Gold Watches

There is a long-standing tradition where an employee is given a gold watch to commemorate their retirement. Although the practice is less common today, I think there are still a lot of organizations giving them out. Certainly, a watch does not come close to representing the sacrifice and commitment that someone puts into a job, especially after a long time in the position, or even a lifetime of service. It’s not the watch, but it’s the thought that counts. It’s the organization’s way of saying thank you. Thank you for all the blood, sweat and tears. Thank you for the sacrifices, the commitment, the hard work, and dedication.

Many years ago I was driving home from a New Year’s Eve party at about one o’clock in the morning. Just as I was getting to my neighborhood, I noticed the power was out.   As I turned onto Phillips Road from Lapeer, I saw a Detroit Edison crew working on a utility pole near the church there. One of the crew members was wearing waders, standing waist deep in a ditch full of ice water. I thought to myself, “Who does that? Who leaves their family on New Year’s Eve, goes out into the freezing cold, throws on a pair of waders and stands in a ditch full of water?”

As I drove past them, I slowed and rolled my window down to say, “Thank you for your service.” One of the linemen waved, the other two looked confused. I realized they probably aren’t used to people saying that kind of thing to them. “Thank you for your service” is usually what some people say to uniformed service members, firefighters, paramedics, or police officers. It’s not something you normally think of with a utility worker. As I pulled into my driveway, expecting a cold house and a lot of inconveniences, the power suddenly came on. Hero’s come in all kinds shapes and sizes. To a lot of people on a cold New Year’s Eve, I think those workers would easily be considered heroes.

Little did I know that a decade later, I would be working in the Department of Public Works. These are amazing people, dedicated to impacting the community and providing quality honest work every day. Watches are nice, but they aren’t quite the right thing for a DPW worker. We have a tradition here of making a street sign for a departing member. Longtime employee Al Farrow will be receiving his “gold watch” this month, and we wish him well with his retirement and future activities.

If you happen to know someone who is looking for a fun, interesting and rewarding career in the community, send them our way. We offer a competitive compensation and benefits package, and at the end, there’s the street sign.

Open positions can be found at: www.auburnhills.org/jobpostings

Stan Torres, Manager of Municipal Properties

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