Sklover & Company, LLC
Serving Executives, Professionals and Senior Managers
10. Career Longevity
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”
– Satchel Paige
Career Longevity is not a matter of working longer. We define “career longevity” as working for as long as you want, need, or prefer. Some are more successful at it than others. How do those who are more successful extend their career longevity?
A. Greater Career Longevity is Achievable.
People are living longer, and are physically and cognitively capable of working longer, too. Some prefer to work longer for their own reasons; others need to. At the same time, other factors, including age discrimination and employer headcount cost pressures, make it harder for older employees to sustain careers into their later years. If greater Career Longevity is your goal, know that it is achievable.
B. Practical and Tactical Steps.
There are many practical and tactical steps that can help you achieve career longevity. Here are three steps many use to do so:
1. Tech Comfort: Keep yourself as “tech savvy” as possible through courses, seminars and even YouTube. One older client takes regular “lessons” from a college-age neighbor. No matter your organization, tech is here to stay. Being perceived as “tech comfortable” is career-positive; being perceived as “tech helpless” is career-negative. Sure, it’s frustrating, but others do it to their advantage, and you can do so, too.
2. Physical Appearance: Sorry to sound shallow, but appearance means something, and more so as you age. Better that you’re viewed as vital, alert and energetic than their opposites. Attention to healthy lifestyle, your body’s need for healthy food, exercise and sleep, gets more important the older you get. Don’t see age as a handicap, but rather a challenge.
3. Adjust Your Reading Lists: There are more newsletters, magazines and online media than ever before devoted to this very topic. Sample a few; in them, you are bound to find more practical pointers than you can imagine. Every step helps.
These tactical/practical steps abound. Many of your colleagues are utilizing them today; you need to do so, too.
C. Strategic navigating is the key to Career Longevity.
A “strategy” is a coherent plan of action designed to achieve a defined goal. Here are four common career longevity strategies:
1. Proximity to Revenue Generation: However and whenever you can, navigate yourself to revenue-producing efforts, functions and groups at work. Revenue to a business is like oxygen to a person: necessary for survival. Contrariwise, being viewed as aligned only with “cost centers” is like walking around with a target on your back.
2. Recognition as a Thought Leader: We all need to keep a sharp eye on industry and societal trends. Look beyond the horizon for the “next big wave” in your industry. Is that development in your business a rocket ship to success, or a freight train barreling toward failure for your company. Be known as someone with insights into the difference, and ideas on how best to adapt.
3. Create Value to Your Employer’s Reputation: Engage yourself in industry-wide activities as a “reputation enhancer” for your company. Being present or quoted in media can be the thing that reduces your chances of a being a target of a downsizer’s axe, and far more likely to find something new if it does take place.
4. Engagement in Longer-Term Projects: However, you can, involve yourself in longer-term projects, planning committees, and critical company needs, so that when decision-makers make “headcount reduction” decisions, you are considered “untouchable.”
D. Career Longevity does not equate with “Employed Longer.”
There are many “working options” beyond employment to be considered:
1. Glidepath Design: The concept of “Glidepath,” what some call “Gradual Retirement,” is key: there are many roles one can develop for oneself that are not dependent on your employer being kind, fair, reasonable or appreciative toward you: examples include contract employee, independent consultant, or vendor of services. Indeed, many believe that this is the precise direction employers want to go in their own human capital management strategies. There are many vital roles that need filling, potentially with less stress, more meaning, and even greater career security for you.
2. Experience Sells: Play your strongest card: experience. In turbulent times, we all want a steady hand at the ship’s helm, or at least next to the less-experienced captain. Sell yourself that way, and you may be busier than ever. Despite the common wisdom, in some circumstances, youthful inexperience definitely has its disadvantages.
3. Networking Always Helps: Getting to know what others who have “retired” from your company and industry may have done is the first place to start, so long as you focus your interactions to those with a positive mindset. You don’t have to learn everything yourself, or make all of the mistakes; learn from others who have done so already. Don’t give in to the common temptation to go-it-alone; rather, network like there is no tomorrow.
It is encouraging that many employers now view their longer term employees as valuable assets to redeploy, not as “used equipment” to be discarded. But don’t forget that employers will always act on their own interests, not necessarily yours. You cannot realistically expect or depend on your employer to take care of your need for Career Longevity; it is something that you need to do for yourself, however suits you best, and keeps you “young.”
We offer confidential telephone consultations as a first, preliminary step in providing counsel to those with workplace or career problems or opportunities. They are available days, evenings and weekends, depending upon urgency. For those with questions related to matters on which we were retained and worked with them during the preceding 12 months, brief discussions, without review of new documents, are provided without charge. For others, our Schedule of Consultation Fees can be found on our About page. Consultation arrangements can be made with Ms. Vanessa Mustapha or Ms. Phyllis Granger at 212.757.5000, or by email to Vanessa@ExecutiveLaw.com or Phyllis@ExecutiveLaw.com.
(If you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions about these Insights, please consider sharing them with us, by forwarding them to us at Vanessa@ExecutiveLaw.com. Thank you, in advance.)
© Copyright 2020 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved and Strictly Enforced.
1. Your Unique Career Brand
“Either you are distinct, or you will become extinct.”
– Tom Peters
We are enthusiasts when it comes to the practice and pursuit of branding and, of course, when it comes to employment, the notion of “career branding.”
Each of us has a unique personal brand, namely what others think of when they think of us. It is their sum total view of what we offer the world, our value to others, and to our clients, customers, employers and colleagues. Your brand precedes you, empowers you, and follows you, wherever you go.
Your “career brand” is what your present employer and all potential employers think of your potential value to them, and thus what they need to offer you in return for your working for them. Your knowledge, skills, relations and reputation have taken a great deal of time and effort to learn, acquire, and develop, and is a reflection of your personality, character and the standards you have set for yourself.
You create your brand each and every day, whether you know it or not. If you don’t proactively create and enhance your career brand, you leave that critical task to luck and chance, or worse, permit others to define it for you.
The employment marketplace is an increasingly competitive place. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has written “Good enough is no longer good enough.” We could not agree more. If you don’t have a distinctive, attractive, outstanding career brand, in the employment marketplace you are likely perceived as little more than an easily replaceable commodity.
Most of our clients have devoted and continue to devote significant effort and imagination to creation and enhancement of their own, distinctive career brand, and enjoy the multiple and varied “fruits” of their efforts. Their experiences are as inspiring to us as they are rewarding for them, in the broadest sense and spirit of those two words.
- Your Unique Career Brand
- Managing Employment Risks
- The Recruitment Phase
- The Negotiation Phase
- Equity “Trap Doors”
- Climbing the Ladder
- If Difficulties, Disputes or Allegations Arise
- Navigating Employment Departures
- Continuing Restrictions
- Extending Career Longevity