Friday, January 15, 2021

When your resumé is longer than your arm

If you visit my LinkedIn profile (which you're welcome to do if you're desperately bored and lack a viable alternative activity), you will find the "Experience" section there to be rather lengthy.

Part of this stems from the simple fact that I have been in the full-time workforce for nearly 30 years, and one is bound to rack up some experience in that time.

More to the point, though, I've worked for eight different organizations since 1991, and held more than one position within a few of them.

While this is not uncommon in today's economy, I've always been deathly afraid of being labeled a "job hopper," which I most certainly do not consider myself to be.

The sole reason I have had so many different jobs in my career is a very practical one: Since the mid-90s, I've been the sole source of income for my family of seven people. When you are in that role, as much as you want to count "professional growth" as a driver for seeking a new job, your primary motivation is a larger paycheck.

It's as simple as that. Until recently, I've always sought out higher salaries in order to provide for my wife and children. Now, with two of the kids out of the house and two more within a few years of following suit, income is not the catalyst it once was.

Don't get me wrong, I want to save up as much for retirement as I can. But for the first time in my career, I have no need to constantly calculate the next big career move.

Every day I report to work at Vitamix sets a new record for me in terms of time spent with one company. I have happily served as the organization's Director of Communications since May 13, 2013, which means I'm at 7½ years and counting.

If I have my way, I will work there another 15 years or more.

I recognize, however, that it's not entirely up to me. The company has a lofty purpose and corporate mission it seeks to fulfill, and if I'm not constantly contributing fresh ideas toward achieving strategic goals and objectives, I will be shown the door.

This sort of involuntary separation has happened once in my career, and the trauma of it is still fresh. "Trauma" may seem like an overblown word choice, but I don't know how else to describe it. Losing your job unexpectedly is a tough thing for anyone to deal with, and I never, ever want to go through it again.

In any event, I have great admiration for people like my brother-in-law Dave, who has worked for the Swagelok Company here in suburban Cleveland for 31 years. Those who have the skill and tenacity to stick with a single organization that long are to be commended, as far as I'm concerned.

Seriously, if I'm so blessed as to get to 10 years with Vitamix, I think it will be cause for a national celebration. Check with me in the spring of 2023. If I'm still there, it will be green smoothies for everyone!

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