Sunday, June 15, 2008

Long Term Career

I had a note from a friend - well, more of an acquaintance - tonight, saying she was honored at a national convention recently for being in her position for more than 25 years. She was questioning whether or not that was a good thing. I'm not sure, myself.

Being in a job for a long time means you have a depth of knowledge a newcomer just can't profess. But someone new to the job comes in with the idea that anything is possible. They're not bound by the awareness of what hasn't worked in the past. That's especially true for people starting in a completely different field who are learning from the ground up and can incorporate information from their previous careers. But, they also have to learn the basics.

I've been in both positions - staying in a job for a long time, and being new to a field and completely clueless. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

I guess, to some degree, it comes down to the approach of the business. Do you want to stay the course or find new ways of doing things?

If it's a place where innovation is desired, it's worth the cost of the newbies learning what they're doing. They'll bring a fresh perspective. They'll experiment. They'll bring in ideas from other fields where they've worked. If it's a business where keeping the status quo is desirable then you want to hang onto those employees who will finish out their careers with your company. They have the knowledge. They can do most of the job by rote. They will do what they do well for years to come.

It's interesting to think about.
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