Thanks to a longtime employee - Barbara Dages
“How are you?” Barbara asks.
You have just opened the door to the ARAMCO offices on a Monday morning. A warm-eyed woman is looking up from her desk, and you are surprised. The office door has the same heft it did on Friday, the fluorescent lights are the same hue of white, and the tiles on the floor are the same beige granite. The office windows too look out onto the same asphalt sea, which always hides behind the same small airport. And, yet her big, blue eyes wrap the first moments of work with kindness — gossamer, furtive, and substantial. That startles you out of idly conjuring checklists like you were a moment ago while you climbed the building’s interior stairwell. You smile back to her.
“I’m fine, Barbara. How was your weekend?”
The banter happens for so brief a moment, and it happens to most all of us on Monday mornings. Our weekends are over, and work must resume. We do this entirely better, and with more warmth in our hearts, because Barbara receives us daily. She has been with The ARAMCO Group for 10 years.
A previous employee called her one-day, so long ago, and asked, “Can you answer the phones here?”
Barbara had been out of the workforce for 14 years prior to that phone call. The changes in personal computing between the late 1980s and the early 2000s stood before her like a chasm she had to pole vault over alone, and she was concerned she would stumble while trying to make the jump. This new job would require her to be a commuter on the information superhighway, just like the rest of us. She did not want to embarrass herself.
Barbara went through a long interview process with The ARAMCO Group one decade ago. Its duration scared her. Unnerving premonitions of rejection sat in her stomach like sacks of gravel during the periods between phone calls.
Even if she got the job all that waited for her was a mountain’s worth of computer competency that needed to be climbed.
She got the job, and she started answering phones, filing, and ordering supplies. Her roles now include:
- Quality control
- Vendor control
- Monitoring the general email addresses
- Filing accounts payable
- Accounting support
- Arranging travel
- Arranging conferences for senior staff
- Handling mail
- Renewing business licenses
- Assisting company officers with annual reviews and recertifications of their licenses
- Answering the phones
She shared two of her most memorable moments in the ARAMCO offices:
First, she recalls the day in which computers no longer scared her; and second, she remembers the day she evacuated the office one year ago in May 2014. The Carlsbad/Aviara fires were blackening out the sky and she was part of the core group that made sure that the ARAMCO team was safe. She calls to mind how she hoped and prayed the staff and office would be unhurt.
Thank you, Barbara. Thank you for all of it. Thank you for sticking with us for all these years. We really appreciate you, your work, and the love that you bring to this office. Cheers to you.
The ARAMCO Team