Longtime Employee Counts the Decades; Not the Years
In today’s world, it’s strange to hear someone at their job for 10 years (or even five in some cases). Gone are the days of 30 year careers with the same employer. Most people working today will have several careers before retirement. Lucille Hull is not one of them………………….
On Friday, Hull marked 65 years on the job at Albert Brown, CPAs in Sherman. She began work there on May 12, 1952; Hull was 25 years old.
“I had had a few jobs before coming here,” explained Hull from her office last week. “But none fit like this one; I like numbers and this has turned out for the best.”
According to Hull, she worked at the Rationing Board during WWII as a secretary; as a secretary/bookkeeper at a combination car dealership and service station; and an assistant bookkeeper at a Goodyear Tire Store: the Cecil Wilson Tire Company. She interviewed at Montgomery Wards for an office position just before Albert Brown, Sr. asked her to join his firm on that fateful day in 1952.
“I didn’t really want to work on Saturday with Wards, so I was glad to go with Albert,” Hull smiled. “But during tax season, I had to work Saturdays and some Sundays, too!”
Hull does accounting work including tax returns for the firm; and has had longtime clients as well. She has had some over 50 years, but there is one special client.
“There is this one man who I have had as a client since the first year; he has been with me on this job all 65 years,” explained Hull. “I’ve done all his tax returns since 1952.”
Hull added that even when he was in the Armed Forces, this client would mail the information to her. At her 50th Anniversary with Albert Brown, he even surprised her from out –of-town by making an appearance.
At age 90 – she recently had a birthday gala – Hull uses a cane to get around, but that doesn’t slow her down when it comes to work and her time at the office.
“What I like the most is the challenge of it all; every day brings something new,” she explained. “It’s different all the time. One day, I might be calling the IRS; or doing bookkeeping work; or gathering information. You just never know.”
After 65 years on the job, you would think that there would be changes in the industry. And Hull confirms that there has been.
“Back in the 1950s, we had to type every return; and we used carbon paper for the mimeograph machine,” recalled Hull. “I had to start over every time I made a mistake, so I slowed my typing way down to get it right the first time.”
Hull remembered that there were only three employees - her and two accountants – in the firm back in those days. The tax returns they did were only two or three pages total.
“Now, the simple ones are 20 pages long,” added Hull. “And there are not many ‘simple’ ones anymore.”
According to Hull, there have been incredible changes in the tax laws since 1952; and computers have changed the way accounting firms do business these days. Even equipment has changed as technology changed over the years.
“We still have one IBM Selectric typewriter for certain work; and we actually have a copier. They make the work so much easier,” concluded Hull.
What is it about the job that keeps Hull coming back day after day?
“I have a reason to get up and do something every day,” she smiled. “It helps give me purpose and I like it.”
In 2017, Albert Brown, Jr. runs ‘the shop’ at age 74. ‘He was only eight years old when I started,’ chided Hull. He continues the firm that his father started all those years ago; and Hull is fine with that. The building was located where Bob Utter Ford is now when Hull began. US Highway 82 did not come through Sherman at that time. Brown, Sr. owned land further north on US 75 (Texoma Parkway today), so it was naturally to relocate when the new highway was built.
“We’ve been here ever since,” said Hull. “This is such a grand place to work.”
Albert Brown, Jr., the young boy who ran around the office when Hull started, now runs the office.
“My family is very blessed to have Lucille as an employee for 65 years,” said Brown. “She is loyal, punctual, courteous to clients, responsive to clients and cares about our clients.”
According to Brown, Hull has something that most employees don’t have simply due to her longevity.
“Lucille has vast knowledge of our client’s business endeavors, which contributes to our understanding of how to serve them. She knows that certain clients are involved in multiple businesses; and she understands the relation ship between these businesses,” explained Brown. “Her long term experience with clients has provided her insights and knowledge that younger employees do not possess. It is amazing that she has worked for us sixty five years.”
Hull doesn’t ask for much; just some challenging work to do and some relationships to cultivate. She works out of a non-descript office with a nameplate showing ‘L. Hull’ works there. Unlike the 50th anniversary, there will be no special celebration for the 65th anniversary. She received a ring at 60 years and was presented with an engraved watch last month. Hull is fine with the non-celebrations.
“We are traditional here; we stand behind our mistakes,” she said. “I like that. It’s very important.”
Hull was born and raised in Rosebud in Central Texas. She graduated from Cameron High School after attending several rural schools. She was strong academically, and excelled in sports as well.
“I’ve been blessed with good health and a strong work ethic,” she added. “I am happy about that.”
Hull has no plans to retire, even at age 90. She may not work every day of the week, but come next tax season, Hull will be right at her desk ready to work. She’s looking forward to that 70th Anniversary.
“I never intended this job to last this long,” said Hull. “But I love this job; I’ve been blessed with a strong mind; I enjoy the work. The Browns have been such good employers; and I’ve made such wonderful friends over the years. It’s been great!”