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Article: Maturity or Just Longevity? Related Resources

Maturity or Just Longevity?
by Rhoberta Shaler, PhD

Are there folks in your organization who believe in the 'longevity model'? Likely there are. These are the people who learned their jobs really well in the first year of employment and continue to repeat that same year over and over and over. Perfectly pleasant people performing patiently!

Not long ago, I was training in the public sector. The topic was 'Be Promotable' and, in working with the human resources folks, I asked, "What would you really like your employees to understand from this seminar?" One response was that individuals had to realize that simply repeating tasks and occupying a seat on a regular basis would only lead them to the possibility of continuing to occupy that particular seat! People are not promoted for demonstrating the 'longevity model'.

This is an important shift to notice in the work world of today. Whether you are a pre-boomer, a baby boomer, or a buster, a Generation X or Y, you can count on one thing. Your work ethic will not be the same as folks of other ages within your organization. Your expectations will be different and your model will have been shaped by those expectations. There was a day, not too long ago, when workplace loyalty was a deciding factor. When someone demonstrated loyalty by working well for the same company for a long time, they were rewarded by promotion. In fact, they expected it. That was the way things were done. This was not necessarily loyalty to a concept or a person, it was a generalized loyalty demonstrated by showing up, accomplishing the work and occupying that seat over a long period of time. Of course, I'm simplifying this to make my point.

These days, loyalty is more likely to be demonstrated to an idea, a concept, a product or a person than to a commitment for the long haul. Whereas once folks had one career, the average these days is three careers. Current research tells us that, in order to move up in your career, you will likely change positions or companies every two to five years. Not only that, the research suggests you MUST do that to progress. That is a major shift, isn't it? And, it has taken place within thirty years. Huge change in a short time in the way work is perceived.

So the 'longevity model' no longer applies to our marketplace. We need the 'maturity model' which exists when employees are learning, growing AND applying new information while taking responsibility for their roles, tasks and progress. These folks understand the meaning of accountability. That's big!

I worked with a department of a large public sector organization. The fundamental task I had was to shift and secure their model to one of 'maturity'. The dictionary defines 'mature' as: "of or relating to a condition of full development". That's what we're after in the workplace: full development.

What would it be like if that was the desire and goal of each and every worker? What would it be like if this was both the desire and commitment of every employer? What if every employee AND every member of management were truly accountable?


When you take a position, you know the hours, the benefits, the job description and the compensation. That means that you then undertake to do those things for that long to reap those benefits and take home that compensation. Simple equation. Many folks understand it completely. There are some, though, that seem to take up the challenge of seeing how little they can do without being noticed. They even seem to think that the organization provides them with a telephone and email so that they can stay in touch with their friends and fill their social calendars. One employee in a firm I worked with actually stated that she came to work as a respite from her home life and her home-based business! Very often she could be found chatting in hallways and cubicles about her children, husband and health rather than focusing on her work and supervising her staff.


In the ideal world, your acceptance of your pay check is your statement of fulfilling your job description. Too obvious? Perhaps. Accountability requires that you take the initiative to learn your tasks. Ask questions. Read books. Keep up with your industry by reading newsletters and trade journals. Request training and use it well. Knowing your job reduces your stress. Exceeding your job's expectations leads to promotion.


Be on time to meetings. It demonstrates respect. Honor timelines and deadlines. It creates high-performance. Conserve resources and money wisely to improve the bottom line.

Simple. But why do it? In large companies I have heard employees say that it doesn't matter much if they make an error because the company will never notice, for, because the company has so much money it wouldn't matter. Wrong. It's not about that. It is about you being accountable for the choices you make which demonstrate your commitment to doing the best job possible. These ARE the things that are noticed.

Which model are you? Longevity or maturity? It's your choice...and, of course, so are the consequences!

© Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, Founder & Director, The Optimize! Institute, Escondido, CA All rights reserved.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler, a noted international speaker and author, is the founder of the Optimize! Institute, and Your Spiritual Home, a worldwide center for Practical Spirituality & Everyday Myth. Her mission is "To uplift, inspire and motivate people worldwide to find joy, peace and success on their own terms". She is the author of Optimize Your Day: Practical Wisdom for Optimal Living and Wrestling Rhinos: Conquering Conflict in the Wilds of Work, as well as many other books and audio programs. Rhoberta Shaler, PhD may be contacted at or


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