well

Julie and MeThe “small but mighty” email manager with a black belt who could physically or mentally kick your ass and you’d thank her for it because she’s just so damned likable – she’s also a great disc golf partner!

The associates who make up the Culture Club and DEGU and Corporate Challenge teams – they work together with their own special skill sets to make work a little less work and a lot more fun

The men I can talk to about disc golf or Star Wars, who accept my geekiness as I accept theirs

The guys who flirt with me and are happy to have me flirt back (and we know it’s not going to become an HR issue)

DSC06882The women with whom I can discuss girl-stuff – nail polish, makeup, Stitch Fix, the importance of wearing a slip and the perils of raising kids (and sometimes we play basketball)

The one with the great smile who calls me “effervescent” to get me out of a funk

The one who asks how heavy my workload is and how I’m doing – how I’m REALLY doing – simply because she cares that much about all of us

The ones who make me laugh so hard I double up and the ones who have learned when to stay out of my way

… and so many more personalities and skills than I could ever list

I won’t lie and say we’re one big happy family.

But we are indeed one big family. I’ve watched us grow from about 10 associates (I’m #6!) to about 170 and the size we are astounds me some days. But yet we’re still mostly family.

Usually we’re happy. Sometimes we fight. Sometimes we don’t understand each other. But, when the pressure is on, we work together to get it done. When we celebrate, we celebrate big (and sometimes for no reason except “Science Rocks!”). We sign cards of caring and support and joy for one another during times of loss, birth and marriage. We dance at events and drink on Fridays. We teach each other and encourage our children to embrace S.T.E.M. lives. We even have our own hashtag, #DEGLife, so we can document our adventures together outside our office walls.

WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS

From these associates, these friends, these mentors and students, I’ve learned so much. Patience, love, joy, kindness, caring. They’ve taught me to face challenges head on and to speak my mind but pick my battles. They’ve made me learn things I didn’t care about and that I’ll never forget. I’ve reminded them, and myself, that in the end it’s websites and emails and social media we do for a living – what’s important is the reason behind it all and the people we’re helping or supporting along the way.

2014-10-29 18.27.26I can’t say if I’ll be with DEG another year or another twelve years. So much of our lives is a changing tide and we just have to flow with it. I’ve been lucky to ride along in the same boat for many years and watch it evolve from a rowboat to a pontoon to a megayacht. I hope to be there long enough to see it become a pleasure cruise with mimosas at sunrise and dancing at midnight on the Lido deck. (And I hope they don’t toss me overboard with just a life preserver!)

DEG will always be a part of me as a person, not just a part of my history. What I’ve learned here will stay with me the rest of my days…and I hope I remain a part of its collective memory the rest of its days.

XO – T.

PS – for those coming to visit this post from the DEG blog, please note that all thoughts, feelings and expressions on the Eccentric Randomness blog are mine and mine alone. DEG may not condone everything I write or say on my personal blog, but they liked this post. ‘Nuff said. 🙂

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About T.A. Babcock

Writer, artist, mom, special project manager, MS Office Goddess, beautiful dreamer, randomly eccentric lady. (Not necessarily in that order...)

Posted on May 5, 2015, in Getting Real and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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