Your relationship with work: Reinventing yourself
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
For many people, their relationship with their job is like a marriage. They make a thoughtful decision and once it is made, they are in for good or bad. This characteristic is common in older generations, but it is also popping up among younger generations who feel they can and should be the change they want to see.
To keep the relationship fresh, we will spend the third article in this series on your relationship with work discussing the keys to a good work marriage.
The easiest place to find examples of long-term employees are municipalities, school districts and performing arts. While unions and collective bargaining agreements are often at play in these work environments, it is the underlying promise of long-term stability and decent benefits that ties these groups together. And both of those are possible to find in the majority of companies.
First, it is important to realize that while the trend may be to leave your job every two to three years, there are pros and cons to this approach. The often-talked-about pro is to keep relationships fresh (something we talk more about in Part 4 of this series), but the con is both parties have to go through the effort of learning something new. That is why in many cases it is beneficial for both sides to find ways to make it work for a longer period of time.
In my conversations with employees who have worked with organizations for 20 or more years (some as long as 40), they said the same thing my parents and other long-time married couples say: You have to be flexible and willing to try new things. The thing they don't say — but is clear in both cases — is they have made a decision that they are going to make the relationship work regardless of the obstacles thrown in their way.
They also have a great perspective that shows itself as reasonable expectations. For example, they realize there will be ups and downs in the relationship and do not look at jumping ship as an option when they are presented with a challenge. Instead, their first response is to try to find a way to make it work.
They also like what they do. In some cases, it is a passion — like those employees in performing arts and education — but in many cases it is a more down to earth appreciation of their work. For many government employees, they simply find the service they provide is rewarding even if the actual tasks they are performing may be repetitive. These are additional characteristics that distinguish the long-term employee from those who change jobs more frequently.
Keeping a job for a long time is possible. And if it is something that sounds like a relief to you, you can find a way to make it work. Take a look at how you are approaching your day-to-day tasks as well as your attitude toward your current relationship.
Have you let your employer know how much you appreciate them? After all, this relationship is a two-way street. If you want to keep it strong for the long term, take a look at what you are doing and what you can do to make that happen.
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