My family recently had a party to celebrate my mom’s 82nd birthday. When a person lives that long you manage to get a lot of people gathered around the table including, of course, children and grandchildren. There is a continuity that is undeniable in these massive gatherings, a rare opportunity to see multiple generations in action.
After dinner the topic of conversation turned to work when one of the partygoers, a 62 year old, finally got a job that was 2 universities and 6 years in the making. Woefully underemployed and newly educated, she was determined to pursue a better future. Oh, she had to make many adjustments along the way, but she persevered to that better future.
Perseverance is the word of the day we all exclaimed – congratulations! People were exuberant at the news, each working generation whether they were in their 20’s 30’s 40’ 50’s and yes even 60’s were looking for places that provided a sense of purpose. Perhaps, it was the first big job, the next promotion, but each was trying to avoid the abyss between what the CEO says and the manager does.
The discussion turned to how many people started with one company that became another. Several mergers later, switching logos, job titles and everything in between, who would survive another round of layoffs, was anybody advancing? Did we all need to become software engineers and get a job at Google? ‘When will it end?” Said one of the “thirty- somethings” “When do we all go out into to the streets and protest!” “When will companies finally hire enough people where we can go home and have a life? “
Of course the 82 year old woman who had been an executive at Carlson Companies in the ‘60’s, was president of the first cable company in Minnesota and owner of a real estate company and very outspoken on matters of commerce, said: “I was born in 1929, the year of the first major stock market crash, the beginning of the Great Depression. What I have learned in countless encounters with uncertainty throughout my life is: Don’t Quit. I’m not referring to your job. If something is not the way you like, make it your own brand of better, or if you think you can do better somewhere else or running your own show then move on. What I mean is: Don’t Quit You.”
And then, brimming with pride, she celebrated the 62 year old daughter who had taken her advice, who didn’t quit, and was now starting a brand new career.