91-Year-Old California Woman Celebrates 71 Years Working At The Same Company
On 11th January 2018
In current culture, millennials move from job to job in order to climb the ladder. The average time spent at a company is just two years. Let's talk about a loyal employee 'Elena Griffing', she has just celebrated her 71 years working for the same San Francisco Bay Area hospital, and she has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Elena Griffing, 91, began working at the Sutter Health Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, California, on April 10, 1946, when she was just 20 years old.
Elena Griffing says,"On the 10th day of April 1946, I came to work and I still can’t wait to come to work, and it’s 71 years later, this is my hospital, I enjoy anything I can do to be of service. Truly, it's the patient that counts. If it's helping someone, it's my bag."
The 91-year-old said that when she first started on her career path, it was "just magic." Colleagues describe her as "strong-willed" and "independent" — factors that they think help keep her scampering down the halls in her kitten heels, joyful to be at work each day. As if her employment longevity wasn't enough, consider this: She has taken only four days of sick leave in her 70 years of work. The chief medical executive of the Sutter Health Alta Bates Summit Medical Center calls Griffing "the heart and soul" of the hospital, and her influence on the facility and its culture nothing less than "extraordinary."
In 2011, CBS San Francisco spoke with Griffing, and she explained her impressive routine:
She said,"I go to bed at 1 o'clock and I'm up at 6, seven days a week, I don't want to waste time sleeping."
Griffing was diagnosed with a hemoglobin disorder at the age of 19, and landed in the hospital where she would eventually work. She stayed at the hospital for four months and became very friendly with the staff. One day, some lab technicians were complaining that a secretary had not come in, and that this had slowed down their ability to work. Griffing says that one of them asked her, "Are you a secretary? You should get to work." And the rest is history.
Once she came on staff, Griffing consistently climbed the ladder. Her first job in the hospital was in the laboratory where frogs and rabbits were injected with a woman's urine to determine if she was pregnant. Griffing was the right-hand woman to the pathologist and quickly became an expert at catheterizing frogs.
After starting in reception, Griffing then moved into pathology, hand-delivering reports and test results long before computers arrived on the scene. Back then, Griffing explains, "Everything was done by hand." She finally move up to goodwill ambassador -- the position she holds today. She also worked with an endocrinologist for 10 years and in the Alta Bates Burn Center for an additional 22 years.
Griffing spends her days making sure that patients are comfortable and happy during their stay at the hospital, spreading her positive spirit to everyone she encounters. Griffing brings a smile and skip in her step to tasks as seemingly simple as reuniting patients with lost belongings, because she understands how important a smile and communicating a sense of personal investment in your work can be to others.
Griffing says,"I don’t have time to be depressed. I refuse to be depressed. I don’t have time to be sad, because I’m having too much fun being happy, You work every day. You have to think and solve problems every day. That ol' gray matter still works."
She makes enough money now to live a comfortable life in nearby Orinda, enjoying gardening, jazz and coming to work.
She said,"When I started here, I thought I was making such a lot of money, but I think I was making about $120 a month."
Will she ever stop working?
Griffing said that she does not plan to retire and hopes to work at least another four years so that she can make it to 75 years with the hospital.
She continues, smiling,"I will retire when they push me out the door or carry me out in a box. End of story."