A generation ago it seemed people would work for one company for the length of their professional career.
They would work "in the plant" or "in the yard" or "at the refinery" or "at the paper", starting as young apprentices and retiring from that same company as experienced employees 30 or 40 years later. That doesn't happen much any longer.
The workers of the "Greatest Generation", as Tom Brokaw describes them, wore their "I work at the plant" like a badge of honor. No one ever asked, "how long have you been there?" The answer was obvious. If they were in their 50's, you knew they've been there for 30 years or so. Basic Math skills provided you with the answers. Today you need to review their resume to figure out how many companies a 50 year old guy has been employed by.
I'm thinking about this subject as I start working for another company, one day before my 40th anniversary in the Merchant Marine. Back when I hit my 20 year milestone working for the same company, I thought, yeah, I'm a throwback. I'll be retiring from this company. Four years later that company got out of the marine business all together. So much for that plan.
As I hit my 13 year anniversary with Hornbeck Offshore, I was just starting to settle in, and recently said to myself, "Yeah, I'll be retiring from this company." Two days ago they sold out to another company.
Is there loyalty in the workplace any longer? I don't think so. Are we all just hired guns? The outpouring of love from Hornbeck Offshore in the days that followed the sale may give you a hint. The vessels have not received one, "thanks for working with us over the years," email. Not one phone call from someone in upper management calling the boat and expressing their gratitude to the Captain for the hard work over the years.
You know, just a, "Captain, please pass on to the crew our appreciation for their hard work and we wish them all the luck in their new endeavor." Nothing. Ziltch. Nada. Four months ago we were part of the "Hornbeck Family," now, no emails, no phone calls. The crew has started painting over the Hornbeck colors, as if we never worked there before, like it was a dream. Just like that, 13 years get covered up by a coat of white paint.
It's been a very strange week.
So now I work for Genesis Energy. Yeah, I think I'm going to retire from THIS company.