Life lessons – 31 years on the ‘job’

Office pic

Lesson one – if you show up every day and do what you are supposed to do, then at least that is a starting point to have some longevity. But that’s no guarantee these days because it is well documented in corporate America that lifetime jobs have become a rarity.

Then again, so have lifetime marriages but somehow, someway I have made it 31 years with that gig too. My wife definitely deserves a medal.

It is much more than just showing up though, it is also knowing if you don’t take control of your own destiny others will and then you pretty much have to accept what you get.

Regardless, both work and the marriage have taken some perseverance, compromise, patience and a little luck.

But is it necessarily a good thing (not the marriage dear, that has been fantastic…:)?

Lesson two – a lot of water has passed under the bridge during this time but it has cultivated a lifetime of stories. There have been a lot of people who have come through the doors at Lanier Upshaw, Inc and along with that comes the highlights and heartbreaks of life.

When I first started, people were allowed to smoke in the break room and there was a roster where each woman had a week’s worth of kitchen duty; walking around the office at the end of the day picking up the coffee cups and any other dishes off the desks.

We also had no women producers at that time.

We had Christmas parties out of town where drinking was expected and then letting people drive home afterwards.

Think that would fly today?

Ultimately you have to be adaptable to change and continue to learn; otherwise, you need to be put out to pasture.

Lesson three – there is no looking back; it’s ok to reflect and reminisce but most of your fork in the road choices have been made and it’s best to continue taking advantage of the opportunities in front of you that you can control.

Whereas it would be ludicrous to think I did it all on my own, ultimately it came down to me to make the decisions that controlled my destiny.

It hasn’t always been a bed of roses, but I always knew nothing was stopping me from making a change when things weren’t going particularly well. Just like a marriage, sometimes it is best just to wait it out.

To summarize There are two schools of thought about the value of longevity. If you are enthused, stay current and bring value to the bottom line then the institutional knowledge you acquire from being somewhere for any length of time can certainly be a positive and should be worth something.

However, I see some in this position who get stale and their value is marginalized and the easy thing to do would be to replace them by bringing in fresh ideas and energy to stir things up; reading between the lines that reads younger and cheaper.

There is some balance to be had in there somewhere and I am sure a middle ground approach can still be profitable for the business.

I have had a few opportunities to explore the other fork in the road but at the end of the day the desire to start over never outweighed the bird in the hand. 

Good or bad? The lifetime employee seems to have worked for me; I guess some souls are a lot more restless but I embody the adage that southerners take root because I have certainly done that.

Y’all come back now, ya heah…..



6 thoughts on “Life lessons – 31 years on the ‘job’

  1. I’ve been in business for myself for 30 years now, and although that’s longevity in terms of self-employment, the journey has been full of constant change, adaptation, forks in the road and challenge. From Olympic coaching to TV broadcasting, from strategic planning for the federal government to business planning for entrepreneurs, and lots of stuff in between, it’s been a roller-coaster of longevity in the wild world of self-employment. And I wouldn’t change it for a thing. It’s been, and continues to be, a chameleon-like journey of reinvention. Cheers! Snowshoes

  2. You’re a better man than I am, Bill. I haven’t been at it quite as long, but the bloom was off the rose for me some time ago. If you can show up every day and smile, that’s the main thing.

    • Oh, there has definitely been some peaks and valleys; if I would have had some options that didn’t require just totally starting over who knows if I would have made it this far.

      Most times however, if I just let things play out they end up working for the best.

  3. I am always surprised by people who automatically assume the tricks that the old dogs use are always worn out. Sometimes the tried and true is what gets you through the rougher spots. Might not be flashy, pretty or get you as much growth as you want but it can keep your head above water and that is not a bad thing.

    • Yes, the ol’ tried and true still has a lot of applicability in my world still today. Sometimes it’s best to keep it real simple, one on one relationships.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s