Monday, December 14, 2009

Pros & Cons of Being a Lifer

At the Library, I'm considered a "lifer." It's not that I plan to work here the rest of my, it just seems (to me and to everyone else) that I've already been here a lifetime.

I've been at the Library for more than 14 years. Most of my friends have worked several places by now, so it's a little strange to have such a track record at my age. Sticking with the same organization for this long has its benefits and its drawbacks.

3 Benefits of Being a Long Term Employee
  1. People Trust You.
    It can be difficult to earn widespread trust in an organization. If you stick it out, you'll find often your internal years of service count for more than the same amount of experience somewhere else.

  2. You Can Work the System.
    It can take years to figure out the corporate culture at a new place. Once you have it down, you can really get things done. You know exactly who to talk to, when to ask for things, and who you need on board to push through new ideas.

  3. You're More Insightful.
    When you really know a place, it gives so much context to the way you think about your job. Intimate knowledge of the organizational history means your ideas are developed within the landscape they will be executed.
3 Drawbacks of Being a Long Term Employee
  1. You Get Comfortable in the Box.
    When you are new, it's easy to "think outside the box" because you don't know where that box is yet. After a decade of nos, it's easy to start pitching yes ideas instead of the best ideas.

  2. You Become One of Them.
    How quickly you go from one of us to one of them. If you stay long enough, eventually you will realize you've become "the man" whatever that means for your organization. It's kind of creepy at first. You get over it, or you leave.

  3. One Word: Burnout.
    I've suffered more than one bout of burnout in my 14-year career. The outcome is not always a bad thing (burnout has pushed me to earn my APR, be involved in my professional organization, give presentations and ask for a promotion), but it makes for a sucky couple months while you work through it.

1 comment:

Chad said...

I haven't been at the Library that long, but I have had my church job for 1o years. I completely agree with you!