Have you ever wondered how our parents, aunts and uncles ever managed and still manage to work for the same employer for like more than 10 years and they are still waking up at four to beat the traffic and get to the office by eight a.m.? And if any of them sat you down for the tale of “back when I first started working” you will shake your head and wonder how they can even begin to relive their hey days with the same employer who is now looking for someone with your skills. The one thing that consistently repeats itself is that when they were employed, their families being well taken care of was the most elementary. Career development, profession, and career paths were as much foreign concepts as computers and mobile phones. In trying to share on the principles that govern loyalty for long employment, please pardon my concentration on the 21st century employee.
So how do people manage to work for such long durations for the same employer in the current day and age without getting bored with the jobs they hold?
No one in this job market and business environment will ever motivate you. They may create environments that encourage you to be motivated but they sure won’t say, “Hi, my name is Jared, and I am here to motivate you!” Motivation is like a bonfire. A woodcutter may provide the wood and the matchbox to light it, but if the one who intends to get warmed by it does not bother to gather the wood and strike the match, then the fire will not be lit. No matter how long he/ she looks at it.
Same thing happens with employment. Your employer may offer the right perks in addition to your salary, you may have heavenly ergonomics to work around, you may have all the resources but if you do not have an interest in the job and you do not use your talents and abilities, that job will always be a heavy burden to bear. Self motivation to a great extent pegs itself on creating and seizing the opportunities to apply your knowledge, skills, talents and creativity to deal with interesting, important problems, issues and situations as and when they arise. Such an employee will remain in their current organization even when their skills and competencies are in high demand elsewhere.
Ambassadors for their companies
Years back, once or twice while under employment I asked myself, “why should I give up so much of myself for this company? Does it belong to my father so that I can easily justify the hard work and long hours?” Often, at night, I would go to bed feeling guilty because of that question but sometimes we all feel like that. Yes, even the loyal employees. What differentiates them though, is their ability to get over it and get moving on to accomplishing the next task with fire and passion. There is no greater feeling than knowing you have given it your best and unless one has a vendetta against you, there is no ground available for claims of lack of dedication. Doesn’t it do you proud to walk on the streets and see your handiwork in your company’s products? You always make sure that those around you know that you deal with that product. And if you are asked to dress to represent your company, you would gladly take your best suit out of the wardrobe to be seen to work for that company. You will tell a company’s ambassador when he or she begins with words like, “At my company, we …” And you would be
forgiven to think that they hold a high office in the company!
Matured mentality of Office is Home
If you thought it is difficult to cultivate a culture of self-motivation, wait till you get to the level of cultivating the mentality that your office or place of work is your home!
And this is a major component to you being a loyal employee such that you can work for eight to ten years or more without suffering burnouts that have major irreversible effects on your life. The trick is to find the emotional connection to your company by asking yourself questions such as “What’s important about the work I do?”, “What can I do to make my workplace a little better for me?”, What do I love doing, what do I have passion for? What is it that I can continue to do joyfully even in the absence of a pay slip? If you do this exercise as truthfully as possible,
you will reveal things about yourself that you didn’t even know.
If the answers are mostly money related with little, if any, connection with passion and drive, then consider some change in your mind set. Once you have realized where your passion lies, align your actions with the direction of the overall company. Once you tap and connect with this, you will see yourself going places just as the company does.
Being the change you want to see
There is nothing as challenging as leading by example; nevertheless, in a corporate culture that values experience and encourages growth from within, this can and should be a very fruitful endeavor for the individual. Often in change management classes, there has always been a reflective thought of “be the change that you want to see”. Long Term employees will witness and shape unforeseen changes in the organization’s mission to its clients, and
resources and processes of business. Based on the change processes adopted in the company, these employees will help the desired change take root. But it doesn’t happen overnight, neither does it happen successfully based on only the individual’s commitment. You have to see the organization through its owners’ eyes and embrace it.
The concept of initiative is what stands out the most here and for sure if it is appreciated and tapped into by management of a company, then it shall stay there, within that company for a long time, without suffering
Wisdom is the only true friend to embrace
A loyal employee is usually a wise person. He/ she is able to read between the lines, pick out the relevant data and leave the useless. They are able to read the signals sent out by their employers and thus they are able to know if they have a future in the company or not. To illustrate the importance of wisdom in our daily lives, look at Israel’s King Solomon who is reputed to be the wisest man to ever walk the face of the earth. With all the wisdom and wealth that he had, he is quoted as saying, “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you” and in another phrase he said “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no
desire to get wisdom?”
Whether employed or retired or self-employed, wisdom cannot be too much.
Not for love of the money
Some very harsh reality to deal with: No one will ever employ you to make you rich.
Unfortunately, a lot of us might get into the trap of thinking our future is in the company and we
refuse to look elsewhere in terms of income generation. We then get to retirement age in the same company and even if a bigger opportunity were to arise in another place, we would not be eligible for that. Imagine being employed as a caretaker and due to advancement in years you cannot even be appointed as Assistant Security Manager of your company. How sad! Even if you choose to remain with the same employer, sharpen your skills and fight to climb the corporate ladder so that even if you retire in the same company, it will be at levels higher than you were initially employed.