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How I’ve stayed fulfilled at one company for 20 years
Earlier this month, I celebrated my 20th anniversary of working for PageGroup. That’s a long time in a world where changing jobs every few years is considered normal, yet I feel like I’m thriving in my professional life as much as ever.
People often view someone wanting to progress up the career ladder as a positive attribute, and the desire to stay with one company as a negative one, or something which stifles career development. The two approaches are not mutually exclusive, though.
I, and many others, have experienced fantastic career growth and job satisfaction by choosing to embrace the opportunities that a single dynamic and progressive company can offer.
Staying challenged and interested after so long with the one business is not just possible, it can be incredibly rewarding. For me, the benefits of staying comes down to a few key points which encourage long term growth and successful relationships between company and staff.
PageGroup is a company with clear and consistent values. They’re things I identify with and believe in at a personal level as well as a professional one, so it’s always been a natural fit.
Wherever I’ve worked in the company, I’ve been fortunate to be part of building a team that shares these values, namely: we make a difference; we are passionate, we value determination, we enjoy what we do, and we work as a team.
I’ve enjoyed working with likeminded people around the world that operate from those same core values as I do. It may seem clichéd, but our company culture is strong because everyone’s work stems from this foundation.
In 20 years with PageGroup, I’ve had ten promotions, geographic moves or role changes. Those opportunities have found me in every instance, and because of them I’ve always felt that I’m progressing and doing new and different things in my career.
I also work in a company that’s always supported learning opportunities, from internal training and development to amazing offers to take up external training. I’ve attended the world’s top-ranked business school in Barcelona, had personal coaches, and reported in to some great people who’ve actively contributed to my professional growth.
My colleague Brodie McDougall is a fellow ‘stayer’, having been with the company for 14 years. Like me, Brodie hasn’t just stayed in one place or one job during that time. He’s worked in various roles in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney and Perth, taking on new opportunities to grow professionally with each move. As well as the obvious benefit of progressing through the ranks and being tapped on the shoulder for ever more senior roles, Brodie says investment in his development through constant training and coaching is a major benefit to remaining loyal to a single company.
When you remain in one company and show you’re capable of high performance, there are often more and faster opportunities to progress, because you’re not having to learn a business and become a known member of the team as you move from one thing to the next.
It’s easy to progress in your career one step at a time, by making moves to leave one business and join another. But if you want to go from being, say, a manager to a managing director, assuming you’re working for a high-quality business which can offer such opportunities, I’d argue you could progress more quickly by staying with one organisation. You know the business and they know you, and the trust that’s built on that is an integral part of moving up to very senior management.
Long-term planning and bigger wins
Short term wins are important, but I’d argue that having some long-term career goals, and the support of an organisation which is willing to help you achieve them, will offer a sweeter reward over time. From a management perspective, it’s also better for the growth of the business to have staff who can see and implement long-term vision.
I’m going to use a sports analogy to highlight this point: some professional team sportspeople are one-team players for most of their career, while others move around for the best club or paycheque. The values that the one-team players have, make them loyal, committed contributors for the longer term. They instil their values into their club as a whole, and they tend to be credited as an integral part of the team’s success when it does well.
A solid, core group of one-team players can greatly enhance a side’s chances at the big wins, too. Hawthorn’s AFL team took out a ‘three-peat’ of consecutive premiership wins from 2013-2015 - only the fifth side to bear this honour in the league’s history - and did so with seven of the players on its 22-man squad having been with the team for their entire careers.
Another of my 20+ year colleagues, Adrian Oldham, also advocates for the benefits of the long-term knowledge and goals which come from staying with a company.
“Time provides experience and insight which drives knowledge, and your plans are more likely to be listened to and actioned,” he says.
The pride you have in an organisation you’re with for a longer time is always going to be much greater than if you’ve worked with a number of organisations over that same period of time. You can think in greater depth about what you’re doing, and have a broader perspective of the business and your career instead of just chasing short-term wins.
Long tenures don’t mean a long time in the same role
If someone suggested you, or I, should spend 20 years doing the same job in the same place with very little change, I’d agree that’s a crazy prospect, and not in a good way.
While in the past people were more accepting of a job for life, I’d find it incredibly unrewarding. A long tenure with the same company doesn’t always look like that anymore, though.
Over the span of my 20 years in the company, I’ve worked in ten offices spanning four continents, doing very different things and in very different roles, enjoying progression and promotion all the way. That’s not 20 years of anything like the same job.
The common denominator might be PageGroup, but the opportunities, growth and rewards mean it’s never felt like being stuck in the same place for an entire career. I’ve enjoyed not just fantastic career progress, but also trust and flexibility in my work.
I know I’m not alone in thinking that a lengthy stint in one business can offer plenty to keep you challenged. My colleague Melanie Wallace, for instance, says two of the biggest reasons she enjoys working for the company are the career growth opportunities and the trust placed in staff to make flexible work arrangements.
The next decade
I don’t like to think too far ahead of time, but a huge benefit of spending a long time in one business is that you get to follow their vision and progress. There’s never a shortage of goals to set for your own or the company’s growth.
I expect the next several years will see the continuing rapid expansion of PageGroup’s Australian and New Zealand business to become the most trusted and valued recruitment partner in the region.
Beyond that, who knows? We service 36 countries and counting in our portfolio, so there are endless ways to remain motivated, inspired and growth-minded here while enjoying the long-term benefits of success and opportunity in one company.
Want to work for a company that provides a clear pathway to success and endless opportunities for promotion based on merit? Learn more about working for Page here.