Marathon Mentality

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"Career longevity is more than just being able to put in the hours." says Joni Arison

By Joni Arison, Senior Vice President, AT&T

According to a Gallup survey, the average retirement age among retirees is 62.  This means the average American works approximately 30 to 40 years before retiring.  Just stop and think about that for a moment—30 to 40 years (and in some cases, even longer!).  In our fast-paced, on-the-go society, it can be difficult to fathom keeping it all going for several decades without running yourself into the ground.   As a mother, wife and career-minded individual, I’ve asked myself how I’m going to stay motivated and energized throughout my career.  What do I need to ensure I have the stamina for this marathon? Growing up in an Italian family, I know the meaning of hard work and a strong work ethic, but career longevity is more than just being able to put in the hours.   Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Maintain a life outside of work Whether it’s spending time with family or volunteering in the community, you need this time to recharge and connect with the outside world.  Not only does this allow you to focus on other priorities in your life and feel more fulfilled in those aspects as a multi-dimensional person, you often can leverage experiences gained outside of work in your work life. Find trusted mentors and be a trusted mentor It can be difficult to navigate the career waters so be sure to seek out trusted mentors who can provide guidance and show you the ropes.  Especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed, confused or lost, these mentors can be critical in helping you gain clarity and see the light at the end of tunnel. On the flip side, pay it forward by mentoring others to reach their potential.  Often times you’ll find that you gain and learn from the relationship as much as your mentee.  Additionally, when you know you’re contributing to others’ success and making a difference, it is a motivating factor to keep going.   Be open to new opportunities Some of my best experiences have been in positions I never imagined I’d be in because they were outside my area of expertise.  When presented with new opportunities, embrace the unknown and take that risk—you may be pleasantly surprised by what it brings and the doors it opens.   Eat healthy and stay active Eating healthy and staying active is a critical part of anyone’s success, especially for the long-haul. Work can be physically and emotionally demanding and you need to nourish your body and mind to make sure you’re ready to meet every challenge. Taking care of yourself helps you to be present at work and outside of work.     Have fun We spend more time at work and away from our family than with our loved ones so it’s important to know how to have fun.  Part of having fun is finding the fun—get creative!  I work with a lot of people who like friendly competition and we always enjoy football season and March Madness. Plus, you get to see another dimension of the folks you work with.  Take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.


About the Author Joni Arison: Joni, Senior Vice President – AT&T Customer Contact Transformation, is responsible for delivering AT&T’s 2020 vision for transitioning how the company operates contact centers as digital interactions increase. Joni started her career with AT&T as part of a management training program while in undergraduate school in Connecticut. Her experience spans wireline and wireless, business and consumer channels, and includes sales, sales training, sales management and call center management as well as consumer and business marketing.