Do or do not: How to build longevity in the workplace 

A former Vice-President of Microsoft shares the most common mistakes employees make throughout their career, and what they can do instead.
By: | August 14, 2023

There are many actions that employees can take to ensure the longevity of their careers. Conversely, they can also commit mistakes that harm their career prospects, including expecting company loyalty based on the long years they have worked. 

“Don’t expect the company to reward your seniority in your paycheck,” explained Chris Williams, a former Vice-President of Human Resources at Microsoft. Writing for Business Insider, he long-tenure employees to use their experience to become more useful or get a better position in another company if offered.

Employees who ask for a raise with no offer in exchange are also committing a common mistake. “The minute you’re asking for a raise, you’re starting from behind, from a position of weakness,” Williams opined. “The conversation you should be having is about a clear value exchange.” By discussing the value they bring to the company, employees are presenting the abilities, revenue, and savings they can help to generate.

Employees who try to make threats – including leaving for another job – they do not fully intend to follow through on is also something Williams advised against, especially if they have not fully explored alternate options. “Once you’ve turned to threats, the mutual respect of your relationship with your employer is gone,” he explained. 

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Lastly, Williams suggested that employees should be well-prepared before turning to someone for help, making sure to go into the conversation with a clear understanding of what they want.  “Explore the problem in detail so when you do turn for assistance, you’re able to make a clear and specific ask, not just some vague plea for help,” he advised.