By the measure of self discovery or contribution?

The big applause surprised me!

The master of ceremony had just finished my introduction. He had ended it by pointing out that I had worked for one organisation for over thirty years. The audience conveyed their appreciation with a big applause.

Such an introduction always ‘stumps’ me. These are the times when people do not serve an organisation for more than three or four years. They often talk of planning their next ‘career move’. Is it not then surprising that they should appreciate my staying with an organisation for three decades? I am trying to find an answer to this question.

I dread the question that follows from the audience ‘What made you spend almost the entire career with one organisation?’ I do not have a convincing answer.

I usually laugh it off blaming my laziness but nobody [and I included] believes it to be true. Perhaps that may be a wrong question to ask. The right question may be what did I gain or lose by working with just one employer for so long.

On the positive side I would say that the organisation brought some great personalities in my life; and my life was undoubtedly influenced by them positively. The organisation allowed me to be my ‘natural self’, to be authentic all the time which I value more than anything else. Some other persons were a joy to work with. The job allowed enough scope for contribution proactively. The bosses did not harbour absurd notions of ‘performance’ that makes life miserable in most organisations today. The sum total was a sense of growth, and yes, a sense of security.

On the negative side it is clear that I have not made as much money as some of my contemporaries have done. My ineptitude of managing money made the matters worse. But money was neither my criteria of achievement nor was it a cause for worry. I have often felt that my employer offered me too much of security. One learns when he is insecure. That feeling of insecurity keeps you always on your toes and alert.

The point I am making is that I may have discovered the limits of abilities [perhaps] in a more ‘testing’ situation. That would have been possible if I had changed jobs and exposed myself to various and different situations. Work after all leads to self discovery.

The question in my mind is ‘How would you judge whether your career is successful or otherwise? – By the measure of self discovery or contribution?’

Thinking about these issues is far more engaging and rewarding than finding the answer – if at all I can find it!

What do you think?