I sometimes wonder if I have been a fool to stay at the same company for 20 years. Does it look bad on my CV these days to have been a ‘stayer’? Does it look like I am not ambitious? Will people think I can’t handle change? I know (from the looks on their faces when they find out) that most of the NGen generation think I am crazy. Why on earth would anyone stay at one company for that long?
It is a fact, in today’s industry I am an exception. People do move around a lot. However, I would argue that the benefits of being loyal outweigh a regular leap to a different agency.
Let’s take career progression as an example. We are given opportunities to progress in our careers if we are successful and are exceeding in our current role. However, something that also plays a factor is how well management knows us and understands our capabilities. They need to be confident that we are ready to take our next step. With loyalty comes familiarity and confidence in a person's ability. Therefore, I would suggest that career progression becomes easier (caveat: if we continue to deliver) if you stay with one company. As I see it, if you jump ship to progress you have to work on your internal reputation more or less from scratch with each move. I would go as far as saying that internal fame (for the right reasons) will get you anywhere. Good, loyal employees get easy access to opportunities. Opportunities for new roles, opportunities for training and development, opportunities to get involved in new business pitches and opportunities to travel.
As a loyal employee I have never had to push to get promoted. The next step up has always been offered to me. I have had 9 different roles across 2 countries. Overseas training, conferences, visits to other office and pitches have taken me all over the world…Tokyo, New York, LA, Beijing, Shanghai and Mumbai to name a few.
Name a training course and there is a high chance that I have been trained in it. Numerous presentation skills, Active Listening, Enhancing Client Relationships, Creative Thinking, Facilitation Skills, Performance Management, Trusted Advisor, Train the Trainer, Managing the Business…. is just the tip of the iceberg. My friends joke that I am the most highly trained individual they know.
Without question I have had my fair share of fantastic career and character building experiences.
Career development is also self-driven. It's so important to push yourself to grow. Being within a familiar environment, surrounded by those I know very well has led me to push myself out of my comfort zone more often. This in turn has kept me challenged.
So to conclude I would say yes, I have previously doubted if this was the best route for me to have taken. However, reflecting back on everything I have experienced and achieved over the years, quite frankly, I wouldn't change a thing.