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  • September 18, 2015

Tenure Means Trust

Our modern workforce seemingly champions what I call the two-year tech itch. That is to say, it’s in an employee’s best interest to move on from an employer after several well-fought, win-laden years. You’ve put your time in so you’re not a job-hopper, you stand to level up a few K; and maybe you want a loftier title, to start fresh at a new gig. It’s a very common sentiment—as though there is an hourglass cemented to the edge of your standing desk, just ticking away the time left before you wonder, “What am I still doing here?” Decorative Illustration

Fair. Some people seek professional growth where the grass appears greener and the chairs more ergonomic. Or, maybe you recognize a fundamental problem with the place you’re at and feel powerless to change it—or you just don’t want to. Well hell, I understand, you have to make a change. Go forth and prosper. I get it.

But what about the other side of the coin? What about the tenured employee, the one who resists the two-year tech itch and the inundation of recruiter emails. Those that stay for something else, something greater than themselves. Let’s talk about the tenured employee. What does tenure really mean?

Tenure means you’ve grown to know your colleague’s strengths and weaknesses, their quirks and compulsions— and they know yours. You’ve developed a rapport that only time, laughter, and shared experiences can bring.

Tenure means you’re prepared to field the tough client conversations on the fly because you’ve been there before, and you know how to make it better.

Tenure means you’ve invested emotionally. You actively maintain an environment that inspires a similar sentiment among colleagues.

Tenure means welcoming a new person on board, being an ambassador and showing them the ropes, the company culture, the inside jokes.

Tenure means you know the symptoms of when your colleague is having a bad day, and you forgive them for snapping at you.

Tenure means with each new project you create an opportunity to grow professionally and intellectually; learning or trying something new; even if you’ve been there for five years.

Tenure means you see a problem and feel empowered to fix it because you believe in what you helped create.

Tenure means trust, and that is arguably the most valuable currency one can have in the workplace.

Finally, tenure means you recognize something special when you see it, and tenure means you got the green-light to move to Europe for two months and work remote because tenure means trust, and that’s very valuable.*

*I’m writing this from Rome, where I rented an apartment for a month. Next month I’ll live in Paris, then home to Happy Cog, in Philadelphia.

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