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A Valentine from HR: Love the One You’re With

There are times as a consultant when I end up spending a good part of my day in a car driving to meetings. I’ve always enjoyed the radio on road trips and in recent years I seem to spend a lot of time listening to Sirius stations like 70s on 7, Classic Vinyl and The Bridge. Perhaps this dates me (although note that I listen to other “modern” stations too). I just like music.

Without question, I’m a sucker for a good turn of phrase in a lyric. I think that is why I like classic rock so much.

Recently I’ve heard the song Love the One You’re With by Stephen Stills a lot. It is one of those songs that goes in and out of high rotation. I have listened to this song many, many times throughout the years but I’m always looking for something to base a blog message on and this resonated, especially for Valentine’s Day.

Stills’s message in the song is about being happy.

We all have ideals about who the perfect person is for us.

Maybe there are circumstances that prevent that person from being with you. Perhaps you are separated by city, by job, by religion, by politics, by prison, by all sorts of reasons.

Stills suggests that you can still find good alternatives.  He sings,


“And if you can’t be with the one you love honey

Love the one you’re with”



So let me tap into my inner flower child today to give you this word of career advice. Love the one you’re with.

Many employers are spending a small fortune on brand image, expensive benefits and excitement creation to get the absolute best and brightest to work for them. It seems everyone wants to work for Google or Apple or . . . (insert latest name here).

The reality is that only a limited number of people will experience that kind of employer love.

A great many of us are surrounded by decent employers with normal benefits and normal policies and practices. They lack sizzle but have substance. They’re like the person who you know and like but wouldn’t think of entering into a romantic relationship with.

There’s an operative word in the job hunting world today and that is choose.  We’ve put the prospective employee, especially one with good prospects squarely in control to choose. We’ve allowed them to be ever so choosy, to the point of having an entire population of people choosing to be out of the job market waiting for the perfect employer to create the signal that they’ve been chosen.

Do we really need to soar in the clouds to be happy?  As the lyrics go,

“There’s a girl sitting next to you, and she’s just waiting for something to do”

My advice, let’s all stop focusing on the commodities of employment. There’s a lot of good employers out there. You’re probably at one or if you stopped and worked at it a little, have some ability to make it a good employer.  Stop feeling surly because you’re not working for the “it” company.

Essentially, love the one you’re with. It is up to you to make it better.

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