Monday, February 04, 2013

career ladders

Damn my career ladder just would not stay up.

The corporate games can make your career ladder climb precarious. Did you ever think you would be playing a corporate version of chutes and ladders?

(trivia bit - Chutes and Ladders was derived from an 16th century Indian game called Snakes and Ladders)

About 6 years ago the corporate ladder I was on was kicked over. I didn’t really expect my climbing to continue much more anyway but holding my place on the ladder a little longer would have been a benefit. I could have thrown a little more in my 401K bucket. I wrote about this on the “short background” page if you are interested.
You can't always get what you want. (The Rolling Stones)
It was not the first time outside events knocked the ladder from under me. The first time was back in the summer of 2001. The same loss of job issue but different companies and different situations produce very different results. I jumped onto another ladder quickly after the 2001 ladder failure. (don’t they require ladders to come with warning labels?)

The second ladder crash was a much easier fall. The company was much nicer in the whole process. Now don’t start thinking golden parachute because I never reached that type of level. A decent severance and a better personal situation than the first time made a big difference.

It's not having what you want. It's wanting what you've got (Sheryl Crow)

I picked up a couple of contract jobs since I was pushed into the exit chute. Knowing a contract job is of limited duration at the start has a planning benefit and eliminates surprises. The good ladders had been moved or just packed up.

Since my fall, I have reflected for many hours on the “wanting what you’ve got” idea. Personal reflection beats staring at the rear reflectors of cars in a commuter jam. I certainly saved on gas.

Luckily we (my wife was still on her ladder at the time) did have a modest savings. I attribute much of what we had to our modest lifestyle and probably a bit of luck in timing.

The reduced cash-flow (cash-drip might be more descriptive) forced us to simplify. Part of that was more stay at home time. Honestly, I find many benefits with my home investing vs. tedious cubical subjugation.

I focused on the retirement savings and started to learn more about the stock market. It’s always a learning experience. The account benefited from my attention. There is much more to it than buy low sell high. However that simple low/high idea is the underlying basis for it. Unlike the prices and balances the knowledge you gain doesn fluctuate and keeps growing.

I’ve entertained thoughts of writing up my stock trading adventures. One of the biggest lessons is patience and to think in percentages. The recent run-up in the stock market gets people's notice. The contrarian view is better. You should take notice when there is a downturn.

I just wanted to jot this down and share it. Reflection is funny thing at times.
After many drinks at the bar the other evening I pointed and said to my friend, 
“look that will be us in 10 years.” 

He laughed, “That’s a mirror you idiot!”


Bee said...

I fell of the career ladder when I was barely onto the first rung. I really like the idea of "wanting what you've got."

lisleman said...

That sucks. Never give up. Lighten up but give up.

The line/idea you like comes from Sheryl Crow's song "Soak Up the Sun"

Cheryl P. said...

I think most companies make that ladder out of Styrofoam these days. My husband was a senior officer in two different large companies. One position ended with a merger one ended when the company was sold...both times he was kicked unceremoniously off the ladder. He started his own business 14 years ago and for the most part it was a good thing...but certainly has some drawbacks not to have some huge corporation behind you with lots of perks. This is just part of why I became so cynical of the direction we have headed as a culture. I am not saying that there shouldn't be some competition in the workplace but there should also be some human factors taken into consideration. Not everything should be about crunching numbers.

Bee said...

Hard as things sometimes get, I never give up! Thanks for the support! :-D

lisleman said...

Thanks for sharing that. I've had that start a company come and go a few times. I even registered a name once. Working for yourself can become 24/7. I certainly don't mind if you would like to plug his business here. I'm a believer in capitalism overall but there are many situations that go out of control. The housing/bank crisis on 2008 was one recent example of out of control greed. You know, I think styrofoam is too generous maybe toothpicks might be more accurate.

Bearman Cartoons said...

Usually I would bail before. My current company has gone through layoffs at least 4 times and I never get the damn package

Cheryl P. said...

You are right about the 24/7 but what we have found in the last 14 or 15 years is there are gives and takes. Hubby's company has done well but requires more travel than in the old corporate world. Oddly, enough his old companies hire him from time to time. His company provides services for other big companies.

lisleman said...

They should be "right sized" by now with 4 right sizings. I don't know if they still use that stupid term. thanks

Ladders said...

Just remember that when climbing that career ladder to make
sure it is leaning against the right wall first. There is nothing like getting
to the top and realising it wasn’t where you wanted to be.

lisleman said...

that's a very good point - thanks

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