How do I define career success?

My first fulltime job was at NCR in West Columbia, SC. I worked there for almost 14 years until it closed its doors and we all dispersed into this wide world of ours. Someone created a Facebook page recently for all who used to work there. I saw photos of coworkers I had not seen in over 20 years. How young we were! Many proceeded to share various stories from that time. I enjoyed reading them and posted my favorite memory. I decided to share it here as well. The story shows that through the hustle and bustle to get ahead in the corporate world, what makes us smile later is not how much advancement was achieved but rather how successful we were in creating beautiful memories.

I had been working full time for about fifteen months when the date to receive my US citizenship dawned. I let my team know I was coming in late that morning to attend the ceremony. I arrived to work mid morning and walked in to patriotic signs and flags on the walls starting at the plant entrance leading up to the big room where my cube was. I remember wondering what historic event took place on that day as it was a non remarkable date in April. I had recently taken the citizenship test so US history was fresh in my mind but nothing stood out. Then, to my surprise I see red, white and blue ribbons hanging down from the ceiling over my cube along with red, white and blue balloons with stars drawn on them. An apple pie was waiting on my desk. I had tears in my eyes! Before long a crowd gathered. There were handshakes, hugs, congratulations (Covid was not a concern in April 1989). My coworkers signed a big poster board that hung in the hallway outside of my cube. I did not even know some of them. My wonderful teammates insisted on taking me out to Sandy’s for hot dogs (They said that is how I become a true American 😂)

It was my first full time job as a graduate engineer, a wonderful time in my life when I achieved great success . As I reach middle age, I get to redefine the semantic of my career success at NCR. I don’t want to say that E&M Columbia was a special place to work because it was not the place but rather the people who made it special. Thanks for the fond memories NCR family!

I wish you a memory bank full of beautiful stories and I hope your drive for success is not preventing you from helping others add beautiful memories to theirs.

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6 thoughts on “How do I define career success?

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  1. I love reading about your life changing journeys. What a wonderful thing your co-workers did to celebrate and memorialize the event as they must’ve felt this was a momentous event worth celebrating, and it was.

  2. Like you, I enjoyed working at NCR E&M-Columbia. I made life-long friends from fellow coworkers. I also met my future wife there; I didn’t think that my start date of February 14 was significant.


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