In the latest issue of AARP The Magazine, Dr. Phil is featured in the Upfront section.
At 65, he spoke about something a friend had passed on to him: “Think about those 65 years as a big yardstick laid out on the ground that goes from 0 to 85. Walk along it and stand on your age. Look over your shoulder.”
Dr. Phil’s reaction? “Wow, there’s not so much ahead relative to what’s behind me.”
Reading about IBM’s move from Somers to Armonk set me thinking about what’s behind me relative to IBM. Back in the late 70s, I was part of the communications department that dealt with the media during the anti-trust suit; I later worked in the Guest Executive Offices and met some of the top senior executives from the United States and Europe; I supported a vice president in Washington, DC and was invited to attend several meetings in DC—I took advantage of those trips and visited The Smithsonian Museum and other points of interest.
My favorite position was in Tri-State Personnel, namely the IBM Club, where we planned and coordinated major and smaller events for employees e.g. Family Day, Quarter Century Club Dinners, Holiday Season Party and various sports dinners, etc. One of the perks in setting up the Quarter Century Club Dinners was meeting the featured celebrity. Picture this: me escorting Tony Bennett to the ballroom and chatting about his paintings and my desire to play the piano again.
“Just start slow and do scales. It will all come back and you will be very happy that you put music back in your life,” he kindly advised.
We also did several fashion shows. One year, I proudly walked down the runway on the arm of my handsome No. 1 son, George. He and I were “dressed” in evening attire by an upscale designer—we definitely couldn’t purchase those outfits, even with a discount! A co-worker took a picture of us for posterity.
While working at corporate headquarters in Armonk, I rushed out the door one morning, heading to a big meeting. Great! My battery was deader than a door nail. No time for son Joe (the mechanic) to charge the battery; not to worry, he’d get me to work. There was a catch: Our mode of transportation was “Captain Crunch,” a blue monster of a pick-up truck he was restoring. It had huge wheels and sat so high off the ground that I needed a step stool to get into the truck! The “Crunch,” with its exhausts rumbling, pulling up in front of the building must have been quite a sight, not to mention me trying to step down gracefully in a suit and heels. The security guys and receptionist had their laugh of the day and never let me live that one down!
Oh, my, there are so many more memories. It is sad to see how IBM and other major corporations have changed over the years. I will say this: Before the downsizing, outsourcing and layoffs, there was something rewarding and enduring about working for a large corporation. I felt fulfilled and proud of the work I did for IBM. For over 25 years, I worked with some exceptional and wonderful people—I’m in touch with many of them via phone calls, email, Facebook and the occasional letter. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of this company. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
Having celebrated my birthday this week, I am now ready to move on to the years remaining on my yardstick!