The new customer service rep from one of our vendors called me yesterday to introduce herself. I genuinely feel bad for these people. When they take over a new territory, they're cold-calling a bunch of people whose business and background they only know from a paragraph on a transition email.
She opened by letting me know how long she'd been with the vendor, which probably makes sense. What she hadn't been told, however, was that not only was their software originally developed for a company I was working for at the time and I'd been involved with the first pilot of their software, but I'd previously been employed by this vendor and had family still working there. I said this not to one-up her, but just to give her a better idea of where I was coming from.
What this means, though, is that I've been in this particular corner of this industry for approximately as long as this corner has existed. I work with people who weren't alive when I first got in to this business. There are some who weren't alive when this particular piece of software first crawled out of our office over twenty years ago.
Most of the time, I use pop culture touchstones to demonstrate the passing of time. For example, this year's class of high school graduates weren't born when Radiohead's "OK Computer," Wu Tang's :Wu Tang Forever," Foo Fighter's "The Colour and the Shape" and, Spiritualized's "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space" were released. The movies "Titanic," "Boogie Nights," and "Men In Black?" All after they were born.
The difference is that I think those are funny. Watching people realize that their entertainment is now as old to them as their parents' music and movies were to them is a hoot, albeit a slightly cruel one. On the other hand, realizing I've spent this much time in this industry is something that gives me chills, and not the good kind, every time. I'm not sure why.
OK, that's a lie. This is why (ganked from Kuenzer.com.) It's like hitting "/played" in World of Warcraft and seeing just how much of your life you've sunk in to this pursuit. Granted, it's mostly a pursuit of "having a roof over my head" and "having food to eat that isn't dried ramen because, dude, you can only eat so much of that and I know exactly where that limit is." My job could disappear tomorrow and the world wouldn't even notice. I'm under no illusion as to the importance of my day job. I just don't much care for confronting exactly how much time I've put into it.