A bright, early-in-career professional sought some career advise from me about 2.5 years ago. I much appreciated the brilliant academic background, clarity of expression and the well mannered demeanour of this person.
At the time of our conversation, In 5.5 years of beginning her career, she had changed 3 companies already. That’s an average of 1.8 years per company, one of them was a tenure of just 8 months. When I asked for reasons behind these change decisions – quick came a witty reply, “Rolling Stones don’t gather moss”. To which I responded by asking a question – well do you want to be a rolling stone or a rising star? After a bit of thinking, came the reply, a rising star.
The gist of our discussion was as follows:
1) The main reason/strategy of this person to change jobs at this frequency was to enhance her earnings and with every change she got an average 20% increase. So she thinks that, her strategy is working. I asked her if – with every change she also gained/earned: new learning’s, better role and or a company with better branding and culture? Well this question took the smirk off her face. She very honestly replied by saying, “No” and also added that she has been doing the same role in three different companies with no new learning’s and she wants to leave this company coz the culture in this company isn’t good. I think she started to think and realise that her strategy wasn’t working, was infact derailing her career.
2) When she went into a deep listening mode. I shared these perespectives with her:
a) Average time span of a career is 35 years. So don’t approach it like running a set of 350 – 100 meter sprints or like a 35 km long marathon. May be 3 to 7 mini marathons and some sprints within those marathon’s. Even on an agile basis, It take 2-3 years to learn and establish a track record of success in a job and a role.
b) Golden rule of making a career, don’t chase money. Chase and seek a great company with a solid brand, culture and leaders. Seek new and challenging assignments and roles within the same company or elsewhere that will test and develop you. Money and wealth will follow.
c) After circa 5 years of completing your career – recruiters and companies, while considering you and your CV will focus more on your experience, track record of success, value’s and capabilities. So make sure you focus on it from day-1 of your career.
I advised her to quit her existing job as she wasn’t happy with the company and it’s culture was inferior, compared to where she was going. I told her that, no amount of money is worth staying in a company with bad culture, reputation or leaders.
This morning she called to tell me that, after two and half years of joining the company where she works, she has been promoted to another challenging role with more money. As a tribute to her, I thought of sharing this story with you 😊