What’s Your Legacy?


September 21, 2009

Do you ever think about the legacy you will leave when you are no longer with your company? 

With unemployment near double-digits in many states, some employees are being forced to leave their companies because of the recession.  While many employees leave of their own free will, others do not.  Regardless, each employee leaves a legacy behind.

 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The length of time a worker remains with the same employer increases with the age at which the worker began the job.  Of the jobs that workers began when they were ages 18 to 22, 72% of those jobs ended in less than a year and 94 % ended in fewer than 5 years.  Among jobs started by workers when they were ages 38 to 42, 31 % ended in less than a year and 65 % ended in fewer than 5 years.”

What is the mark you want to leave?  Are you building a legacy you can be proud of?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.


  • Trish, as usual a great post.

    This is actually a valuable technique to use in preparing for interviews. It’s a great “sell” to be able to not only explain what you did at previous employers, but to affirmatively state what you did to make them better and leave the company in better shape before your departure.

  • I’ve never really been comfortable with the concept of creating a legacy. I’ve seen them become these ‘things’ which are difficult to manage, change and/or eliminate – because no one wants to alter someone else’s legacy.

    It’s probably just semantics but I prefer to look at it as reputation…what kind of reputation do you want people to have of you when you leave.

    For me it’s always been the same. That I did good work and acted in the best interest of the company.

  • I recently told a group that I was working with on and organization design issue – I’ll probably outlive everything I’ve done. I think the only legacy is in the way you work – far more than in what you’ve gotten done. Were you collaborative and inclusive? Did you mentor well?
    There are a few projects in my career that I look back on with some pride, but we are already 3-4 leadership generations past that.
    I like the idea, and I really think more in terms of “how” than “what”.
    I’m not sure if that is best for a career, but it has worked OK for me.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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