This weekend, E and I headed to San Francisco to attend the annual holiday party hosted by my first professional employer.
This employer, showing excellent judgment, refused to hire me at my first interview. I showed up at their offices in the Financial District dressed in head-to-toe spandex on rollerblades (I had come straight from diving practice). They had just moved to San Francisco from Boston, and, while they were looking for a Californian college student to do library research, they weren't quite prepared for my oh-so-Californian attire.
They hired a guy who showed up in a suit. He was terrible. They fired him. I re-faxed my resume a year later and showed up for my second interview in a suit. I got the job and worked through my last year of school and into my first full-time professional job. I loved working there -- they were excellent employers, and I tried to leave on very good terms to follow the dot-com boom.
I guess I succeeded because I was hired back as a consultant when I became inevitably unemployed as a result of the dot-com bust. Happily, I've been invited to every holiday party they've hosted since.
Over the years, we've been their guests at some of the city's best bars and steakhouses (and one year, they flew us to Vegas!). This year's party was during Santarchy, which added an extra festive note to our drinks at the Comstock Saloon and the delicious multi-course private room meal at 5A5. Bonus, I was able to give a toast thanking them for introducing me the beauty of small business ownership and for being one of the inspirations for starting my own law practice.
Every year, E and I look forward to this event for great conversation during a big night out on the town and a stay at a hotel. It's become one of our favorite holiday events. Last year we enjoyed Union Square in all of its holiday splendor with the lights, Christmas trees, Macy's wreaths, ice-skating rink, and more.
This year, we stayed at the the Hyatt Regency and enjoyed the spectacle of the approximately 1500 hanging columns of light (E counted). Sadly, we missed the falling snow effects of the lights, but we were joined with gleeful children on every elevator ride, so that they, too, could enjoy the spectacle of lights and the view of the decorated atrium below. The hotel clearly knows that the hundreds of children riding the glass elevators are not guests, but employees pointedly ignore the transgressions in the name of holiday fun.
Today, I looked at the list of events our hotel was hosting in addition to the immense effort they've put into decorations (Photo opportunities with Santa, holiday dinners and brunches, and more), and I was impressed. There's obviously a pride and a desire to contribute to the communal holiday festivities that many of the larger businesses, as well as the smaller businesses and individuals in San Francisco feel. It warms my heart to be part of it.