For most people, a career carved out in one company is no longer a reality, or an option. Gone are the days of our parents' generation where 25 years long service awards were the norm. Be it an increased level of ambition, curiosity or belief that your resources and skills are more valuable than that of another's; people are becoming increasingly receptive to new opportunities in the marketplace.
So how do you draw a distinction between a "rolling stone" and someone who is ambitious? What is it about you as an individual that makes you a lucrative commodity to a company, and how do you decide when it is a good time to make a move?
"These are all incredibly important question's one should ask when embarking on a career change." says Lindsey Wessels - Marketing Recruitment Consultant at RecruitMi. "Agreeably, all people have certain ambitions in life that they want to fulfil, and surely it cannot be disputed that no person would want to stay in the same position they occupied when they first began working. That being said, someone who is continuously looking for the next best thing could inevitably be doing themselves a serious injustice." Wessels goes on to say: "If, for arguments sake, you have a career spanning ten years at ten different companies, a potential employer would consider that you would be a poor investment." Considering the vast amounts of time and money that would be channelled into your training and development, it would be foolish for them to take on a candidate who might jump ship at the sniff of a better opportunity.
In contrast, do you stay at a company in the hope that one day you will ultimately achieve the ever elusive Directorship or Exco position? What would be a realistic amount of time to allocate to a company to achieve your personal ambitions? Wessels says that what does need to be considered is the frequency of increases, performance bonuses and promotions. If you have been at a company for three to five years and you can see from the rate of promotions among colleagues and yourself that growth within the company is limited it would be fair to consider a change. Before making a hasty decision though, it may be wise to speak to one of your superiors and ask what the potential for growth within the department is and what other avenues are available in the company that you could explore that might satisfy your need for growth. It is not to say that you should not be looking at this stage, but this would merely serve to ensure that you have explored all possible avenues and have not made a decision in hasty dissatisfaction.
Lindsey Wessels advises that the more sensible option would be to speak with someone who could help you increase your responsibilities within the company and ultimately contribute to personal and company growth. "In a visionary company there will always be someone who is interested in growing your talents and helping you realise your true potential."
The key in South Africa is to upskill our working force and increase learning and development opportunities. This starts with the individual employee and employer. It is often very worthwhile to take on a new opportunity at a new company, however sometimes the potential for an exciting change is right at your front doorstep - the key is to see the opportunity.