In the same job for too long? You might be required to cut-short your career.
Recently I came across a post, on one of the social media sites, that said, “Don’t trust the capabilities of someone, who has been with the same company, for a lot of years.” And it knocked the wind out of me, for a few minutes!!
The reason was, I had been always taught that job loyalty matters. That staying in a profession for long means that I’m a good employee and that I could be the best thing to happen to any company, if I stay for long-term.
(If you don’t know who this guy is, Google “Arsene Wenger”)
So, as soon as I read this and being the sceptic that I’m, many questions started erupting in my head. And I was like, there’s got to be something that I’m missing here.
Also, I could not just overlook the statement, as it came from a high-profile and hugely admired CEO, who himself had been in that position for more than a decade. This, pretty obviously, first made me laugh, and then I was like, “C’mon! A guy like him cannot be this foolish.” Post which, the research began.
What I found was, in today’s startup-y world, being in a job for too long gives an indication that you are a person who doesn’t like to fight!
Seems too broad? Allow me to break it down.
Today, when all the talk is about scaling and where everything happens on a priority, staying in a job for too long means that you don’t like getting out of your comfort zone. You’re not a person who’ll willingly take up new challenges. And you’re the kind of person who wants things the easy way. You may have less ideas to tackle the real-world issues and you probably even don’t like putting your beliefs and ideologies to test.
You might also be someone scared of adapting to new situations as well. And finally, your chair is what defines you and you don’t like handling pressure.
There are some other issues as well (rather funny though) which long-tenured employees will themselves understand like developing a stagnant mindset and comparatively lower increase in salary over the years.
And after going through them, all of these actually started making a lot of sense to me.
I mean, if I’m to hire for my company, my very first question to a prospective would be, “what are some of the fires you’ve doused?” (And during some of my past interviews, this was one of the new questions, founders asked me, and I was actually able to give the best picture of my credibility via this.)
But then on what basis, the said CEO, who also stayed in his role for 10+ years, was saying this then?
Well, this is where, your profession defines your tenure!
For a doctor or say, a lawyer, they don’t need diversity in their experience. The reason being there are set procedures to deal with challenges here and things do not work on the basis of one’s creativity or the thought process. And it is for the good, actually.
(Imagine doctors trying to be creative while doing a surgery!?!?!?)
The job profile of CEOs also falls in the same breath as that of the doctors and lawyers. And even though thought-process is probably what defines a CEO, a company’s top exec’s job is anything but a comfort and does involve creative ways to deal with situations. The fact that they’re faced with real-world issues, every single day, they cannot just leave a company, whenever they want. And this is the exact reason as to why most of the CEOs are long-tenured.
In a fast-growing company, that day when a CEO can say “everything is in place”, probably never comes.
Coming back, even in a long tenure, if you’re seeing continuous promotions, that can also remove the “non-fighter” perception. It shows that even in the same company, you’ve continuously been making waves and that you know how to move forward and are open to bigger challenges.
To conclude, if you’re into a job that does not demand your working to be according to the books (lawyers/doctors) and want your career to be a steady mix of learning, growing and earning, be more open and willing to switching jobs.
But, if you do happen to work in a company (although there’re a very few), which can provide you with the required kind of learning and growth, then by all means you should stick to it. Getting comfortable in your job is not something you should look forward to (something which most companies can offer) and if your current company continuously throws challenges at you, then you can bet, it could be the best place for you to be at.
What your views say — Have you come across a different mindset while talking to execs or do you feel different about long tenured employees??