|Ten years ago me|
I've thought a lot about what it means to stay with one firm for 10 years, and I know how rare that is in today's job climate. Before this, I was with the first company I worked full-time at for almost six years. I guess that says something about me, that I must prefer some kind of stability, and I'm certain that I do. But in both companies, I worked hard to progress through the ranks, to earn an MBA, to take on more and more than I ever thought possible for myself. That's what I think most people try to do early in their careers though, and I'm no exception to that. But 10 years in one place is still a long time.
Last month, an article in The Atlantic crossed my Twitter feed, entitled "No One Cares That You Quit Your Job." Quit pieces have become an Internet staple, and I've read so many of them over the years, from law and finance to new parents who decide to give up the juggle. A quote from the piece, which was written in response to someone leaving academia (though one can substitute some other industries):
"Here’s the truth: academia is an amazing sector with some of the best features of any job, even if it also has substantial problems. Folks on the way out might feel like they're biting their thumb at something, and those still “stuck” on the inside of this troubled-but-terrific career might feel some welcome-if-temporary solidarity. But after that, it’s just more fodder for legislators, corporations, and the general public to undermine the academy. It helps nobody in the long run.
Why should anyone be impressed that somebody can quit something? Much more impressive is figuring out how to live with it. More staypieces, please."So this is my staypiece. I've stayed as long as I have for a few major reasons, and while it hasn't always been easy (helllloooo, 2008), I'm still living with it. Here's how.
1) The quality of the people. I've worked with the majority of my team for the last seven years, and they are people of great substance. While my bosses (now, actually, co-workers) are demanding and hold me to a very high standard, I respect them a great deal and have learned so much from them. Those high standards have trickled down into my expectations as well, and I've learned that I need to balance those expectations with being an empathetic person, which is a greater challenge than just to demand what one wants.
2) I'm good at what I do. As someone who always had to work really hard at math class, I'm stunned that so much of my life revolves around numbers. I'm still not great at calculating things in my head or recalling facts to the exact degree, but I've found that I'm better at explaining these concepts than I knew. I've done a lot of different things over the last 10 years, and having a wide variety of opportunities has helped me to stay.
3) The flexibility I prize. I've said it before and I'll say it again, being able to work from home one day a week and work adjustable hours has meant the world to me. I know the fear that I might not find the same flexibility elsewhere has held me in place for a while, but I think I'd be able to negotiate that at many other companies today. But it's hard to be a pioneer, and so not having to ask for something so important to me all over again has just been easier.
I know that I'm lucky. I've been well-compensated, and I have great benefits, in addition to the factors I mention above. I never anticipated that I'd be here for 10 years when I started, but it's been a great ride. Here's to all that lies ahead.