Long Term Employment is Not Dead

”The report of the death of Long Term Employment has been greatly exaggerated.”

As Mark Twain’s demise was erroneously reported, so, too, is the demise of Long Term Employment and security in the workplace.

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. - Mark Twain

Not to say that there isn’t a hungry workforce looking to climb ladders or new ways of improving ones’ earning potential. However, there are many reports that seem to be a bit over-reactive.

In many of the articles and posts, job stability and security is intertwined with statements regarding career advancement and lack of satisfaction in their present jobs. A mix-up of philosophies and startup-style hubris that is enough to leave you scratching your head…

There’s one story about how awesome it is to have no job security. It speaks of a person who got an MBA but is cashing in on being an Uber driver. Is it always only about the money? Why bother with the MBA (and the costs that follow with all that schooling)? What does that have to do with job security – or lack thereof – anyway?

How about “… Bureau of Labor Statistics show the average (job) tenure is 4.6 years…”  . A more recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (2016)  show a reduction to average job tenure of 4.2 years. However, digging a bit deeper in the summary shows that “…wage and salary workers in the public sector had more than double the median tenure of private-sector employees, 7.7 years…”

43.7 per cent of all statistics are made up on the spot. - Steven Wright

A table related to that BLS report shows the percentage of persons staying with an employer 10 or more years’ increases as age increases.

This is consistent with my experiences in the city. I work in the IT field, a field known for exciting opportunities as well as high turnovers. However, as I mentioned it other posts, it’s fun to keep running and moving and cashing in – until it’s not.

I have an acquaintance that is also in IT in the private sector. He left his nice corporate job to join a startup. The problem is the younger startup crowd had issues with him having to leave “early” to see his kid’s events at school. Or handle child care issues. Or not work every weekend because of ball games. The check was nice, however, the non-tangible cost made him reconsider and go back to the corporate job with more predictable outcomes.

If one was to pursue something like a startup, perhaps they would load up the bank early and then chill out or even retire early, like Mr. Money Mustache.

The people I have worked with in the city came from very interesting careers with other companies or being contract employees with others. But the stability and predictability and long-term outlook is what brought them to city service.

Not that this is a place to hang out – by no means. My team and I work with the latest technologies, educated and interesting business partners, and industry leaders. The skillset and knowledge base rivals that of our private sector counterparts. There still are deadlines to be met, system implementations to be delivered, skill sets to be maintained. However, we get a pension, and we get job security.

Pay – well, maybe the private sector has us beat on that one. But promotion opportunities abound. I have one friend who went “agency hopping” – a method of getting incremental salary increases by taking promotions and jobs in other agencies – and has moved from entry-level project manager to Director of Project Management Office of a large city agency in about 5 years. With nice salary increases along the way.

Even though this is CivilServiceJobNYC.com, let’s visit some of the private sector and their concerns with the lack of obtaining and retaining long term employees.

The Harvard Business Review reports that employers are concerned with the turnover rate and that efforts need to be made to retain good employees. One CPA company was very happy to have an employee there for 50 years, recognizing several benefits, including: Institutional knowledge, demonstrating to clients that they have a stable company, and the vested interest by the employee for continued company success.

Same values for city employees. Institutional knowledge, stability, and continued success.

So, for those looking to be the next Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or Jeff Bezos – go for it – and go full bore. You want to move fast and hard, gaining skills and improving your cash flow exponentially – do it. But don’t justify doing it because “nothing is secure” or “long-term employment no longer exists”. Those of us who keep our feet on the ground and desire that security and stability – I am happy to report – it still exists.

Questions and Comments are welcome here.