When I talked to my friend after my layoff, she told me about something her father said when he retired. He gave countless hours to make the companies he worked for successful. He gave a lot of himself and spent a lot of time on the road. Upon his retirement, he reflected about how most of the companies were no longer in business.
Now this thought can really mess with your mind if you let it. I was born at the end of the baby boomer generation. We were taught loyalty – brand and company. We created the workaholics and the superwomen. I was taught you work hard, do whatever it takes, give extra and in return you get security. Security gave way to profitability and growth. (It’s all very interesting if you research the Veterans, the Baby Boomers, and Generations X, Y, Z. It really does help you understand the dynamic of the workplace.)
As I am starting a new job search, I look back at all the places I have worked in my career. Some of them still exist, of course, such as the Air Force. But most companies have been bought out, gone out of business, realigned, downsized, resized or gone bankrupt. I am fighting how much more I am willing to give companies that still may not outlast me! Of course I need a job and will continue the search, but it makes you stop and think. It makes you question your motives and think about the quality of your life.
Unfortunately in our economy, having a job still almost always equals having health care. That’s a big one. One you can’t get away from. It’s the hook that keeps people like me from just retiring early. Ahhhh, wouldn’t that be nice.
So, I will continue to put in countless hours going out and trying to sell myself. I will fill out application after application and fight about how to handle the illegal questions. If I leave them blank (which I should) my application may just end up in the round file. I will struggle with how much of my time I give to the work of finding a job and how many pages and pages of documents I fill out in such strange formats that cutting and pasting is not an option.
I hope some of the Generation X, Y and Z’s out there, come to business with fresh ideas where loyalty is balanced between what you give the company and what you give your family.
This thought process also leads me down the road of crafting a new life for myself and daring to believe I can work just as hard for me and not give my essence away. I will still be here at the end of my life. The batting average for the companies I have worked for thus far, not so good.
I’m attracted to stopping and smelling the roses for a change….