Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

25 Years Ago Today (And Then Some)

On February 5, 1996, the company then known as Menlo Logistics (later Menlo Worldwide, then Menlo Worldwide Logistics, now XPO Worldwide Logistics) made me a permanent employee. Today thus marks my 25th anniversary as what XPO considers my full employment with them, even though I actually started working for the company fourteen months earlier.

In July 1995, Menlo put me on the payroll as a "casual" employee (essentially a temp, but without having to pay the contracting agency). The November before that I first entered the headquarters of Menlo Logistics (then in Menlo Park, California) on a three-day temp job to do data entry as I was unemployed when my previous employer went out of business. I automated much of the data entry to make the three-day job into a two-day job, which was bad in the short term but amazingly good in the long run, because they were so impressed that one day after I finished the job, they asked for me back as a contract junior data analyst, and I've never left. Once I worked off the minimum-employment-time clause from the temp agency, Menlo put me on the payroll (same pay, no benefits, and they took the "junior" off my job title as I recall; I've moved through various ranks over the years and my current title is "Senior Solutions Engineer").

Menlo was ready to take me on as a regular employee effective January 1, 1996, but I was under consideration for a job up in Oregon and had to wait for an answer from them (obviously, they didn't pick me) before I could take the offer from Menlo. That actually cost me a fair bit at the time, because under the company's rules at the time, it meant that 1996 wasn't a "full year" of employment, meaning it didn't count toward incentive compensation and vacation time. (When they went from vacation days to paid-time-off, they started basing service time off the hire date, not the hire year.) It also to a lesser extent affected pension time in service, which became somewhat less significant when they discontinued the pension program.

(People like me are grandfathered in to the pension plan, with our pension level locked at where it was when they exited the program with no further length-of-service accrual. They instead improved the 401(k) plan, with a minimum company contribution even if you don't contribute any of your salary to the plan. Those of us who were existing employees at the time got an additional salary match to compensate for there being no pension plan. So when I reach retirement, there is some residual pension from my current employer. There's even a tiny bit — around $150/month — due to me from Blue Shield of California, my previous employer, assuming they don't claim that they can't find me and I can't prove I ever worked for them or something like that.)

I think I'm the last active employee of the company who can trace back to the Menlo Park headquarters building (which has been demolished since then). Menlo Logistics then moved to Redwood Shores, entered a "virtual merger" with sister company Emery Worldwide, exited the virtual merger when the parent company sold Emery to UPS, moved headquarters to San Mateo when UPS kicked us out of the space we had been sub-leasing from Emery), moved to San Francisco (after the parent company with whom we were sharing space moved their headquarters to Michigan; I had since then moved out of headquarters to work on a customer account), and then effectively moved the HQ again to North Carolina when the parent company was purchased by XPO Logistics.

Menlo Logistics was originally a subsidiary of Consolidated Freightways Inc (CFI), which at the time also owned Consolidated Freightways trucking, Emery Worldwide Airfreight, Con-Way LTL, Menlo Logistics, and several smaller subsidiaries. When CFI reorganized by spinning off the original trucking company (which eventually went out of business), the corporate parent changed its name several times, eventually becoming Con-Way. Con-Way then was merged by XPO Logistics, which chose to rename its Menlo Logistics subsidiary "XPO Worldwide Logistics." The employer ID number of the corporate entity that pays me has never changed, despite all of the name and ownership changes.

This 25-year anniversary has no effective impact on my job. In the past, it would have meant graduating to a new paid time off accrual tier, but XPO decided shortly after I moved into the 20-year accrual tier to eliminate all tiers above 15 years and to downgrade everyone with more than 20 years back to the 15-year tier. This was said to be for "competitive" reasons, along with them scrapping the former Con-Way companies' incentive compensation program that would pay extra if we reached certain established goals.

As it happens, today is also one of the every-other-Friday PTO use days, whereby I'm taking the day off because otherwise the accrued time in my account — even at the 15-year-accrual level — would vanish due to hitting the 37.5-day maximum accrual. But I guess I could also say that I'm taking the day off to celebrate an milestone date.
Tags: work
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