In September of 1999 I started working at Jasc Software. It was a little company that made digital photography software. I landed at Jasc as a Customer Service temp. I had two options from the temp agency. I could work at some publishing firm in St. Louis Park or work at a software company in Eden Prairie. I chose the software company for two reasons: free pop and you could wear jeans. Little did I know that I would survive three rounds of layoffs, one acquisition, and stay there for over eight years. Along the way I picked up a career (copywriting) and the skills to create a Web site (iwilldare.com).
As many of you know in November the Canadian company that bought Jasc back in 2004 decided it was going to close the Minneapolis office, which is why I lost my job. Last night we had one last hooha to say thank you and goodbye to the office that housed so many of our working hours for nearly a decade.
It was like journeying back to 1999 all over again. The turnout for the get-together was amazing. I think, at one point, there were eighty people there. This is astounding because Jasc was a company that employed about 120 people at its largest. By the time the office closing was announced in November I think the Minneapolis office had dwindled down to fifty or so.
The party was fun and odd, and all the things you look for in a party. Since I am currently unemployed and this copywriting gig has been my only real grown-up job, I learned a lot from my former coworkers last night. For instance, I found out that it’s unusual for people to have such a sentimental attachment to their former place of employment. Especially to have such a fond memory of the place that you go back to say goodbye even though you haven’t worked there for six or more years.
They also told me that the mix of chemistry, that combination of passion and talent is highly unique and it’s not something you find very often at work. If I had a dollar for each time someone said “oh god, I miss working with you” to me or someone near me, I’d be able to take the Internet out for lunch.
I also found out that when you get a group of people together that worked together for so long that you automatically fall back into the old roles you had the last time you were together. It’s like a family, kind of. It was funny because the software developers hung together, like they always do. Marketing sat around and made fun of everyone and each other, like they always do, and IT sat around and gave us disdainful looks, like they always do. It’s as though nothing had changed, though everything had.
At one point last night, Al, the cutest girl on Earth™, BFK, Michelle, and I were seated around a table eating like we had on about 1000 free-lunch Fridays back when we all worked in Customer Service. I looked at them and said, “I keep waiting for Jodie to come over and tell us to hurry it up because there’s a five-minute hold time on the phones.”
It was a party that was so fun that even during the middle of it, I’d lean over to whomever I was sitting next to and say, “This is so awesome.” And really the whole evening was one of those quintessential ‘you had to be there’ type of things. It was good though and it was nice to get a pretty ribbon to put on what will probably become known in Supergenius lexicon as the software years.