Midnight. Wind and rain slash at my coat, lifting it, getting my skirt wet. It’s a thin skirt, with glitter on it, and underneath I’m wearing only panty hose. Although the weather is almost freezing, I’m not. I’m warm because I’ve been drinking.

The evening started with a glass of bubbly around 7 pm, worked its way through an appetizer and “pause dish” with plenty of white wine, a delicious main course with red wine, and a dessert platter with port (I left before the cake and café avec). In between courses, the 30 people around the table sang various songs to drink to, and the company song, as well as listening to a few speeches – and a belly-dancer.

The occassion? A co-worker’s 25th anniversary at our company. My co-worker was an equal mix of genuine gratitude and genuine embarrassment at the attention and gifts bestowed on him. Not a bad word was said about him. I listened to stories about him, poems written or read in his honor, and couldn’t help but wonder what my own 25th anniversary celebration would be like.

I found myself wondering if it would even be a celebration.

My reputation at work is one of a short-tempered person and although I’m much calmer and happier now, the people I used to work with when I first started at this company have not been around me to see the change. So if I were to invite former co-workers or bosses, what would they say about me? And could I bear to hear it if it were about my temper?

Thing is, I don’t think I could. I’ve always been a bit sensitive about it, partly because it was used against me when I was a kid. I’m not mean, I’m not unreasonable, and abuse can bring out the worst in a kid. So being easily annoyed is not really who I am; it’s just what I expressed for so many years.

I have about a year to think about this stuff. Assuming I’m still at this company… (HA! I always say that. Look who’s still here.)

By Keera Ann Fox

I am a bi-lingual American who has lived most of my life in Norway.
Jeg er en tospråklig amerikaner som har bodd mesteparten av mitt liv i Norge.

11 replies on “Anniversaries”

Keera, I feel the same way about my time at the job I\’m returning to in Sept. I definitely have a reputation as a loose canon, and someone with a temper. I don\’t think there would be a celebration for me, in fact, there wasn\’t (of course, my 25th year was the dark year, when we had no work due to bankruptcy!).I guess I\’m coming up on my 30th year (!!!!), since I\’ve technically been on the roster even though I\’ve barely been around since I\’ve been in school. That will happen in the \’09-\’10 season – if I\’m still there in two years (the plan is to not be!). Anyway, I just wanted to say that I completely understand your feelings on this matter. Bummer, that.


I should mention that there has never been a party for anyone on such an anniversary – generally there\’s recognition and a gift at the last big concert of the season, round of applause, etc


I find that my feelings about the anniversary annoy (!) me somewhat, because I\’m focused on the past, in stead of focusing on celebrating myself. After all, reputation notwithstanding, I\’m still at the company. So this is an issue I\’d like to work on. It is very nice to know I\’m not the only one, though. :-)My company has a tradition of treating a co-worker to an anniversary dinner with 20-30 guests and giving a small cash gift and flowers. Co-workers organize it for the guest of honor. Nothing fancy, but it is classy. It\’s pretty common in other Norwegian companies, too.


I\’m a different person at work, but it isn\’t hard to do. My sweet side is as real as the … other one. I\’ve been there almost 6 years and can imagine staying 19 more. I bring in treats for everyone on my anniversary and the bosses take me to lunch.


My emotions get expressed pretty much the same no matter where I am. But you\’ve reminded me of something that has me wondering what my anniversary would be like: Hardly anyone at work knows anything about my personal life and my hobbies. They\’ve heard a few things, like the astrology, but I haven\’t been involved in that in a good while now. I just never talk about my personal stuff and one reason why is because my interests are so far removed from my male co-workers\’ focus on boats, cabins and sports. (Imagine that. 😉 )


\”My reputation at work is one of a short-tempered person\”Wow. Hard to believe. me on the other hand…Especially when dealing with people who don\’t pull their weight.


It\’s partly a cultural thing. Americans show more emotion, including irritation, than do Norwegians. So the Norwegians see me as easily pissed off.And no, you wouldn\’t get away with loudly bawling out an employee in this country. Just not done. Which can be confusing to a foreigner who is expects expression to match situation.


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