Once upon a time in a far away land companies looked for employees that were loyal, knowledgable and capable, education was valued and more experienced employees were shown respect for the time that they had put into the company by the younger newer ones. Management in this land actually looked at how they could motivate employees to do a better job.
Not anymore at least in the worlds of retail and financial sales. I have been working for a global retailer on Michigan Avenue and had an interesting conversation with a 25 year old the other day, who had been a junior level manager then resigned, and moved back to a part-time position so she could complete here college degree. Mary had been an up and comer, she had a great reputation in the store and was part of the "in crowd"(everyone at the store including managers who all hung together on weekends). Mary is moving to another state, and I suggested staying with the retailer, she could probably get an assistant store manager position for one of the company's stores near to where she was moving but she demurred, she said "I'm stale, I've been here too long"," if I stay in retail I need to work for a different company". She is 25.
Then the thought hit me as I see the retailer highering a slew of 19/20 year olds, promote 23 year olds, who have less post college work experience than the time I have been working at the store, to assistant store manager positons even though their capabilities don't even measure up to some of the full time associates that are there, the thought hit me, retail senior management looks at employees who have been in the same position for too long as stale bread. They want fresh bread! Another employee there, Paul, who has been there for about 3 years, enough to go through a change of store management. Paul, is an african american, I think high school educated but not college, in his late 20's, early 30's. He is not part of the "in group", the in group includes the 23 year female assistant store manager who was hired by the early 30 something district manager and the 20 something caucasian, guys and gals that she hired who she parties with on the weekends and is part of her social group. Paul works hard but at this point is discouraged as he sees the in group break the rules and he gets called out on the rules. But the issue is, Paul is stale, he has been there for too long so he is viewed as a little better than a slave, because he does a lot of grunt work, the stuff management doesn't laud but needs to get done. He is always there to do what he is suppose to but management would rather have him leave than stay, Paul is stale bread.
In my case at the retailer, I have definitely expired. It is similar to the science fiction movie from in the day, "Logan's Run" where the inhabitants of the planet were exterminated once they reached the age of 30. I am past 30 at this retailer so I am considered a relic despite the fact that I was the top retail salesperson in the company for the last 3 years, etc,etc. The etc.'s (education, business experience, experience in the nature of the retailer's business) don't matter to retail management, I've expired and they want fresh bread. The just promoted one of the 23 year old asssistant store managers to store manager, while there she broke all the rules that she called out employees on, she made sure she rarely closed on weekends so she could have a social life but she is 23, she is fresh bread!
Even my friend Mary who works at the old financial service company that I used to work for is stale bread. She has been at this company for at least 15 years and during that period has been one of the top sales people at the company, but the sales manager would rather bring in new sales people, "fresh bread" even if in the back of his mind, he realizes that these sales people are completely exagerating the business they will get done with some of Mary's accounts, they are fresh bread and Mary has expired.
At least in the financial service sales space, with the money that Mary has made over the years, knowing that at some point you will "expire in the sales management's eyes" comes with the territory. In retail, where I see these new employees make mistakes that can easily be avoided if a more experienced employee were given the task and the pay is so low, it makes for less business and more customer issues, it does not necessarily make business sense. However, at the same time, it does make sense. Retail management, generally has a retail college degree, and somewhere within the retail courses they must have a course on employee management and how you constantly must have fresh bread and I think it follows the retail thought about moving merchandise around on the hour or at least each day, so the dress you thought was in the back is now in the front or in the middle of the store. New employees don't know anything and that is the other plus, you are guaranteed to have new employees make mistakes which gives management a reason to exist. Also, since management is so young, they really don't know much so it is a perpetuating cycle, hire really young inexperienced people so management will appear like they know more than they really do.
In the world we live in, it seems that businesses portray themselves as so efficient but when it boils down to it they aren't and to hide all those mistakes management seeks out new employees, young employees, it used to be that 40 was getting on the old side but I think in the world we live in todya it is more a Logan's Run world where when you are reaching 30, within any kind of corporate environment if you haven't started moving up quickly, or have been in the same job for more than 3 years, sorry, you have expired!
The concept of Logan's Run where individuals lose their value at the age of 30 and must be exterminated is not that far from the truth in a slew of businesses. It may be a tough job environment, but some of these jobs, that are really not that hard to do, have expiration dates, so for retail if you are above the age of 25, you are close to expiring if you haven't been promoted and are part of the "in group", in financial sales, sales managers are always looking for newer, fresher, better.
Maybe that land of companies existed once, where employees who were steadfast, followed the rules, performed were compensated for their loyalty, they were called "pensions". Not anymore, we exist now in the land of newer, better, fresh bread. If you have been at the company for more than 3-5 years and not promoted, if you are upper 30's something, sorry, "you have expired".