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What’s Your Legacy?

September 21, 2009

Do you ever think about the legacy you will leave when you are no longer with your company? 

With unemployment near double-digits in many states, some employees are being forced to leave their companies because of the recession.  While many employees leave of their own free will, others do not.  Regardless, each employee leaves a legacy behind.

 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The length of time a worker remains with the same employer increases with the age at which the worker began the job.  Of the jobs that workers began when they were ages 18 to 22, 72% of those jobs ended in less than a year and 94 % ended in fewer than 5 years.  Among jobs started by workers when they were ages 38 to 42, 31 % ended in less than a year and 65 % ended in fewer than 5 years.”

What is the mark you want to leave?  Are you building a legacy you can be proud of?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2009 7:16 am

    Trish, as usual a great post.

    This is actually a valuable technique to use in preparing for interviews. It’s a great “sell” to be able to not only explain what you did at previous employers, but to affirmatively state what you did to make them better and leave the company in better shape before your departure.

  2. September 21, 2009 8:28 am

    I’ve never really been comfortable with the concept of creating a legacy. I’ve seen them become these ‘things’ which are difficult to manage, change and/or eliminate – because no one wants to alter someone else’s legacy.

    It’s probably just semantics but I prefer to look at it as reputation…what kind of reputation do you want people to have of you when you leave.

    For me it’s always been the same. That I did good work and acted in the best interest of the company.

  3. September 21, 2009 12:02 pm

    I recently told a group that I was working with on and organization design issue – I’ll probably outlive everything I’ve done. I think the only legacy is in the way you work – far more than in what you’ve gotten done. Were you collaborative and inclusive? Did you mentor well?
    There are a few projects in my career that I look back on with some pride, but we are already 3-4 leadership generations past that.
    I like the idea, and I really think more in terms of “how” than “what”.
    I’m not sure if that is best for a career, but it has worked OK for me.

    • September 21, 2009 10:48 pm

      @Mike- I agree that it’s a good way to prepare for interviews.

      @Sharlyn and Tim- You guys both bring up a great point. That sometimes a legacy can have a negative connotation when it prevent future progress. I’ve seen that happen in my career. I think regardless of what we call it, leaving a company with the knowledge that we helped make it a better place is what is important. I always want to be remembered as someone who really listened to employees and leadership and tried to bridge the gap between them. I also want to be remembered as someone with high ethical standards and that I gave it my all. Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it so much!


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