I have had the same employer for more than 33 years. (Crazy, right?) I feel like I have to phrase that really carefully. I can’t say I’ve worked at Coates Kokes that long (I’ve been through 3 name changes). I can’t say I’ve worked at the same place (5 different offices). And I can’t say I’ve had the same job. I’ve had…well, I don’t know how many jobs/titles I’ve had here, but it’s a lot (receptionist to partner and VP of Ops, however many that is). How did I manage to stay with one employer so long? I suppose there are as many reasons as “hats” I’ve worn. Or maybe there’s just one…I love to learn. And 33 years has offered plenty of time for some amazing opportunities to learn, grow and try things I never imagined I’d get to (or have to…cockroach, men’s restroom, enough said) do. At one time or another, I’ve had the opportunity to contribute at least a little something to every department in this agency. Yep, I even wrote a line of copy once. (What?! Bookkeepers can too write copy!) I know how lucky I am to be able to say this has never been, and will never be, just a job. That says something about me, but it also says something about this place that has turned out to be my place.
For those who may be interested in keeping your employees around for, say, 33+ years, consider asking them what might make their workplace matter as much to them as they matter to their workplace. We all come from different places and we’re all motivated by different things. Ask the question. When and where you can, act on the answer. Surprising things might happen for your employees, your company and for you.
For those of you looking for the right place or hoping where you’re at can become your place, I would suggest this…even if you’re not quite sure of the rules and you’re pretty sure you don’t have the perfect skill set to play the game, just show up for your team. Do the best you can, learn as much as you can from your teammates as well as the experience, and have fun. You never know what cool and unexpected things might come from it. Wow! I never would have expected I could, or would, use a sports analogy for my career. Learned something today? Check.