When I was growing up my Dad would always recommend that I find a “stable” job I could retire from. “Go to work at big blue or stay with the grocery store and work in their corporate office someday – aim for the company retirement plan, full benefits and stability”, he’d say. Earliest memory of these conversations was around 1988 – doesn’t seem like that long ago. He had personally worked for Exxon, AAA and then became a tenured teacher at a College in Florida where he is now retired. The man worked, essentially, for 3 places in his 70 years as an employee.
In the recruiting world, I have the good fortune of working with clients and candidates who look for a myriad of things when searching for that perfect place to work or the best possible employer. Invariably, we ask our customers, “Do you want someone who has a record of tenure with their employers?”, or, to our candidates, “does a company that has long-tenured employees matter?” In 17 years in the industry, the answer has changed. Today, not as many care – I think.
The US is filled with companies that value tenure and some that even still have pension plans. These companies are extraordinarily rare and when you get the chance to work with them, you do everything you can to hold onto them. Companies like these provide the sort of thing that my Dad wanted me to find – stability.
With a 12 year old son, I find myself suggesting that he start his own business. I will likely advise that he work in as many places as he can early in his working career so that he can figure out what the best business would be for him to start. I want the kid to work his butt off and give everything he possibly can to everyone he works for. He’s certainly not going to fall into the “entitled” category. I hope. Just determine where his passion lies and then give everything to building that.
I recognized recently that I follow the same sort of rule with his enthusiasm for sports – want to try soccer, ok – lacrosse, cool – little league, let’s do it! Here’s the deal, when you start, you work hard for the team and you finish the season. If you have kids who play sports, you know there are plenty of parents pushing their kids to one sport, join a club team and get really good at one sport so they can target a scholarship or maybe just to form the camaraderie with fellow teammates. Do these parents offer the same advice when it comes to work? Not sure, but would love feedback.
The role in which I serve didn’t even exist when my dad first starting working. People also didn’t move around as much – CEO’s may have, but the rest of the team stayed in place for longer and worked for a company until they retired from that company.
By offering opportunities in Austin, Phoenix and Las Vegas, we get a chance to work with companies that ask for people with a background that may include things like an entrepreneurial spirit, tenure, solid educational background or even a team sports mentality. The variety that people look for in their employee’s backgrounds is greater than I’ve ever witnessed – we have seen requirements that are such a combination of skills that the person truly couldn’t exist, yet they are sought after. In other words, follow your passion, be it as the person who played soccer when they were 5 and graduated college on a soccer scholarship or the one who had no clue what you wanted to do, but has worked hard everywhere to see if that role “fits”. In my estimation, tenure does still matter, but what matters far more is that you are working toward something and not just sitting still waiting for someone else to do it for you.