Note: I trashed this blog post several times. But I would like to express my point of view (hey, this is my blog. :D )
Some weeks back, I had an interesting discussion with a HR consultant. Bottom line: You ruin your career, if you stay for more than 3 years at the same company. IMHO this is bullshit.
I have started my IT career, right after school, with an apprenticeship at a local IT company. I finished this apprenticeship three years later, and my employer offered me a position as IT-Technician. Until 2004, I changed my employer three times. There were good reasons for each change. I learned pretty much in these years. The last change took me to my current employer. I have started as a Technical Consultant in October 2004. Today, thirteen years later, I’m leading the consulting and services business unit. There is a good chance I will not leave this company until retirement. At least not for the same or similar job role.
But is it a good idea to work for such a long time for the same company? What about challenges, motivation, perspectives, and income? How can you develop yourself, if you are working for the same company for such a long time? Isn’t this boring?
Challenges are important. They help us to develop ourselves. Sure, customer projects can be challenging. But that is not what I mean. The biggest challenge, that we are all facing, is our job! Technology is changing so fast, and it will never stop. I’m a infrastructure guy. I don’t think that I have to explain how things like virtualization or cloud have changed the way we build infrastructure. “Never stop learning” is one of the biggest challenges in our job.
Money is a bad motivator. It motivates only for a short period of time. Once you get used to it, the motivation is gone. “Strive for perfection” – that is something that motivates me. “Strive for perfection”, regardless if it is for a project, or for your own skill set.
Is income everything? Nope, it is not. I had the chance to earn much more money. But at what price? Travelling from monday to friday, and leaving the family again on sunday? To be one of many highly skilled employees, with a manager in oversea? Ôr doing stuff I don’t want to do, just because it is well paid? That was never an option for me. What about working hours? Amount of travel? Car policy? Employer-funded pension? Having a safe job? To work for the founder of the company, and not for the shareholders. Money is not everything.
Good employees rarely remain unrecognized. Companies, that strive for sustainability, should try to promote employees. Often it is better to raise someone from the team into a manager role, than hiring someone from outside of the company. This opens perspectives for employees. Sure, sometimes you have to hire someone from outside. There are different reasons for this.
Should I stay or should I go?
It is not reprehensible to move forward, if the conditions no longer fit. But it does not have to be bad to stay with an employer, and to develop itself and the company.