These were the folks who would listen intently at employee meetings for the names of the projects or products that executives mentioned, and then eagerly try to find safe passage aboard what they now perceived to be safe areas of the company.
These were the folks who were experts at knowing how to run the business exactly as it was, and fought change like antibodies repelling a toxic substance. They would use their longevity to shout down new ideas because they had already been attempted and failed, even if the attempts had come years earlier with different people and circumstances.
To the first passage above: In a Corporate America that doesn’t give a fuck about you, this is called “common sense”. However, the “safest” areas are usually the high growth areas, so it all works out.
To the second passage above: the characteristics of the first passage are not genetically linked to the negative characteristics of the second passage. Further, it is not wrong to raise ones prior experiences as relevant factors when business changes are proposed. (Obviously, this can be done positively or negatively, and that’s where the rub is.)
A long tenure at the company now meant more scrutiny, not less. People needed to prove they were ready to embrace new and different, instead of fighting to preserve status quo. Fresh faces and perspectives were often valued over experience.
The translation of that is that the Corporation was now demanding that people behave in the best interests of the corporation, which may be contrary to the best interests of their families and financial situations. That does not sound to be to be a long term recipe for success.
Before making a decision between the two roles, my manager warned me to be careful. He said that the company would take everything I would give it and ask for more.
Boy, ain’t that the truth. Best advice I ever got from a mentor was one that told me, when they sensed I was giving “too much” of me to my job, was “Kady, never forget. It’s just another fucking company.”
With the rise of InDesign, engineering for PageMaker had been moved to India, so most of my meetings were at 6AM or 9PM.
Isn’t that just lovely.
Where I had once been seduced by the corporate climb, and the thrill of reaching my limits before pushing past them, I now saw it as a game that could not be won. It was a treadmill set at an ever-increasing speed. I chose to step off and run my own trail instead
Well, this is called “growing up”. When you get close to the C level officers, you realize that they have no lives outside the office. That’s a trade most don’t want to make.
I had just passed the 15 year mark at Adobe. As much as I supported what Wadhwani was trying to do, the company had over-rotated on valuing fresh faces over people with experience. It felt like it was finally time to move on.
Yeppers. I’m at a major legacy technology firm myself, and they have currently gotten addicted to “fresh faces” as well. They are stupider than hell. :-). Book smart but completely inexperienced in how to run a sales cycle or consulting engagement.
Some folks are a little embarrassed to work at an older tech company like Adobe. Not me. That startup everyone is so excited about? Chances are they are using Adobe products to help build it and market it.
Good observation here. I’ve noted in other venues that the vast majority of the “new tech” firms that are so hot hot hot…..if they went away tomorrow, they’d be forgotten or replaced in a couple of days. They are not mission critical to our lives.
Now, make Cisco, IBM, Oracle, or MSFT (and Adobe) go away? The economy grinds to a halt.
Many of the interviews I turned down were for jobs that would have paid me much more than I make right now.
Well, this is the key disincentive to being a long-timer anywhere. Your raises are more often than not incremental. When you hop jobs, you often get a BIG bump on the hop.
Longevity, however, need not equal stagnation. It can mean wisdom, passion, dedication, and sustained peak performance. That is what I see when crossing paths with most of the other marathon runners at Adobe.
Wisdom is hard to come by. Companies should treasure it. They should encourage it. They should celebrate it. It just may keep them from getting stuck in a rut.
Agree completely. But, people need to do what you did (and what I think I have done), meaning “stay light on your feet”. The benefit of larger corporations is that they provide numerous job alternatives that allow for skills advancement “in place”; and they will often consider you for a role shift that you could not get if you went outside, because they know you. I know people who have gone from (for example) tech sales to marketing; had they actually gone out to LOOK for that sort of career change, they would have been told to fuggetaboutit.
Good read. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.