The lifer has minimal skills or exposure in their particular discipline, due in part to a 15+ year stay at their current (and often only) job. Additionally, those 15+ years are actually 1 year of experience repeated 15+ times. The lifer believes that getting ahead is about “staying power” and “paying their dues”, rather than tangible achievements based on applied experience in their field. When skilled individuals arrive, the lifer has no skills to fall back on to remain competitive, and instead relies on generation of politics to diminish the impact of the skilled individual.
Skilled not-so-newcomer “Yeah, you gotta watch what you say… here there be lifers, matey!!!”
"You're telling me. I heard he's so lazy he married a woman who was pregnant by someone else."
"No Chief. I ain't a lifer. I'm gettin' a real job."
2) (Mil.) An enlisted soldier or officer that decides to re-enlist to go career
2) "Who's that?"
"That's Captain Anderson; he started out in the 22nd Armored, but ended up here as a tech. specialist. He's thinking about becoming a lifer."