There was once a time when men and women worked hard day in and day out for 20 years at the same place. Upon retirement they received a gold watch. Or so it may have been. And perhaps it still is for a select few. I met an Uber driver recently that just left his job, after ten years, as a marketing guy to start up his own business. An interesting, LA business where he will a private investigator. I kept thinking of LA Confidential as he told me his story. I shared a bit of my story as well bonding over the fact that we both had left jobs at which we had put in a decade.
What lasts for a decade nowadays? Think about it, most television shows don’t last more than seven years now. When the television show Friends finally ended at its ten year mark during which point we stopped for a second and reflected as to how time had changed their looks and their luck. Law & Order and the original CSI lasted more than ten years each, but the actors that stayed with each for more than a decade were just a handful across both shows.
Derek Jeter, the Yankees longtime team captain and shortstop, played for 20 seasons with the Yankees. he started and ended his baseball career with the Yankees. Such longevity at a job is just unheard of these days. For example, millennials are not expected to stay at the workplace for very long. Rightly or not, they are a generation that is seen as consisting of job hoppers. The general rule of thumb now is that individuals stay two to three years at a job. In part, that is the way to climb up the ladder as well as increase one’s salary. There is also the notion that one needs to keep changing jobs in order to keep trying to reach one’s true authentic self. However, there is also the sense of betrayal when one leaves.
When I decided to leave my job after ten years, I felt sadness, grief, and jubilation. I felt a sense of freedom and wondered what had taken me so long. However, while I went through the stages of grief (in an abbreviated work-related manner), I was made to feel guilty about leaving. Many signaled that they felt betrayed. I was seen as the St Louis Rams when they decided to move to Los Angeles. However, unlike the Rams, I truly put in my time and went beyond the call of duty. I had given it my all. Yet, I became persona non grata. It goto to the point that some people unfriended me on Facebook. How bizarre and unnecessary is that? I have to say, that I actually didn’t even notice at first that I was unfriended. Facebook is not my life but for some people they make a statement through their friending and unfriending. Did the city of St. Louis unfriend the Rams?
The hilarious part of this all, is that my name essentially became that of “she who shall not be named.” I became Voldemort despite essentially being the harry otter that saved their behinds time after time. That’s gratitude for you.
This whole experience got me to realize that friendships in the workplace are often not real and that you truly can’t expect the workplace to really care about you as a whole being. At the end of the day, you are just a cog in the machine. Too bitter? No, not really. That is probably why Millenials just keep moving on. And why shouldn’t they? Although, there is a great feeling when you stay for a while and get to keep accomplishing more and more. It would be grand if people can appreciate you in the moment and wish you well thereafter.
Nowadays, there is also a new trend in television in which some prominent characters are killed of during the first or second season. How many died during the first two seasons of Game of Thrones? We were at first shocked at how quickly some characters were being killed off across the television spectrum but now we expect many characters and actors to just move on.
After left my job that I had for ten years, I went to another place where I lasted about ten months. It is as if I am now my own storm force. I have a new energy about me that I will continue to explore and exploit. I have centered myself in my fierce weather system.
PS…I don’t blame the rams for moving to Los Angeles as I too have ended up there. May LA be the place to become superstars.