“Vaughn, have you never thought of retiring?” If I had to count the number of times I’ve been asked that question, I’d run out of fingers. My reply? No, not as long as I can keep doing my job.
My name is Vaughn Bridges and this is the story of my life at CMP. It’s a story that goes back over more than five decades, when I decided to have a family and start my professional career at Central Maine Power. Nowadays, I have five children, several grandchildren and a wonderful wife. I’m also the most senior employee in my company.
Things have changed a lot in my 50 years at CMP. I never fail to be amazed when I look back and realize how easy people have it these days. To give you an idea, back in the day, the monthly bills to the customers were calculated by hand and written on paper. Not only that, the Rockland and Bucksport offices shared the calculator, so somebody had to take the calculator to Bucksport so that they could do their bills. Nowadays everything is much more straightforward, and it’s marvelous to have witnessed all the changes that have come about from the new technology that as come along in these last 53 years.
It was the year 1958 when I started working as a meter-reader apprentice and since then, although I’ve changed jobs and even areas of work, my work ethic has always been the same: to get up with a smile every day of my life, because I believe that having a job and the opportunity to work is a real privilege. Best of all, my family has supported me every step of the way, including the more difficult times when I had to be away from home working many hours after a big storm.
I often worked two or three jobs at the same time, and for several years, I worked as a janitor at the Bucksport office. It was the best job I ever had. In those days, I earned 20 dollars a week and I supplied the materials. It was a job that nobody wanted to do, but I loved it and now it’s one of my best memories. These offices were used as a training center and I was always proud that the auditors said it was the best managed office in the whole company.
I was very sorry to see Bucksport close, but I’ve enjoyed by work at the Belfast Service Center since I was transferred here. This is where I started installing and testing single-phase and poly-phase meters, and I soon became a first-class meter tester/installer. In 1999, I took my current job as second-class service worker. My co-workers here in Belfast are like a second family. We’ve always worked as a team and we’re very close despite the various corporate reshuffles and mergers that we’ve been through.
If I had to reveal the secret of these 53 years working at Central Maine Power, the answer would be that I like my job, I like what I do, and I like the people around me. Those are the reasons why so many years later, I’m still getting up with a smile every morning and why I have no plans to retire. When I can no longer do my job and someone has to carry me around, I guess then my time here will be over. Until then, I’m going to keep going.