Monday, September 5, 2011

Longevity pay.

Recently, I reached an employment milestone: 10 years with the County of Kern. For my loyalty, I received a nice tote, a certificate (see photo below), and an extra little love on my pay check. This last item was something that I had heard of but had never experienced. Something called longevity pay.

To be honest, I had mixed feelings about this financial blessing. Much as I, like anyone in this economy, could use a few extra bucks each pay period, I had this sinking feeling that I had reached a dead end--an uncomfortably comfortable habituality--from which I would never escape.

In order to process my thoughts, I wrote a short, depressing poem:

Longevity pay (what it means):
Stable, solid, old.
Settled, no longer looking, no more hope of change--
nor of striving to reach goals.
Arriving at plateaus; no longer choosing.
Becoming one of them.
Smacking of bland death or middle age--whichever comes first--
Walking in tasteless, stale, sensible shoes.

Cheery, eh? It's certainly not as maudlin a prospect as all that, but I do feel I've missed certain "windows" which may never open again. However, I have embraced the new dollar amount I get to count on each check, and though I have mixed feelings about being a permanently permanent fixture with the County, I am proud of the fact that I've stuck with an employer this long--and that, in these times, that employer has allowed me to stick!

And, guess what? Last time I checked, I'm still breathing. Some opportunities are, quite definitely, gone forever. But future possibilities of art, new experiences, and life and love are all before me. I don't think I need to finish my autobiography just yet.

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