Woo hoo – happy anniversary to me!

That’s right – it’s my anniversary. Today officially marks the ten year anniversary of my employment at **.

Honestly, I would never have thought that I’d make it to ten years.

Heck, I didn’t think that I’d make it to my first year anniversary… My first international business trip abroad resulted in being hospitalized in ICU with double pneumonia. Just making it out of the hospital was a goal.

Thankfully, I was released and eventually returned to work a couple of weeks later. But my view of work had suffered a drastic change. Words of wisdom from my brother reminding me that “life is short… you shouldn’t stay at a job that doesn’t make your heart sing” have haunted me daily since that time. Why didn’t I jump at the opportunity to start my life anew? Why did I return to a job that clearly didn’t make my “heart sing”?

I wish I knew.

Originally, I felt obligated to return. My hospitalization cost nearly $30,000. This fee was absorbed by all of the participants in the company health care program. I was sure that our rates would increase – and I felt guilty about this. Interestingly, the following year didn’t see a spike in enrollment fees. My guilt should have been alleviated… but I ignored it and stayed on.

No, I’m not Jewish. Worse. I’m Catholic.

I’ve always felt insecure in my employment status. I have a habit of internalizing the problems of others and frequently allow these feelings to overwhelm me – although only a few people know this. In the past couple of years, ** has undergone some major changes (regime change leading the way). It’s been a wild ride that has seen our company send the former President/CEO to prison, cut ties with a host of managers, lay off a hundred plus worker bees, suffer bad PR in the press, lose major customers and demoralize the remainder of the worker bees.

Perhaps it’s the morale issue that’s the most frustrating and disheartening to deal with day in, day out. The problem is that I really like what I do… but I dread having to go into the office every day and face the ever-increasing depressing atmosphere.

The last couple of months have brought ominous feelings of dread and pending unemployment. My paranoia level has definitely climbed to levels heretofore unexperienced.

Unless things change drastically, another anniversary is probably out of the question. Whether I leave under my own terms or not is to be seen.

Ten years.

That’s a lot of time to invest in a job that isn’t really a “career”.

Worse, my heart hasn’t sung in ages.

I frequently joke that it’s my dead-end job.

The tragedy in this joke is that it’s true.

Whether I want to admit it or not, I seriously have to take the time to re-evaluate my future… I’ve reached an age where finding employment is going to be more difficult than it was ten years ago.

The other day, I read a troubling article in the newspaper about a class-action law suit that’s been renewed that claims that a bunch of Hollywood studios have openly discriminated against their writers who were over 40… Here I am finally getting serious about pursuing my writing life and, by Hollywood standards, I’m already past my prime. The irony here, to me at least, is that most people UNDER 40 haven’t lived enough to write about it. Oh, I know, there have been hundreds of successful/entertaining scripts produced by the 20-something set, but will these works endure the hands of time?

From a personal standpoint, I am looking forward to 2005 and my pursuit of the creative life that I’ve put on hold for so long. Bye-bye to the negative voices that have haunted my memory for so long, hello beautiful muse.