My Dad was a hard working man, as well as the most ethical man I’ve ever known. Simplistic as his life was by modern standards, he never went back on his word to anyone and stood his ground like a mountain for what he believed in. A lot of what I am was because of him. However, when I was 15, I started working for our local small town radio station. There, I was introduced to a man named Ron Frieze.
Ron was the one that took me in tow and ingrained in me that unless you’re independently wealthy and don’t need to work, you better make sure that you contribute more than you cost. What a concept!
That’s as true…and perhaps even MORE true today.
Employees often mislead themselves, assuming they should get to keep their jobs as long as they’re responsible and do good work. There’s even some that think that just because you stick around for a long time, you’re entitled to some sort of special worth to the company. Sorry. Reality bites here, but you are a benefit to your company only when you’re a benefit to your company.
Sure, experience counts. But, maybe not. It depends on whether that experience really makes you worth more to your employer today, or whether it’s lost “market share” because things are changing so much. Salespeople are targeted for this all the time. You’re only as good as your last sale and even if you’ve been with the company for many years, when you stop producing you’re net worth drops quickly.
Now, the “loyalty” issue is a bit stickier. People that have exhibited true devotion over the years – those that have hung in there during the tough times and truly worked it from the heart – well those are points well earned. No question, that’s a real honest virtue and valuable stuff now days.
History can only justify our continued employment so long though. You can only relate to something that happened 5 or 10 years ago for so long. We still need to add value NOW. And don’t confuse LONGEVITY with LOYALTY. Someone who has been on the payroll for years says nothing. You don’t get points for “just putting in your time.”
For sure, it’s your CONTRIBUTION that really counts. Not the hours, days, month or years you put in…or even how busy you are.
We’ve all seen people who manage to stay busy – working very hard at it too – without adding any real value (look at Salespeople again). They make the mistake of thinking that their effort should automatically give them a check. You can certainly respect them for trying, but as in the case of sales reps, you can’t justify keeping them on board. That career they have is built on make-believe.
A better stance that will serve you well is one where you think of terms of being paid for performance – for the value you add – to your team and your organization, rather than for your tenure, best intentions or activity level.
In today’s job market, prove your worth to your organization. Make a difference. Add enough value so everyone sees that something very important would be missing if you walked out the door.
Then we’ll be able to talk again, next year.
Thanks for reading!