You’re smart, or they wouldn’t have hired you.  You’ve read the tea leaves about job and career changes, and you know how frequently they happen.  The head-office people figure you’re probably good for five years.  Then you’ll either bolt…or could be they’ll stretch you out on the chopping block during the next downsizing “harvest.”

Almost all of your other entering “classmates” in this year’s crop of new hires will be playing exactly the same hop-to-happiness game.

The truth is somewhat different.  Organizations have to be agile enough to change, but they also crave continuity.  While they expect a huge portion of the organization to turn over rapidly, headquarters also yearns for those stable human pillars who anchor cultural values.

So, imagine what you think “company career” is for you rather than dancing from job to job.  What if you become an “I’m-sticking-around” contrarian?  You may need to “announce” your intentions with an unusual accent:

  • “If you need someone to babysit new recruits and help orient them to the company, I’m available.”
  • “You say you can’t do my annual review on time?  I can wait.  I know I can count on you to be fair.”
  • “What can I do to make your job easier?  Boss, what parts of your job description would be easy for you to delegate to me?
  • “Are there confrontational aspects of your job that would just as soon someone else handle for you?”
  • “I know you have a do-or-die presentation tomorrow.  I’m great at speech bubbles and custom animations.  How can I PowerPoint you to–in Star Trek terms–‘go where no one has gone before’?”

Some might write off this overly helpful attitude as being too subservient at best.  But hold the phone:

  • Will you likely be wrenching your family through a transfer in five years?
  • Do you have a passion for the stable life or prefer that of today’s career nomad?
  • If you stick around, are your odds better for making the next decisions about who sticks around in the inevitable next personal cut…or for being one of the decisions?

Mackay’s Moral: Most people are willing to meet each other halfway; trouble is, most people are pretty poor judges of distance

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