Disclaimer: I have recently changed jobs and this post is basically a reflection of some of my feelings during this transition. It is not intended to reflect people or organizations of either my former employer or current employer.
I had joined my former employer, fresh from college and have worked for almost 12 years, which is probably 1/3 rd of my career.
Why did I work for so long for one company?
I have many reasons, all valid and justified from my point of view.
Should someone work for so long for a single employer?
Then what is my point?
My point is this: there is no one single correct answer for that question. It all depends on the context.
Well, isn’t that the easy way out?
Then what am I trying to say?
I have been frustrated many times during my tenure of 12 years. I also had multiple offers outside of the organization. However, I did not take up for the fact that, either I was happy with the work I was doing or my boss convinced me to stay by promising that all my concerns would be taken care of. It is easy to get convinced, if you really do not want to leave except for a few emotional or financial concerns. I guess those were my reasons for me pursuing outside. Then something serious that shook a nation, if not entire world, happened. It made me realize how fast things could change. Today you could be enjoying a meal with a colleague or a drink with a customer and tomorrow you or the other party very well could be without a job and probably struggling for mere survival.
So, what is the moral of the story? Or bottom line?
One should realize that you are always working for “Me Incorporated”. I first heard that term on NPR (National Public Radio). It was so simple and amazing that it changed my entire perspective of what I have been doing and thinking. It is OK to be passionate and emotional about the organization you are working for. To an extent it is even required, to enjoy what you are doing. But the bottom line is that you are always working for yourself. Do what is good for you. That does not mean do only things that are good for you but harm the organization you are working for or other individuals or organizations. It only means ask the question “What is in it for me?” in whatever you are doing. The answer could be materialistic or not, but you should be always getting something out of it that will make you rich, financially or otherwise.
Hence, my fellow workers ask this question before you burn the midnight oil.
“Will this bring prospects to Me Inc.?”
If the answer is a Yes, then proceed.
If the answer is a No, break the damn light, save some oil and go to bed in the warmth of your loved ones, which is where you should be in the first place.