This past week, I attended my father's retirement party. This would initially not seem unusual as most people my age have already attended a retirement celebration for one or both of their parents. My father's retirement was a bit different, however, in that he will be 80 years old in a few months and has worked at the same organization for 56 years.
Before you stop reading this column, thinking that your newspaper or magazine's editor let a typographical error slip through, rest assured my statement is correct as written as my father began working with his employer in 1955. He began his career by working in the mailroom and, through diligent and persistent effort, eventually became CEO and Chairman of the Board of the organization.
As I enjoyed my father's retirement event and heard many current and past colleagues share stories and pay tribute to his career, I realized there are several lessons that come out of a pattern of consistency.
In the workplace today, it is customary to change jobs or even switch careers every five to seven years. While this may become necessary due to technological advances and changes in the world economy, it is important to remember there is a power in consistency and longevity that is missed when you move from one track to another.
I'm a firm believer that there are no good or bad jobs. There are simply people who perform their jobs well and others who do not. In any field, you will find the top people succeeding financially and making significant contributions to their communities and humanity. Unfortunately, it is easy to see the grass as greener in another career field and always be climbing over the fence. You may climb two or three rungs up one ladder, simply to climb down and start ascending another ladder. This creates a lot of wasted motion that remains unrewarded and unrecognized.
There are certainly trials and tribulations inherent with staying on the same ladder for over half a century, but I believe the rewards may outweigh the challenges.
Business, culture, and life itself go through inevitable cycles. The longer you stay in one field, the more likely it is that you will have experienced several of these cycles. This gives you an immense advantage over those people who are seeing the storm, challenge, or unusual conditions for the first time.
As you go through your day today, consider the advantages of your current rung on the ladder before you climb down and start over.
Today's the day!
Jim Stovall is a blind man who sees what really matters. After years of reaching out to diverse audiences with his own remarkable history, he turned deep inside. Right to the heart of the values – or 'gifts' – that rest within us all, and the magical transformations that begin once we start to recognize and share these 12 treasures. The universal yet profound insights of his book became the keys that continue to unlock incredible new hope, joy and meaning for individuals, families, schools and public-service organizations throughout the world.
Jim Stovall has overcome blindness to become a national champion Olympic weightlifter, a successful investment broker, entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. He is co-founder and president of the Narrative Television Network, which makes movies and television accessible for our nation's 13 million blind and visually impaired people and their families.
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by email at [email protected]; or on facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor; or call 918-627-1000.