The short answer is: Rarely.

Pretty much gone are the days that you work for one company for 40 years and retire with a gold watch and a pension. Employees had opportunities to advance and move departments so as not to get stagnant in one job. Training and education were offered so an employee can continue to be an asset to the company. Now it is easier and quicker to hire from the outside, usually at a lower salary. No longer is experience supremely valued. Companies are relocating, phasing out departments and consolidating. Automation and advances in technology mean companies can rely on less to do more. Now the average stay at a job is around 5 years and the younger crowd doesn’t even know what a pension is.

When I speak of corporate, I’m not talking about your mom and pop donut shop. Rather I’m focused on the publicly traded companies that are solely focused on profits and their stock price. You see, a publicly traded company is all about the bottom line because you must keep your shareholders happy. Your company earnings must continue to increase, and your share price needs to continue an upward trajectory. That’s a lot of pressure and that pressure can cause some companies to treat their employees like shit. Those companies see their employees as replaceable and assume they can just plug any qualified candidate into the position.

Several years ago, I worked for a company that let go one of their long-time employees. He was told that his position was being eliminated… however one month after letting him go, they posted his position for hire. This employee was well liked and did his job at a high level. He did not deserve this treatment. My guess is that they schemed to get rid of him and bring somebody else in at a much lower salary and save themselves some money. His years of dedication meant absolutely nothing.

Over the years I’ve seen people let go from their job just prior to being eligible for their pension. That will really make your stomach turn. I’ve also witnessed a company go on a buying spree, buying up competitors although they hadn’t given their employees a raise in over three years. I’ve seen and heard of bully tactics, using intimidation to try to either run off the employee or just run them into the ground.

Corporate America has changed and so has its loyalty to its workers.

Yes, there are some great companies to work for out there. And there are some working to do the right thing and finding new ways to appreciate their employees. There are some that truly value their employees and treat them with respect. However, there are far more where the employees are taken for granted. At this point it’s a vast majority.

I saw a quote online and it resonated big time with me. When I shared it to Facebook loads of folks immediately reacted to the post.

“You’re killing yourself for a job that would replace you in a week if you dropped dead.”

I have also heard great stories from clients that don’t want to retire. They love their jobs, company and co-workers. It’s mostly the small to medium size companies that still believe in the more traditional values of taking good care of their employees. So it’s not all gloom and doom. But we only get one shot at this life, so I’m not willing to gamble on a company “probably doing the right thing” by me, and you likely shouldn’t either.

The world as we knew it 30 years ago has changed. Large corporations have changed. Once we had a voice but too often, we are being told to just keep our heads down and our mouths closed and just do our job.

In the end, you must take care of you. Don’t expect your corporate employer to always have your back because at the end of the day, it’s a money game. Regardless of how much blood, sweat and tears you have given a company, you could be walked out the door today.

Always have a plan B and protect yourself first.

Live free my friends,
Eric Gaddy