Don’t Job-hop – Rise to the Top
There is the saying “People join a company but leave a boss”. For me, this is a bit like leaving a spouse or partner for gaining some weight. While we are not married to the company, why not take this as a metaphor? Marriage contracts and employment contracts🤝 alike are based on initial attraction and mutual chemistry, committing to a high degree of loyalty. Since divorces and employee turnovers are on the rise, are we lacking loyalty? – Or are we just giving up too early?
I would leave you with your own thoughts and answers to these provocative statements. For my part, I stayed 21 years with one company, which all started with the one and only interview I had after my graduation. To my surprise, all my friends shook their heads, stating I should have checked my market value and tested the field before saying “yes” to the first offer. However, I felt good about the company🏢, its environment, and most importantly the way how I was treated from the very beginning. What followed, is an amazing journey from in-house consulting, working onsite with McKinsey, to benchmarking project leader and further into several manager roles in operations. Heading the finance of a business unit lead me to the assignment as CFO of a region and finally to CHRO / Head of HR of a bigger region.
Did headhunters knock on the door? “Yes”, but it never felt right. Did I always have great bosses? Thankfully, the answer is “most of the time”; from hindsight, however, some of the best lessons I learned from the not-so-easy ones.
So, here are some of the behaviors that helped me to move from bottom to top without a single job hop:
➡️ Know what you stand for; know your purpose and values – and live by them
➡️ Build a character of trust, which is your best personal branding; once people know they can rely on you, you can stop looking for the next position – it will be offered to you
➡️ Have a mentor in a senior leadership position, ideally at least one level higher than your direct leader
➡️ See the “difficult” leader as an opportunity to grow yourself; try to understand why the person acts these ways, and try to see the potential good intentions behind the awkward behavior
➡️ Don’t go just by your job description; always do a bit more than required and be helpful to the people around you
➡️ Have a “what can I do for the company” mindset rather than a “what can the company do for me” mindset
➡️ Learn to say ‘No’👎 to urgent matters to be able to say ‘Yes’👍 to the important matters
➡️ Join cross-functional projects; this allows you to get insights into other functions while also showing your capabilities outside your function
➡️ Be part of volunteering activities
➡️ Stay humble, however high you rise – and never forget where you came from
Having said this, there are surely reasons to leave a company. For instance, a toxic company culture or company purpose and values that don’t match yours.
The decision to leave a company, however, should never be driven by one person. Don’t give up too early. Make yourself so valuable that the company can’t afford to let you go. On your professional progress, focus more on the person you become rather than on the positions you behold.
Name: Alexander Trost
Position: Founder & Owner