The Fatal Career Mistake

Originally published on LinkedIn in February 2019.

“People with 15 years of experience in the same job, are people with the skills of one year of experience repeated 15 times,” said one of my very first colleagues.

During my initial working years, a colleague whom I thought was very happy and comfortable suddenly quit. She was the first ever colleague I witness shifting jobs. Despite her several years of government experience and a few international ones, her reason for leaving was the quote above.

At the time, I believed this was a given perspective, everyone must probably grasp this concept. However, as I began shifting jobs I discovered that at every company I joined there is at least one person who spent a million years doing the same job, with absolute loyalty, and complaining from being overlooked despite their incredible effort.

The most prominent example is of a senior manager—reporting directly to the CEO—driving home in tears after being told that a new managerial position above her had been created to allow the company to compete proactively in the market. Up until that moment, this manger had always been praised for dedicating long hours and generating profits.

While many would view this example as a cold move from a heartless corporation, can you really fault them? A company needs to equip itself with growers, people with a diverse skillset.

Of course, this statement can’t be generalized, given that many long-standing companies tend to remain in their comfort zone. Another reason this point is not an absolute is that sometimes a long history of dedication and the limited impact of a middle-level position supersede any skill gaps.

In summary, if you are young(ish) and plan to grow, please force yourself to move. Companies are different, even the same position at a different organization will equip you a diversity of skills.

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