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Why You Don’t Have to Switch Companies to Get Ahead in Your Career

Feb. 2, 2017

A millennial weighs in

The “new normal” for millennials is to hold four different jobs before the age of 32, according to CNN. That’s almost twice as many job moves as the generation before.

In my own career, I’ve had ample opportunity to grow, try new things, join different teams and even live in new places — the motivating factors that usually drive people to switch companies. But I’m a rare breed: a millennial who has been employed by the same company for more than five years. And I have no plans to leave.

You don’t have to choose between a steady company and different career experiences. The key is to stick with one organization that freely allows its employees to move between its own business segments, while keeping an eye toward evolving and building a career in the process. Here are three key things to think about when looking for a company worth committing to.

Make global mobility a priority.

If you aren’t 100% sure of the path you want to go down, apply for jobs at global organizations that offer opportunities to try different job functions, or companies that offer rotational programs. Since joining my company, Mars, I have lived in Chicago, New York City and Melbourne, Australia — all over the course of three years. I not only lived in these three amazing different cities, but I also held different positions in marketing and sales, which ultimately led me to my role as a brand manager. And even though I love my current job, I know that the company will support me if I want to try something new or live somewhere else.

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Understand a company’s values and try to match them to your own.

When I was first applying to jobs, I wanted to find an organization that valued entrepreneurialism and innovation and would leave me feeling proud of where I worked. Signing on with a company whose mission and values matched my personal ideals was a top priority. It’s easier to commit to an organization for the long haul when you find one that you truly believe in.

Make your job part of your life.

Work-life balance is important, but you should also take advantage of the ways your job can positively influence your personal life. Make sure your work environment — and co-workers — feel like a good fit. Believe me, it’s worth it: the people in my company have become a family away from home for me, and I strongly believe that immersing myself in a positive and supportive workplace has been crucial to my success.

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One of the first things we do with a new manager at my company is to chart out a growth path, which includes figuring out what your next job will be. Feeling so supported by my managers and colleagues has made me want to stick around and reciprocate that support for many years to come. So, here’s my tip to employers: Don’t write off your millennial workers as flashes in the pan. Offer opportunities for them to grow and develop their careers from within. They’ll work harder — and stay longer.

Debbie Litow is a Brand Manager at Mars Chocolate North America.

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