30 years. 1 stop. Bravo!


Lucy Kellaway’s Thirtieth Anniversary, Financial Times:

For the past 30 years I have been pitching up to work at the same place, week in, week out, interrupted only by a succession of maternity leaves – all of which are now in the distant past…There is something mildly shameful about being almost the longest-serving journalist on the newspaper…

But last Thursday I cycled into work in the early morning sun, making a journey I’ve made many thousands of times before, and as I passed St Paul’s Cathedral I found myself feeling not only unstale, but borderline joyful… When I got to the office on impulse I fired off an email to the entire newspaper inviting them to eat cake with me that very afternoon – and soliciting reflections on what 30 years’ service means.

Loyalty – mixed with stupidity, one colleague replied. Wrong, I thought…

Narrow, suggested another…

A third colleague, also a long-timer, complained that staying in the same place meant getting dragged down by politics and that old grievances fester. Possibly; though I see it the other way round. Long service has cut me adrift from politics and has meant I don’t have to waste time working out who is trustworthy and who isn’t, as I know that already.

Writing this, I am starting to feel defiant. Why am I apologising and explaining? When someone has been married for 30 years, they don’t feel the need to justify themselves. Such stability is universally admired: it’s a sign you have chosen wisely, and then made it work.

We don’t approve of promiscuity in relationships, so why do we admire it in employment? I know someone who has worked at five different investment banks in eight years. Every time he has “passed Go” he has become richer, which is nice for him, but I don’t see what is admirable – let alone broad – about it.

As pearl anniversaries at work are now freakish occurrences, they ought to be valued more than ever. Once upon a time long service implied that the person was too dull-witted to leave a dreary job; and that the employer was too benign to fire them. But now most places are relatively meritocratic; the hopeless are usually encouraged to shuffle off and be hopeless somewhere else.

Thus a 30 years’ service suggests a mutual choice to stay together. As one of my colleagues said, my anniversary proves only one thing: that I have been very lucky. I have found somewhere I like, and that likes me too…

Read entire article: Lucy Kellaway’s Thirtieth Anniversary, Financial Times

Photo: Van Halewyck


  1. MidnightBanshi says:

    It’s becoming a real rarity that people even consider staying in one career for any length of time. People tend to stay in a job only long enough until something else comes along, and then they jump ship. Usually, when someone gets a job, it falls into one of two categories – the job is great but they pay sucks…….or the pay is great but the job sucks. If you find a job that you like that the pay is good, then that is one that you really should stay with.

    The other part of maintaining a good career is atmosphere, but that also lands in the “job is good” category. Sadly, with the usual air of politics and other controversial topics, the atmosphere tends to get sucked out of the room, which makes finding that ideal fit even tougher. When you do find that one golden one though……….grab onto it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The riches that come through faithfully maintaining routines. The opportunities for mindfulness that comes from riding the same bike or train over the same trail to work every day. The quality that comes from perfecting an art without having to break in a new chair and create new efficiencies. That beautiful part about already knowing who to trust. LOVE this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This reminds me of an interview with David Brooks I heard on On Point this week. Check it out here:

    From the preview to the show: “This time out he’s writing about your moral character, and his own. We’ve become slaves to the resume and the ultimately frivolous, says Brooks. Feathering our nests and forgetting our character.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. gloriad54 says:

    There is no wrong or right, and how people judge others who do something different than them really dismays me. Staying in one job worked for you. Having several different jobs works for someone else. I, too,consider you very lucky. I found only one place where I wanted to stay, but was laid off when the company merged with another. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. beautiful )

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks again David for the right post at the right time. On the job hunt and I too am proud of my near 30 years at one place. I love Lucy’s spirit and it inspires me to carry on.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Such stability is universally admired: it’s a sign you have chosen wisely, and then made it work” “…anniversaries,… they ought to be valued more than ever.” She of her attributes are fortitude, integrity, flexibility & a good attitude. She knows how to work well with others, effectively and at the same time stands firm in her decisions. She has the strength of Independence. She is Joyful. She is Valued.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Inspiring to hear someone say that in a world where so many complain about their work.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bravo!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mother Teresa said: “Grow where you are planted.”
    The only reason to move a plant is if it is in danger of improper nutrition. It is obvious that the soil where Lucy is planted is rich.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jborden119 says:

    I’ve always admired people who have stayed at one job for most, if not all of their career, but only if they haven’t become cynical as a result of such a long tenure. It seems apparent that Lucy still enjoys her job immensely. I just finished my 29th year; didn’t know that the 30th year is known as the pearl anniversary! Thanks for sharing.


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