The job marketplace has changed dramatically in the past decade. While many professionals used to stay with a single company for a large portion of their careers, today, many professionals hop from company to company in search of opportunity, personal growth and good pay.
While different career strategies work for different people at different times, staying with a company has its share of advantages that many aspiring professionals ignore today.
What about those horrible bosses, overwrought bureaucracies and stagnant company cultures? Staying with a company isn’t always the best bet for everyone, but there are also plenty of things you can do to overcome these difficulties. You just have to pick your battles. Stick it out, and you may find your career blossoming.
The Advantages of Sticking with a Single Company
First of all, it makes life a whole lot easier when you pick a company and stick with it. It can be very stressful jumping from company to company, having to meet a whole new department of peers and learning all of the new company’s procedures and preferences. If you stay with one company, you get to know everyone, and you can settle into your position. This way, all of the background tasks become automatic, and you can concentrate on cultivating more important skills.
One objection to this argument is that building a career for success shouldn’t be easy all the time, and that you shouldn’t be afraid of a little stress if you want to keep progressing. Many people worry about becoming too comfortable in their jobs and settling into a rut, halting their progression. Sometimes, this is a real danger, but it’s a mistake to think you need to be on the edge and jumping from job to job all the time to progress your career. Sometimes, if you don’t slow down and actually get to know a company’s systems and culture, you’re actually hurting your career.
Staying with a company is also a great way to get promoted. It’s stressful and time-consuming for managers to hire and train new people, and it costs the company time and money. Management loves employees that show loyalty and stability in their position. Good management wants to build a solid foundation with dependable talent. Staying with the company makes you look attractive for promotions and higher responsibilities. Stability and dependability also look great on a resume if the time comes to move on.
Some of the most successful professionals (including some of the highest-earning CEOs in the world) settle down with a company and help build it from the ground up, transforming it into a powerhouse in the process. If you’re constantly jumping from company to company, how will anyone be able to ascertain your legacy?
It’s not always easy sticking with a company, which is why many professionals bail for a better opportunity. There are plenty of ways the culture and environment of a company can hold your career back.
Have you ever had way too much work on your hands, and you’re not even sure you should be doing that work? Have you been confused about the direction of the company and the goals of your department? Is everyone in your department constantly running around like chickens with their heads cut off?
These might be signs of bad management. Or maybe your company bureaucracy imposes so many seemingly arbitrary rules it’s impossible to get anything done. Sometimes, a company becomes too big or dominant in the market and settles into repetitive patterns, putting a limit on where your career can go.
It can also take just a single bad boss to disrupt an entire workplace. One of the most common reasons an employee leaves a company is because they can’t stand the boss. It’s often believed that there’s something wrong with the company culture if bad management is tolerated.
These are all reasonable criticisms, and if the situation seems too hopeless, it may sound better to cut your losses and run. However, even seemingly hopeless companies can be turned around — with the right talent.
Don’t Write a Company Off Too Quickly
What if the company is right on the brink of a sweeping management change? What if the executives have a massive overhaul planned? Removing even one bad apple can clear up an entire department so it runs efficiently again. You never know what sorts of changes are around the corner, and there’s no way to predict the dramatic effects that even small changes can trigger.
Dysfunction can also present an excellent opportunity for you to shine. If you have an idea for how to make things work better, why not try to get it implemented? Challenges like these are great opportunities to grow as a professional and gain recognition. Management loves employees with initiative who can get results.
You won’t advance your career by throwing your hands up, but by meeting the problems head on. (Click here to tweet this thought.)
Today, there is an allure to jump to the next company in search of a better culture, working environment, boss or pay package. Everyone wants to be part of the next startup that’s set to knock one of the Fortune 500s from their throne. But it’s just as probable you might land in a similar situation or worse, or you could join a company that’s not going to make it. If you see potential in the company you work for, why not cultivate it?
How to Invest Your Career in a Single Company
Here are just some of the things you can do within a company to make it a more attractive place to stay. These strategies often have the compound effects of furthering your career and strengthening the company.
1. Bad Boss? Move
Horizontal movement is big in top management circles today. This means moving to another department or even branch if things aren’t working out for you. Give your boss the rationale for moving you somewhere you’ll be happier and more effective.
2. Cultivate Relationships
Find like-minded people in your department who care about getting things done, and network with them. It’s easier to complete tasks if you have dependable people who can help move things along.
3. Projects Matter
Try to get yourself assigned to a project you’re passionate about or have ideas about. You can make use of horizontal movement to find better projects, as well.
4. Speak Up
Have an idea for how to make things more efficient? Do you see flaws in processes that others aren’t noticing? Don’t be afraid to speak up. It shows management you have the initiative to get things done. It’s even better if your suggestions are implemented and the system is improved.
5. Take Control of Your Career Growth
Always challenge yourself. If you feel overly complacent or stuck in a rut, try changing departments or seeking out a new project. Study your market and think about where your company should be going. Good management will be eager to hear what you have to say, while bad management can be diagnosed and improved.
Give the company you settle in at least a year. Then go for two years. See how far you can go and how much you can build your career off of a single company and improve the company in the process. Imagine the satisfaction you’ll get (not to mention the recognition) after helping your company grow and evolve. I can tell you from experience that it’s well worth the effort.
How can you advance in your career with your current company? Join in on the conversation in the comments!
Jarred Saba is the Chief Executive Officer of Telecom Lease Advisors Holdings, LLC and all subsidiaries. Prior to his current position, he spent seven years as the Senior Vice President of the Tower Lending Group and Corporate Finance Group, where he managed all tower loan originations in the country. A published author and conference speaker, Jarred can be found as a panelist at the CTIA and PCIA annual tower conferences. He holds a BA in Finance from the University of Southern California and a law degree/MBA from the University of San Diego.