Aging in place is a term that refers to someone living in the residence of their choice, for as long as they're able as they get older and their needs change; where they can have the things that they need in their daily life while maintaining their quality of life.
Great when the time comes for a lifestyle shift, but not so great when designing your career strategy.
Professionally, aging in place refers to someone who's at risk of remaining too long in one place either in the same role or at the same place of business. What is too long? It depends. If you've been in the same position for over three years, your thinking is already "stale around the edges".
Does your company have a formal rotation program that requires its employees to shift gears every year (or so) and move to an entirely new role? Formal rotational programs can drive adaptability and resiliency deep within the organization, working well when employees are required to develop transition plans and train their successor on managing day-to-day operations, but without too much built-in structure that could choke subsequent business reinventions.
If you happen to be self-employed or operate a microbusiness, this means that you'll need to mix things up yourself. This is where knowing your Optimum Change Cycle (OCC) comes in handy because you'll know when it's time to reinvent in front of your Personal Inflection Curve.
Let's look at five reasons why aging in place doesn't make for a good career strategy:
1. Your blind spots begin defining your approach to change. It's easy to get too comfortable over time with how we do things, and unless something (or someone) comes along to shake things up, many of us may elect the status quo rather than disrupt our own career.
2. You become less resourceful in solving problems. If you're employed by a large-scale company with easily available resources, you could become less "scrappy" over time and find yourself depending too much on the availability of these resources.
3. What you once considered diplomacy morphs into fear of speaking your mind. No doubt that savvy communication skills and diplomacy go a long way in building and maintaining relationships. Carving out a comfortable spot for yourself with a sole desire to be liked may come with the price tag of ignoring your own voice and losing the respect of others.
4. You lower the bar on what disruption looks like for you. You've missed your Optimum Change Cycle once, maybe twice, and now the risk of passing your Personal Inflection Point blinds you to the fact that your options are limited and you're now dependent on the whims of others.
5. You begin avoiding new technologies perceived as having steep learning curves. One of the fastest ways to sideline yourself at work and in business is not keeping up with new technologies. This doesn't mean that you need to be an avid coder or be the earliest adopter of emerging technologies; however, you'll want to rethink your career strategy if you have no social presence because you don't have time to "learn a new tool".