October 13, 2014
Q: “So, what do you do?”
A: “I’m a temp…”
There’s an answer that strikes fear at the core of the career minded modern human. Descriptions that demand more letters to spell offer little relief: contractual, seasonal, consultant, casual staff, freelance do little to ameliorate the trauma.
Government statistics from last month are faceless: the median tenure at the same company for hourly and salary workers – all categories, all industries, all areas – is 4.6 years. Job changes during those years complicate the question even more: one can see their role reinvented with each reorg that reduces headcounts and redistributes responsibilities, even if titles remain the same.
You might think that things stabilize for the folks at the top; that depends on what one calls “stable.” In researching CEO tenures, the focus seems always to be the firms that are part of the S&P 500 – the “big guys” – who don’t do anything quietly, or privately. Among that privileged class – where winning makes CEOs millions, and failure pays nearly as well – the time-with-the-jet now averages 8.2 years. Even when you’re the man/woman in charge, it’s tough to last a decade…
This morning’s Wall Street Journal devoted their soft section – Journal Report | Encore – to the intriguing topic: The Case For Quitting Your Job – Even If You Still Love It. It’s counsel for people who have the power to stay in their positions longer, but may be missing a better choice – the road less traveled – by doing so…
With no view toward the eternal, WSJ is giving voice to a rising tide of agreement among the accomplished, suggesting that there must be more to life than simply rewriting the Three Year Plan every six months, and pursuing shareholder value while under attack by internet terrorist hackers in China and same-niche competitors across town who have moved their tax headquarters to Lichtenstein and their production to Mexico. Where do you find fulfillment, if not in the “C Suite” environment?
Hebrews 11 is only two pages out of 1094 in my Bible, but it tells stories of people who would never be featured on the front cover of Fortune. Archived for Eternity in God’s record of notoriety. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel are singled-out as examples of lives well lived, who will forever be known without surnames for their extraordinary contribution to The Grand Plan made clear by its heroic lead – who authored the Plan – and brought it from need-to-know to publicly-announced with His Resurrection.
What’s their common denominator? Why would God stamp a significant caption beneath their portraits in His Hall of Fame? “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect…” (Hebrews 11:39-40)
They believed that God’s plan for their life – individually, and collectively, with us – would keep elevating them to better status. Their real-time life experiences were broad – the list includes prostitutes and kings – but, whatever their position, there was a missing word in their title: Interim.
So, my question to you: are you comfortable with reality? Your title – boss, or bottle-washer – has a missing word; whatever you’re doing in your career today, you are a temp.
What are you preparing for? How is God maturing you… for your next interim assignment? Until you get There – into His place – everything is temporary!