Today is my last day at work. I’m retiring after spending most of the past 40 years in the Telecom industry in some way, shape or form. I’ve work in just about every role from Project Manager to Sales Manager to Sales Account Rep to Marketing. I’ve attended training classes in Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta; conferences in New Orleans, Chicago, Orlando and earned sales trips to places like Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Santa Barbarba.
But the best part of this wild ride is the great people I’ve met and worked with along the way. From co-workers to vendors to customers, I’ve made a lot of forever friends through the years. My very first business trip was to Northern Telecom training in Dallas. Our group was from all over the country – Montana, California, Nashville, New York City. And, thanks to Facebook, I’m still in touch with a few.
For most of the 90’s I worked with another great group at ITS. We worked hard and played hard and laughed a lot. Long hours and happy hours and so many great memories. I learned a so much from that group. Many are still thriving in the industry today.
The last 17 years have been spent with the team I’m leaving today. A compassionate, fun, hard-working team that will forever be a huge part of my life. This team has been through some tough times. But we went through them together and that has made us stronger and closer. Even though I am retiring, I am a partner and will be available for chili cook-offs, fish fry’s and company outings.
We started this company in 2009 in the middle of a recession. We made it through that and a pandemic and whatever else the world has thrown at us! This team cares as much for our customers as it does for each other. I invested in UT because of the people. I never doubted we’d succeed because of the people. I’m only sad to be leaving because of the people.
There’s a saying that goes something like “people may forget what you said or did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”. I can’t remember every funny thing said but I remember laughing so hard my sides hurt. I don’t know which RFP we were working on at the time, but I remember the feeling of everyone pulling together to get it out before deadline.
When I began my career in this industry, voice mail was just being introduced in Kentucky. We didn’t have cell phones but managed to communicate throughout large projects and late-night phone system installations. I don’t remember much about the daily processes, but I’ll never forget the people and the little moments. Like the morning I came to work early and caught Quesenberry (a gruff former Marine maybe in his early 50’s at the time) on the phone with his mother ‘just to check in’. Turns out that was pretty much a daily thing for him. Now I’m the mom and here’s hoping my sons will be checking in on me. And luckily, I have a video of Brian Borgman letting me throw a bucket of water on him as a ‘commercial’ about our new UT jackets. Still makes me laugh out loud.
A lot of people today want to work from home. I get that. It’s a slower pace. You don’t have to fight traffic. You can throw a load of laundry in when you need to. But I’m glad I worked in an office environment for most of my career. I’m glad I got to laugh and share stories. My memories are filled with interactions, with great people that have become great friends.
If you’ve been around this industry, you know that it has its own language including an abundance of TLA’s (three-letter acronyms). Here’s my take on some of the terminology.
Once I’m disconnected from the daily grind, the only hosted solutions I’ll be looking for will be parties, VRBO’s or Air BNB’s. If we are going to talk about SIP, it better be related to cold beverages. Hunt groups will consist of friends on shopping trips or bar crawls or beach walks for shells. I’ll be roaming a lot and often remote. Cloud Services will consist of one passing in front of the sun to provide a bit of shade at the beach. The only Patch Panel I’ll need might be to fix a hole in a pool float. Ports? I’ll be thinking wines, not circuits. I’m heading ‘off-line’ now but my connections to the people here at UT will remain forever.