Over the past 12 years, I have NOT been following that advice. I have a tendency to be very loyal to my employer; when I get a job, I dig in, get comfortable, and assume that I’m with them for the long haul. I think that’s worked out well for me overall. I’ve enjoyed my jobs, learned a lot, and built relationships that have outlasted my stays with the companies.
However, I do see colleagues of mine who have switched companies much more frequently and now seem to be ahead of me in position and pay. Naturally, there are a ton of factors that affect one’s career progression, but keeping mobile seems to offer some benefits (at least in my field of film):
Starting salary negotiation
In my spring job hunt, I researched salary negotiation for some advice. It seems that your best chances for higher pay are with your starting salary; once a company has you as an employee, you’re more locked in to getting smaller raises and it’s less likely to get a significant bump up.
Moving from a big company to a smaller one
I’ve worked for some big film studios, staying on for several long-term projects. Establishing yourself at a large company and leveraging that experience to a smaller place can be a smart move. That smaller company could want you to establish proven workflows and practices from your previous employer to their business and would be willing to pay you handsomely for it. Experience and knowledge gained while being a small fish in a big tank could be a valuable commodity to a company looking for you to be a new big fish in their small tank.
Being willing to go where the work is
Keeping mobile and being willing to move with the ebb and flow of job opportunities can prove to be a boon in your career. However, this is something many people don’t want to do. This just happened to me earlier this year with my job offer in Vancouver. It seemed like a great opportunity, but I just didn’t want to make that move to Canada. Trying to coerce myself into doing something that my heart wasn’t into just to potentially progress my career isn’t my style.
Changing jobs can be hard. And scary, stressful, full of uncertainty! It could also be the best thing you do for yourself. I’ve already started putting this adage into practice, as I feel that my new job just isn’t the right fit for me and my lifestyle. I’m aiming to be at a new gig that I love and is closer to home by the end of September. Of course, I’ll let you know how it goes…