Saturday, 25 March 2017

Nine years as a corporate warrior

I have been a corporate warrior for nine years, and in these nine years, I have worked for three different companies, in three very different roles. These nine years also shaped what I want from a job.

look intensely at laptop

Just recently, I received my five year award from my current company. This is my first long service award. 

Just after graduation, I started my first job. Back then, my aim was to earn as much as possible. Thus, I took the job that offer the largest pay package. My first job was a great company, but the role I was in did not suit me at all then. The first job requires that I interact with a huge number of people -- from management for approval of project and budget, to different department engineers for coordination of jobs, to contractors and technicians to request them to do a job and how to do them, and so on and so forth. When I just graduated, I was shy. Talking to so many people was a pain to me. I didn't last long in that job, and changed to another one within a year.

My second job was great, at the start. What I needed to do was within my means. I got along well with the people in the company. There, I gained the confidence to interact with the different people in the corporate hierarchy and external /internal stakeholders. But I left after three years. In fact, at the end of two years, I was actively on a job hunt, as I know there is not much future staying there. My pay has also stagnated, there isn't going to be much upward movement for me in this job. You see, I'm in a supporting role in this company, rather than being part of the company core. This made me realize that when you are in a supporting role, the amount the company is willing to spend on your development and willing to pay you is limited. Also, the company I was in was small. While a small company has its advantages, there is limits on how far you can go in the corporate hierarchy. Being enlightened by these, I set my criteria in finding my next career. With a lot more requirements this time round, finding a suitable job took time, and I took about a year, and after many many many interviews that I landed my current job.

My third job met my criteria of focusing on the core of the company. I'm a consultant, and providing engineering services to the clients is the core (albeit there are other core as well). The company is one of the Fortune 500 companies, with a good balance sheet (this is important as it means they can pay my salary and lower chance, though not no change, of retrenchment). There are many department o move to apart from the consulting role, and consulting is not the only core of the company. This company is a truly global company, as can be seen from the many colleagues I have. My manager, admin assistant and so on are in a different country. Although this may mean that for urgent matters, it may seem more troublesome, but honestly, with today's communication technology e.g. phone, messenger, skype, etc., this obstacle is easily overcome. With a global company, also means travelling. In just five years, I got to travel around Asia, Europe and USA for work and to work with people from different cultures. It was great.

But being in the same role for five years, doing similar stuff, makes me worried. What additional skills am I gaining? And with newcomers coming in, doing almost similar stuff, what makes me more desirable than them considering that I'm most likely paid more than them?

Being a corporate warriors is challenging. In good times, you can enjoy being comfortable. But when things are not going well...

Just like companies have to constantly grow to stay in the market, employees have to constantly improve to stay in the market. Once you stop growing, you start withering.


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