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  • Mike Orsini

Job Tenure: Measured Irrelevance


I was recently looking into employee engagement and development within organizations and came across statistics on job tenure. There seems to be an endless supply of statistics on the average length of time people in certain occupations may be with an organization. For example, how long someone in a management position may be in the role, someone in a health occupation, sales occupation, etc.

To me the statistics on job tenure are absolutely meaningless. The length of time someone is in a certain position is in absolutely no way indicative of engagement, productivity, performance, etc. AND it is especially not indicative of the level of overall satisfaction an employee feels in their career choice, in their role or even within their organization.

Job tenure has become a routine exercise and I wonder how many people are actually grateful to receive a (sometimes) meaningless token 'gift of appreciation' to celebrate their job anniversary. Let's compare job tenure to a relationship anniversary. Now, a relationship anniversary may be of great significance if the love being celebrated between two people is more than celebrating that one day. If it is a daily practice where each individual in the relationship is engaged with and grateful for the other, they both communicate clearly and effectively, always strive to be their best for themselves and each other, etc. then the celebration is extremely powerful and meaningful to both individuals. However, I feel as though the relationship anniversary, like a job anniversary, has become a token exercise, where, for a day or an evening, the underlying resentment and bitterness within the relationship (or job) is put aside or 'forgotten' in order to try to enjoy an evening together and, by the next day or a couple of days later things go back as they were. The length of ANY relationship, whether romantic or career-based, has become more highly valued than the individual's personal experience within it. It reminds me of Abraham Lincoln's quote, "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years".

This is a quote to remember and directly applies to both job tenure and relationship anniversaries. Celebrating the number of years in a certain area of your life are meaningless if there is little to no life in those years. This means unless a person is fully invested and committed, and continually strives to do their best in whatever they are involved in then measuring duration may be more of a prison sentence for the mind, body, and/or soul rather than an occasion to celebrate.

Celebrating job tenure and relationship anniversaries can be more than a 'tick-box' exercise. Let us make sure we more fully invest ourselves in the lives we lead and the relationships we have.

As always, Strive To Optimize!

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