Longevity and Loyalty: A Thing of the Past

Close your eyes, believe in yourself, and jump!

How many of you have grandparents or even parents who started and finished their careers at the same place? That was how it worked back then: you graduated from high school, attended college (of course this step was optional,) and found a job, made it a career, and retired from that same factory, office, or school 50 or more years later.

This is exactly how my grandpa’s career took shape. He didn’t even graduate from high school (not that I’m saying this is recommended,) and he worked for The Herald Journal (our city’s newspaper) as a copywriter and then editor for 51 years. He retired with full health benefits and an extremely generous pension.

A few decades later, my dad’s career took off a bit differently, but with the same result. He graduated from high school, then college, got a job right away and is still there today, climbing the ranks the corporation defined way back when. He has been with the same company for 31 years– incredible.

Now, both scenarios I’ve described above are almost unheard of. For those of us who have just entered the job market or have only been in it for a few years, we know nothing is forever. We start our job search knowing that we will most likely only spend a few years in that position and then begin looking for something else. It’s just… the “way” these days.

So many people shake their heads at the paradigm shift I describe above. Those who join my parents in their generation wonder why no one looks for careers anymore, they only search for jobs. I think there are two reasons for this:

1) The job market itself has changed. Professionals of my era don’t trust large corporations, or any company for that matter, to take care of them for life. With so many lay offs, downsizes, and outsources, everyone is constantly looking over their shoulders, wondering with each closed door and mandatory meeting if bad news is going to come their way.

2) Just a warning: I may offend some people with this, but here it goes… whether you’ve been working in your position for 1 year or 25 years, I think the work force has found this unwarranted sense of entitlement. People expect things more than they ever did. It’s a mentality of “What have you done for me lately,” and frankly, it makes me incredibly irritated. Whether it’s companies providing lunches, outings, or bonuses, many believe they should receive all kinds of perks for just showing up 40 hours a week. When people don’t feel as though they are “getting enough” out of the company they work for, they start to look elsewhere. And in my opinion, more power to them.

So how are people supposed to overcome this sense of uneasiness and vulnerability? Well, according to 48 Days to the Work You Love, maybe it’s time to “be your own boss.” Now more than ever, there are so many opportunities for individuals to start their own business, and often without much of an investment. For many, they can’t find their true “dream job” within an already existing company’s four walls. They also can’t reach their highest income potential. As Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad says, “The problem with having a job is that it gets int he way of getting rich.”

Is starting your own business scary? Sure it is. But it’s also super exciting. Just think about it: doing what you love, being your own boss, and most appealing of all, being in control! I’m not saying you should quit your job today and give up everything (how little or much that may be,) but this is something you can totally do alongside your current position. Yes, it’s a TON of work and effort at the beginning, but the long-range benefits are sure worth it.

I will clarify all of this by saying I don’t have first-hand experience owning my own business, but I know many people who do, and not one of them ever has complaints about his/her job. And they all look at what they do everyday as a career– not just a short-term position they’re hoping to move up from someday.

In 48 Days to the Work You Love, Dan Miller lists 18 attributes that are key to owning your own business. Here are a few that will really give you an idea of if you have what it takes. If you do, the answer to all of these questions will be a resounding “yes!” And of course, you have to be honest with yourself. Here we go:

1) Are you a self starter? Waiting for opportunity to knock on your door typically leads to settlement. Start bothering the crap out of opportunity to be truly fulfilled.

2) Do you have a high level of confidence and belief in what you are doing? If you don’t, that will shine through. Even if you have the most useful and cost-effective product and/or service to sell, it won’t matter. Perception is everything, and consumers can see right through you.

3) Can you stick with it? Most small businesses fail because the starters don’t know how to hear “no.” That elementary, one-syllable word slows them down or makes them break down all together. It’s difficult not to take it personally, but it running and owning your own business, you must realize for every 1 “yes” you get, you’re going to get 100 “nos” first.

After reading these few qualities you may say, “Well, I answered yes to everything, but I could never start my own business, because there are a million other people out there who probably have the same idea as I do.” Yes, you’re probably right. But out of those 1 million people, you may be the only one who takes a chance, believes in yourself, and actually takes a leap of faith. That’s the difference.


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