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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks

Pam Cook

A few days ago, actually, I think it might have been on one of the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I was driving to meet a friend so we could go walking. As I was tooling down the road, I heard about three or four cars blowing their horns at each other. I was surprised at how quickly everyone had lost their Christmas spirit. They seemed to be back into the dog-eat-dog world.

I wonder how much of our spirits are influenced by our jobs. I don’t think I would be any good in corporate America today. Other than a few jobs when I was younger, I have always been self-employed, and it’s much harder to be annoyed with the boss when it’s yourself.

You hear employers talk frequently about how the workforce is changing, and it is. In general, employees don’t settle for the same kind of treatment that was the norm many years ago, which is a good thing, but I’ve also noticed that neither company nor employee carries the same loyalty that they once did .

When I lived in Delaware, I worked for a software company, and it was common knowledge that when you gave a two week notice, they would typically escort you out right then. There was always fear of sabotage and theft in that industry.

When I decided I was moving back to NC and I handed in my resignation, you cannot imagine how disappointed I was when they told me I would be working out my notice. For years, I took it as a compliment that they liked me and trusted me enough to keep me on for the two additional weeks. Now I think it was more that they realized I didn’t understand enough of what was going on to be concerned.

Recently I’ve seen young people changing jobs frequently, and while I applaud their courage, I mourn that loss of loyalty. I heard recently that most young people in the workforce today don’t know what a gold watch is, and some have never even heard of such a thing.  It used to be pretty standard.

Today I was part of a celebration for Pam Cook, who has been the Director of St Francis Preschool for 30 years. The love she feels for her job shines through and if the response of the tons of people who showed up for the service is any indication, the loyalty and the love runs both ways.

The teachers who work with her showed up en masse this morning.  They were not upset to be spending their Sunday morning doing this; they were excited to show their love and support for someone they truly admire.  So many people wanted to be able to speak and share their affection and genuine regard for her that it had to be whittled down to only a few.

Unfortunately churches don’t have the resources to hand out gold watches the way big corporations do, but if we did, I know for sure Pam would receive one that matches her heart of gold.

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