Does workplace seniority matter? It seems that like a fairy tale, once upon a time it did.
There are as many flavors of job promotion philosophy as there are Baskin-Robbins ice cream, and then some.
Certainly, labor unions may have something to say about it. Aside from any organized labor structure what is the vibe on seniority in the workplace?
Is it a thing, or is it gone?
Let’s get really clear. Whatever organization you work for, it is probably not in business to see that you get a promotion.
Employees are valuable. I’ve written many times about the importance of the human side of work. Workplace culture exists because of the collective psychology of work. It is always based on members of the group. It’s a human thing.
The importance of caring for organization members is vital, yet, can it be taken for granted?
Google doesn’t sell cellular phones because they are in the search engine business.
Dell doesn’t sell PC’s because they are trying to provide value for an accounting software package.
John Deere doesn’t sell new tractors because they are a collector’s item.
It is important for every employee to remember why they are there.
I’m fortunate to speak with many mid-level organization employees. Many of them are frustrated with their career.
My first question often is, “What do you want to do for your career?” And the response often is, “I’m not sure.”
It’s not unusual to not be sure. It is unusual to excel to greater levels when you are not.
In fact, by today’s standards, it may be unusual to keep your current position if you expect a permanent status quo.
Many employees grow stale and stagnate while they expect the organization to take care of them. Yes, years of service matter, and yes, long-term contributions matter.
Yet, the organization is not in business to see to it that there is always a path forward for the employee. The path forward is about business. While these lines may occasionally cross, there typically are no guarantees.
Often the best thing you can do for your career is to figure what you want to do and what matters most for you personally. Then figure out how that knowledge and those skills can provide value to a business.
You may have to re-tool. Gain new skills, repackage yourself, and show a different kind of value.
Just because you have been around for a while, doesn’t mean that it is owed to you.
That is just a fairy tale.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.