4 signs you should retire in your job
Think you’ll be retiring in your current job, at your current company, possibly with your current manager?
…Might be wishful thinking. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people switch jobs an average of 12 times throughout their careers – meaning if you’re not on your 10th+ job, the odds are against you retiring at your current employer.
That’s not a bad thing. I feel quite confident in the assertion that you don’t, in fact, picture your entire career under a single roof. You have big plans! New teams to meet, new managers to impress, new challenges to outsmart.
But maybe you’ve found your perfect fit. Maybe you are one of the few to discover meaning and purpose early on in your career, and no other job can measure up. Amazing! I feel the same way – I regularly tell my manager that he’s stuck with me for life. There’s no shame in knowing what you want.
But the question remains – how do you know if this is it?
1. How often does your work surprise you?
Surprise! Boring work doesn’t keep you coming back for more. The more your work keeps you on your toes, the more you’ll be able to stretch and flex those mental muscles that so relish a little challenge. No one wants to do the same thing day in, day out. Especially not for the rest of their lives.
As I see it, there are three types of work. The type that keeps you up at night with anxious to-do lists; the type you never think about after hours; and the type you are excited to think about. Like a puzzle you left midway – you just need a little more time to figure it out. This is the kind of work that keeps you up at night plotting your next move or excitedly jotting down a new idea. The type of job that keeps you engaged year after year – all the way until retirement.
2. Are you trusted by your manager?
In recruiting it’s well known that people don’t leave jobs – they leave managers. Your manager relationship is the single most important factor in determining your happiness and success at work. If your manager trusts your skills, intuition, and intelligence – if they give you the freedom to do your best work and be your best self – you should think twice before jumping ship.
3. Do you feel like an owner?
Does your job feel like a thing you do, or does it feel like a mission you are proud to fight for? This shift in thinking is critical to an ownership mentality. It’s the difference between doing what’s asked of you, and doing whatever the company needs to succeed. You do your best work because it is your reputation, your pride on the line. In this way of thinking, the company’s success is tied up with your own.
No judgment if your job is simply a way to pay the bills – that’s a perfectly good reason to do what you do. We all have families and obligations and passions and wants. Yet if that’s the case, you shouldn’t hesitate to entertain other opportunities – especially if another job is more lucrative.
4. Are your beliefs aligned with those of your leaders, your peers, your company?
Belief is a funny thing. Hard to define, harder yet to explain. It’s not tangible, it’s not dependent on quarterly earnings. It’s the knowledge that everyone is doing what they think is right for the company and for the community. More importantly, it’s a deep alignment between your own values and priorities and those of your leaders.
You don’t have to work at a humanitarian cause to have this feeling. Not all companies can save orphans or provide clean drinking water or stop malaria. Humanity has a lot of needs, and whether you work for a charity or for a video game company, you need to feel you are doing good for the world.
On a more micro level, it’s important you believe that your managers have your back. That they want what’s in the company’s best interest, without compromising the wellbeing of their team.
And at the core of this whole thing lies your purpose. The belief that your work is helping to elevate and enrich your sense of self.
It’s a lot to ask of a single job – and that’s why most people don’t retire in their current company. But if by some amazing combination of luck and hard work you’ve found the job that checks all your boxes, don’t leave. Stick with it. See where it takes you.
So – will you be retiring in your job?