While I anxiously anticipate my Valentine posting from Amy (and my President’s day one, and my St. Patrick’s day one…) I thought I’d venture into the world of job retention. Specifically, how you can take an active role in retaining your own employment with a company. Yes, yet another reminder that you are personally responsible for your own career.
Of course, much of the thoughts I have on this subject are not necessarily based on things I’ve done right. In fact, I’ve only just recently passed the five-year mark at Oracle and that isn’t 100% accurate given that two years were spent at PeopleSoft before being acquired.
One of the many surprises I found upon joining the development team at Oracle, was how many people have over 10 years with the company. In high tech, this is very unusual. In fact, I have encountered more seniority at Oracle than even at PeopleSoft which had an excellent reputation for retention. This joins a long list of merits of Oracle as an employer that were not widely publicized, probably a subject for another blog.
So, what is the secret? I’m probably not giving away any trade secrets when I say that it’s probably not the pay, nor is it an environment without conflict or setbacks. I think that a key element is opportunity for personal development. Environments that attract smart people are excellent places to grow.
In fact, when I talk to people who have had long careers (10-20 years in high tech) with a single company, they are often quick to point out that they had held several different jobs, roles, or focuses over their tenure. So, if you are wondering about how to keep yourself retained in your current company and engaged in what you are doing, you might want to consider giving yourself new job challenges to keep yourself growing. While it is great if your job is already setup to challenge and grow you, even the best jobs will have dry spells. It is at these times you will need to find your own path.
Suggestions: take on a side project, contribute to a cross-functional team, [gasp] start writing a blog, offer yourself up as a mentor and, of course, start setting goals for your personal development so you keep it top of mind as you progress.