I recently had the unique opportunity to conduct workshops at a manufacturing facility recognized by the communities surrounding it as a "destination employer" ie - a great place to go to work, stay there and retire. Some of the perks of employment amazed me - - and I stressed over and over again they would not find those perks in a new job - - ever (ie a dedicated smoking room, extended breaks, 3 weeks vacation the first year of employment).
As each participant introduced themselves and said how long they had worked at the plant, I was amazed. There were a few with less than 10 years, but the majority said 30 to 35 years. Now the company name had changed and the manufacturing process had kept up with technology - but the location - - same place. The employees had been driving down the same road and parking in the same parking lot for more than 30 years. Few, if any, people today who are just starting their careers will ever experience that longevity with one company at one location.
Some of the pluses included: Children grew up in the same community; the towns/communities had a steady tax-payer base and stores/shops knew their clientele and could stock shelves accordingly; small communities were able to survive.
Minuses: Now that the plant is closing, the emotional toll on the employees (and their families) will be intense - at least initially. Local shops will see a change in the buying habits of their customers and, if statistics are correct, fragile marriages may not survive.
For many of the workshop participants, once they learned there are opportunities outside the plant where they work, they could imagine that the light at the end of the tunnel was not a frieght-train, but an actual job possibility. The transition to that new job will be painful for many. And the greatest challenge for each of them is to not compare their new job with their old one. The example I used (because at least 90% of the participants were men) was: If you compared your wife's cooking to your Mom's - - how did that work for you? The answers (and laughter) gave them insight in how to approach a new job.
I balanced that experience with a recent Cloud Computing article and the new jobs that will be created. We are truly living in an amazing time where the speed of technology is rapidly changing our workplace. Long term employment, even long-term job description, is now 3 to 5 years....not 35 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!