Walking the Cat . . .

Because life's kinda like that . . .

Decisions, decisions . . .

with 4 comments

“Why did you stay so long?” the interviewer asked, looking up from my resume.  It wasn’t a question I was prepared for.  I’d spent several hours the night before going over possible questions and answers in preparation for the interview.  Why had I stayed so long in those jobs?  I enjoyed the work.  The money wasn’t astronomical but it was sufficient to my needs.  The benefit package was excellent; as it turned out, I needed the benefits more than the money.   Besides, to my way of thinking I hadn’t been there “so long”; ten years at one job, twelve at the other.

The interviewer looked at me expectantly.  “I enjoyed the work.  The money and benfits were good.  I really didn’t see any reason or need to change jobs,” I said.  I had heard or read somewhere, probably one of the trade magazines, that restaurant chefs usually changed locations every two or three years.  From a professional standpoint it was likely a prudent thing to do; the goal of most professional chefs being to open their own restaurant.  Banks and finance companies, on the other hand, didn’t share that particular view; a “job-hopper” was a poor risk, not likely to maintain a steady payment (or repayment) schedule and, therefore, not likely to receive a loan or car financing.  I didn’t say any of those things.

The interviewer asked one or two “softball” questions, easily answered and, after a few more minutes, the interview ended with the usual comments; “We have several other candidates to interview.”  “You should hear something by the end of next week.”  “Thank you for coming in.”  I had a good feeling about the interview and felt as though I had a really good chance of being offered the position.  But after not hearing anything for about ten days, I began to worry.  I called the company and asked about the status of my application.  “I’m sorry.  The position has been filled.”  I was disappointed but not crushed.  I still had other options to explore.

There was a time, not too long ago it seems, when longevity in the workplace was commonplace; workers with years of seniority and the skills that went with those years were valued and entrusted with passing those skills on to those who would take their places.  No longer.  Businesses are now run on “lean” models that change every year or two because change is seen as a good thing, (change for the sake of change?) and the skills associated with the former model don’t fit with the new.  So what was once valued is now suspect and the long time employee is seen not as an asset but a liability, unable or unwilling to change with the times. 

The good news in all this is, it’s not too late to change, to adapt to this new environment.  We can acquire, not necessarily “new” skills but enhanced skills.  Take some computer courses if that’s what’s needed, brush up on the math or learn a new language.  Take a part-time job to keep your existing skills sharp.  By adding to your skills sets, enhancing those skills you already possess, you “repackage” yourself for a new business reality.  Whatever course you choose to follow, it’s up to you to decide.  It isn’t going to be easy.  In fact, it’s going to be hard, damned hard, and probably scary, in the beginning.  But then you’ve never been one to back down from a challenge.  So, what’s it gonna be?  You decide.

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Written by stevewthomas

July 20, 2011 at 11:20 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Just Brilliant.
    There’s a difference between ten years of experience and doing the same thing the same way for ten years.

    - m

    July 21, 2011 at 6:29 am

    • Too true, too true . . .The only thing you learn doing the same thing, the same way, everyday is to follow orders. In business they call that “quality control”. I guess too many businesses have tried to emulate the “MacDonald’s School of Business”.
      Creativity, however much it’s touted, is really not nurtured in the vast majority of businesses.

      stevewthomas

      July 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm

  2. Hey Dad!

    10 years of experience is 10 years of seeing a lot of people come and go. 10 years of meeting people with skills and ideas to pass along. It’s 10 years of learning. There are a lot of careers that don’t afford the average Joe or Jane 10 years of learning and growth without having to “move on”. Sometimes you can stay with the same career, but just change where you are. Other times, that’s just not going to work. If only employers could see the value in an employee wiling to stay and learn and contribute, instead of chasing the next big payday…

    SC Thomas-Faler

    July 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    • Sara, nice to hear from you, darling. . .Too true, too true. Longevity is not something most businesses care to nurture among their employees. And those who have learned and moved on are seen more as
      a liability than an asset. One of the things I managed to learn in my years in the foodservice business; it takes as long to “unlearn” something as it does to teach someone something new. The time “unteaching”
      a worker results in lowered productivity and, hence, lower profit. Better to hire a neophyte and train him the way you want than “untrain” and retrain an experienced employee.

      stevewthomas

      July 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm


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