This week I’m celebrating 20 years anniversary with my company. I’ve mentioned before that I oversee a department for an IT operations team. Wow, where has the time gone? 20 years, or 7,300 days, or 175,200 hours, or 10,512,000 minutes, any way you look at it, it’s a long time. A typically work week for me is 40 hours or 2080 per year. That’s 41,600 hours spent at my job so far. There have been some vacations over the years and some 20 hours days too. I have been promoted four times over those 20 years and the number I like the best is the 757% increase my salary has seen over that time. IT was not my first choice, I had a real interest in television production and film in High School and College. I really hoped to work in Hollywood. I have written several screenplays and for a time had an agent.
I settled in on a technical role that still deals with streaming media, so I partly filled my goal of working with film. My work is interesting because the technology is always changing, so there is consistent learning and problem-solving. Being in operations and managing a 24/7 team can be taxing over the long hall. Expectations are high in this role with after hours and weekend work often, but the compensation is high which helps balance the time commitment. I have begun to think about how long I’d like to work generally speaking. Certainly, want to base it on financial independence. So I’m beginning to run some numbers, lots of variables to consider giving a family of five. Just hoping the next 20 years are as good as the first 20.
Old School Thinking
I’ve been surrounded by family who has worked for a single company their entire career. My dad worked for the same company for thirty plus years before retiring and collecting his pension. He never had a 401k. I grew up thinking I would do the same. I never really considered changing companies after a few years when I began my career. I have seen the mindset shift first hand as I interview and hire people in my role at my company. I see many resumes of candidates with 2-3 years of work experience with companies before they move on to a new one. In my early days of interviewing and hiring candidates, it was looked down upon to change positions so frequently. The impression was that you were unable to meet the requirements, adapt to changes or get along with co-workers.
Today I may see someone with 5 or 6 companies over a 15 or 20-year span. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median number of years a worker had been with their current employer is 4.6 years. This varied greatly by age the median tenure of workers aged 55 to 64 is 10.4 years more them three times that of workers 25 to 34 which was 3 years. It’s clear times have changed. Younger workers do not fear job hopping. It’s possible the changing jobs frequently can lead to faster career development, and finding better job fulfillment. Many companies have changed their policies and phased out pension, and have added more self managed retirement plans as well as work-space flexibility. Give employees options of working from home more frequently. So it seems like both sides employer and employee are adapting well.
As I reflected on 20 years so far I’m happy with the career choice I have made. I do feel a bit like a dinosaur being with a single company for my entire career. It has provided well for me and my family. It still offers a challenge each and every day. If I ever had to leave for any reason I’m sure I’d be asked when interviewing for my next position why are you leaving now or why did you stay so long? I know if I was interviewing someone with a 20 year position on their resume I’d ask that question.
How long have you been with your current company? How many companies have you worked for over your career?