Recently I just reached a five year milestone with my company. I figured this would be a suitable time to reflect on that journey. I believe sometimes the best advice and insight you can give someone is just sharing your story.
Fresh out of college at twenty-two, I started my job working at the bank the Monday after my graduation. I was excited just to have a job, let alone one in my field. This first job provided me with some professional structure, experience to platform from, and discernment about my career desires. Appropriate dress attire, scheduling meetings, e-mail etiquette, and time management are all things that were refined to a higher degree. I also came to a conclusion that I would rather work behind the scenes rather than with customers directly. Sometimes a job can be great for your career because it can determine what you really want next.
After almost two years of meeting expectations, making connections and refining my skill set I decided to search for my next internal opportunity. It was a lateral move, and I took a slight pay cut but I was better aligned for my goals and personality. My new department is energetic, the people are helpful, and they do fun things every quarter. The managers believe in providing their employees with autonomy, and there are opportunities for career growth. I had two objectives when I started my job then; master my job duties and network with my peers.
A year and a half later I made an upward move in the department and I feel very confident in my career trajectory. Over the course of my five years, I’ve seen at least five people retire after twenty, thirty, and some close to forty years of service. At the beginning of my career I never thought I could see myself being one of those people. I had an idea of jumping from company to company, chasing the biggest check that was available. But the more time I spent getting to know my peers, management, and the atmosphere around me I warmed up to the idea of staying long-term. It became less about quantity I wanted for myself and more about the quality of work I was doing and who I was doing it with.
About a month ago, my co-workers brought food and gave me a card for my five year milestone. I got an email about choosing from some sort of plaque and a few calls from other associates congratulating me. I hear talk that it’s rare with my generation that we stick with one company. That we bounce around a lot and that might be true. I can’t say that I know for sure that I’ll be choosing a thirty year plaque and planning my retirement party after years of continuous service. But I will say that the idea doesn’t seem so farfetched anymore…