I have worked at the same job since I graduated from college. Most of my friends have had five or six jobs in that same period of time. A number of them have even had multiple career changes. When I tell people that I have been with the same employer since I graduated I am inevitably asked why I have never switched jobs. Interestingly, as time passes my answers have changed as has my relationship with my employer.
I interviewed in January of the year I graduated, and was sent an offer letter in March for a position starting in the summer. I was interning for a small company at the time who also offered me a job. The starting salary at the smaller organization was much larger, but I felt the overall opportunity for growth at a large company would be much higher. Although it’s true that young employees can make a larger impact in a small company, there is also a stifling feeling of low ceilings and little growth. After all, if there is only one person between you and the CEO how far up the chain can you travel?
The first few years with my employer gave me the butterflies of a new romance. I demonstrated a desire to learn and a drive to succeed right from the start. While other employees my age were performing meaningless and low level tasks, I was quickly moving into roles with greater responsibilities.
But as time ticked by I became bored with my employer, which is often the case when you find yourself performing similar tasks over and over. The itch to jump ship grew stronger, but not as strong as the desire to attain a second degree. Ultimately, company benefits paid for every penny of my advanced degree with the exception of the very paper it’s printed on. For only $100 of my own money and over $19,000 of the company’s I earned my Master’s.
With a new degree in hand the itch to leave continued to grow. By the summer of my fourth year with the company I was determined to set sail. I interviewed elsewhere and offer letters flowed in but the benefits just couldn’t compare. With each interview I convinced myself that the work elsewhere wouldn’t be better. If I had changed careers it would have been a different story, but sitting in front of a computer at Company A or Company B just didn’t seem to matter.
Another year passed and co-workers who brightened each work day began leaving. First it was just one or two, then there were many. I thought I’d give the company one last try and rotated into a few different internal positions. Something new was certainly better than the same old, same old, and for awhile it all seemed doable.
Then one day I fell unexpectedly ill. My company supported me through an often forgotten benefit… short-term disability. Many companies offer long-term disability but few will continue to pay you for months of extended leave. Not mine. The good old girl paid for an extended absence and my heart fell in love once again with the company.
As time passes this complicated relationship with my company has bred a strong loyalty. In good times and in bad it has been the solid rock that supports me. I am not certain how much longer I will stay, but I will always be grateful for all that she has given me.