Success / Self Improvement / Career

Your Career: Don’t listen to Grandpa!

Things ain’t what they used to be.

Mark McMillion
5 min readMay 5


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Once upon a time, a man grew up, maybe went to college, maybe didn’t, got a job, and worked there for his entire career. The company looked out for him, made sure he had the training he needed if he wanted to move up, and demonstrated loyalty to him in tough times. In return, the man was loyal to the company in good times and bad. Put your head down, work hard, and good things happened.

That time and place don’t exist anymore. Now it’s men and women (whose only career choices used to be a teacher or nurse — nice to have choices now!), almost always go to college, try to get a job, and then rinse and repeat as they get another job every 2–3 years. The companies don’t give a crap about you (tech workers, looking at you! Year to date tech layoffs: ≈ 170k as per If you don’t have the skills they want or need, tough. They’ll hire someone who does. Loyalty? Hah! Now, it’s just a word in the corporate dictionary between Lacking and Reliability.

Working hard is no longer enough. You can’t be head down, you have to be heads-up! You have to see what’s coming, not only for your job but your company and your industry.

So what do you do? You have to take care of yourself and your career. You have to take responsibility to be the best you can be. Why? Because it gives you options. And options are good.

Let’s talk about there specific areas where you can take some ownership for your own success.


The status quo isn’t good enough. There’s an old saying that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. That’s truer now than it ever was. You have two areas to concentrate on: technical and interpersonal.

Technical skills and knowledge are what’s going on in the industry. It’s sometimes difficult to differentiate between fads and genuine change. If you constantly jump on the new shiny things, your legs will get tired (from jumping) and you’ll waste lots and lots of time and effort.

How do you do this? Read trade publications, websites, bloggers, and listen to podcasts. Go to conventions, webinars, and meetings. Talk and…



Mark McMillion

Retired Army officer with two tours in Baghdad, married with four kids. Proud West Virginian and West Point grad. Works available on Amazon.