In the February 1, 2011 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a reader is pretty happy at work, and wonders about sticking around:
I have been with the same company since college graduation: nine years. The company was a small start-up and has grown to become profitable. It provides average benefits with somewhat below-average salary. I have had opportunities to leave (job offer in hand) in the past, but have decided to stay with hopes of the company continuing its growth. I see many people bouncing from one job to the next for professional challenge and career advancement. Should I consider “moving on?” Or should I stay with good chances of being “in the right place at the right time?” Let me know your opinion. Thanks.
Here’s the short version of my advice: (For the entire column, you need to subscribe to the free weekly newsletter. Don’t miss another edition!)
After nine years with the company, I’d hope your management would welcome a discussion about the future. You’re certainly loyal, and it’s prudent to express your interest in the company’s goals since they will affect you profoundly.
My suggestion: Request a meeting with the president or CEO of the company. (If you worked for a big company, I’d suggest the head of your division or operation.) Invite him (or her) to lunch. This might seem odd, but it’s not at all. You have invested a lot in this company. You need to keep track of its progress like you would any company you own stock in.
At lunch, explain that you have been thinking about the company’s future direction, and you’d like to know what the CEO thinks. Don’t let on that you’re considering making a job change. If the CEO is smart, he’ll figure it out, but he’ll also see that you’re approaching your own future intelligently: by trying to assess the company’s future.
Here’s a suggestion about How to Say It: “I know there are certain things you can’t discuss, but I’m trying to get a feel for where the company plans to go over the next five years, and how someone like me would be impacted by those plans. A lot of people just get up and leave a company because they don’t know what the future holds. I feel like I’m part of a family here, and I care about our future, so I’d like to learn more about this from you.”
Most people never bother to talk to The Big Boss before they decide to move on. The Big Boss is probably more approachable than you think. Ask your questions. Make sure there is a future there, rather than “more of the same” (unless that’s what you really want). That’s how to figure out whether you should stay put. The best person to ask is the one at the top of your company.
I like it when a person tries to find good reasons to stay put, rather than try to change jobs quickly out of desperation. If you feel like you’re in the right place, but also feel a bit itchy, sometimes the best way to scratch the itch is to go talk to your bosses…
What’s made you decide to stay put? Are you glad you did?
What information was helpful in making that decision? How did you obtain it?