HPA Stories: As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, HPA team members share their personal stories and how they have impacted them professionally at HPA. We look forward to sharing these stories with you as part of our celebration of the people at the core of our business.
By Sr. Director of Operations & Finance Denise Miyasato
As my son approaches entering the workforce for the very first time, I can’t help but reflect on my own decades-long career, much of it spent at a single company. My long tenure with one company is not out of the ordinary for generations including and before mine, and is especially commonplace among immigrant families, in which high levels of resilience and high tolerance for discomfort are often ingrained. Such is the case in my family – I credit both sets of my immigrant grandparents for passing on these qualities to me, along with an appreciation for stability and familiarity, as top priorities.
For me, a Gen Exer, that longevity at a firm – 25 years to be exact – was welcome, even organic, largely due to the many opportunities I had within that single organization. My aversion for job searching and interviewing aside, I wasn’t solely focused on chasing a paycheck, although like most, I needed one to support myself and my family. Just as important to me was a having a sense of purpose and belonging, both of which can take a while to realize. I believed early on in my career that I could make any job as big or small as I wanted: It was up to me (and my manager), but mostly what I got out of each role was commensurate with what I put into it. Why leave a job when I invested so much into creating what I had?
The choice to stick around for a while appears to be somewhat exotic among younger generations who (if statistics are to be believed) hop from one job to another with relative frequency. In fact, for Millennials and Gen Zers, spending more than a handful of years with the same employer is the exception, not the rule.
And this isn’t a massive generalization either, statistics and my own experience hiring and managing younger talent support this. Gallop even refers to Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1996, as the “Job-Hopping Generation” and Gen Zers, born 1989 or later, as “Generation Disconnected.” Priorities have clearly shifted: Home ownership is more out of reach for some and less desirable for others; work-life balance is a non-negotiable, working remotely is preferred; and flexibility, transparency, and inclusivity are more broadly expected among these populations.
I find myself asking, does it have to be either or? Can one achieve balance, flexibility, transparency, and other priorities while still sticking around in one place for a while? I don’t have the answer, but I do have some advice I’ve shared with my son:
Do your due diligence.
If culture, ethics, remote work are important to you, seek out jobs only at companies that offer those in accordance with your values. Research what current and former employees are saying about the employer, what their track record is, and pay attention to details in job descriptions. You’d be surprised what word choice can reveal about culture. (On that note, HPA’s recent webinar on the Labor Shortage spoke to this critical component of employee satisfaction, and is an interesting read or watch for business leaders looking to build a culture where job-hopping becomes unnecessary.)
Be upfront when interviewing.
If you want a company to be honest with you about what they do and don’t offer, you need to be honest about your expectations. You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. If this transparency means no longer pursuing the job, then that means you’re one step closer to finding a place to land that will meet or exceed your expectations.
Connect with a mentor.
Success isn’t a given, but it’s more likely if you have someone with more experience coaching you along the way. Whether it’s a fellow employee or someone outside of your organization, leveraging their lessons learned, insights, and advice can help you avoid pitfalls, make wiser choices, and take bigger risks.
Unhappy in your role? Ask why before quitting.
If your job just isn’t doing it for you, it’s important to get clear on why. Is it an uninspiring or unsympathetic manager? Is the daily reality different from what you thought it would be? Are you working longer hours than you’d like? Being unsatisfied or simply unhappy in a job can stem from countless reasons, but it’s critical to identify what those are so you can avoid them in your next position.
A friendly email from HPA COO Justin Moser with the subject line “checking in” was the catalyst that brought my career journey to HPA, where I have already found a sense of purpose and belonging. Given my career lifecycle, longevity at HPA will pale in comparison to the 25 years I invested previously, but it will certainly represent a high percentage. Not everyone is made for job longevity like I clearly am, and whether my son follows in my footsteps is to be seen. Nonetheless, I’m grateful for the lessons and values handed down from the generations that came before me and paved the path for me to enjoy the stability and familiarity I value so much. I hope my son will enjoy a similarly high level of satisfaction with his own career path, in whatever form that takes.
Denise Miyasato is a Senior Director of Operations and Finance at HighPoint Associates. She oversees the day-to-day internal operations with a focus on client contracting, insurance, forecasting, and partnering with the Controller on invoicing and consultant payroll processes. She also manages special projects and technology enablement, and leads PMO efforts.
Prior to joining HighPoint, Denise enjoyed a 25-year career with Mattel that spanned various functions such as corporate FP&A, financial reporting, treasury, brand finance, European finance, indirect procurement, and licensing finance. Most recently, she was a consultant at American Honda Finance Corporation leading an indirect procurement purchase-to-pay system implementation.
Denise holds an MBA from the University of Southern California Business School and a BA in Finance from California State University, Fullerton.
Denise is based in Los Angeles with her husband and three kids. She is the biggest cheerleader and videographer of her kids when they’re climbing hills on the dusty cross country trails, driving the basket on the basketball court and running 3,200 meters on the track. She enjoys her annual trips to Maui and Napa Valley.