At it's peak, Kodak employed close to 60,000 employees in Rochester alone. Right now, the numbers are well under 10,000, and dropping. They are not the only big guy shrinking, Xerox, IBM, and many other giants have reduced their workforce or disappeared all together in the last 10 years.
What this means is that those tens of thousands of people who grew up in a company culture like Kodak, Xerox or IBM have been forced to look for a new job. But the new company culture/mentality is nothing like the one they knew.
When I consulted at Kodak, I was sent to a basement where training was delivered. Sort of a bad idea to begin with to have training in the basement, but… As I entered the hallway to the training rooms, there was a brass plaque with a raised image of George Eastman and a quote
"If you come through these doors, we will train you"
This plaque had been on the corner of a building somewhere and now resides in a dingy basement where few can see it. Wonder why?
The notion that employees are "lifers", and should be treated as such, is gone, long gone. GE employees used to be referred to as family. Again, that is no longer.
This new work culture is difficult for the older worker to relate to. It is absolutely not what they want. They want what they had before- a company that would pay a good wage and take care of them. A stable environment. A sense of knowing they will be rewarded for doing a good job.
The majority of companies in Rochester today, and I am sure everywhere, employee 250 or fewer employees. They are lean and mean, or at least try to be. They are very vulnerable to the conditions of the marketplace, causing instability in some cases. They are not nurturing a family environment, they are struggling for survival each and every day and that often translates into a competitive environment. Survival of the fittest. They adopt a "no frills" attitude. They move fast and when necessary change. There is little infrastructure (overhead). Expenditures have to be thoroughly justified. (Yes, all of this is a gross generalization, I know, but there is a huge difference in how business gets done in a small company.)
To fit in, the new employee needs to understand this new culture. To succeed, they will need to adapt.
At least understanding these differences and the knowing that it will be close to impossible to have what they had before, will allow the older worker to be more realistic in what they are looking for.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.