I interview several people a week who are looking for new job opportunities. In studying their resumes, which very often include multiple jobs lasting on average 22 months, I always wonder, why are there so many changes in their employment journey? What happened each time they chose to pursue another opportunity? When I hear that the most frequent reason for the job hops is the unfairness of their previous employer, I can’t help but wonder about their judgment in picking so many bad companies to work for, and I suspect they would feel the same way about AP within 22 months or so. Similarly, when I hear that they just simply kept finding a better opportunity over and over again, I wonder why they have been constantly looking for something new after having found something that, at the time, seemed perfect. I suspect that many of these individuals thought that the grass was always greener on the other side of the road.
In my 50 years of business experience, I have come to realize that the grass is not greener on the other side and that one would be far better off to work hard to make himself or herself more valuable to a current employer instead of starting from scratch over and over again with someone new. There are many studies on this topic that support this approach. In the book Tipping Point, the author emphasizes that it takes about 10,000 hours for someone to become really good at his or her job, and in less than that timeframe, their contribution will not realize its maximum potential. 10,000 hours works out to about 6 years. I am not suggesting that the company you choose to work for is a slam dunk every time, but you should not be wrong in picking bad places to work for multiple times.
I personally believe that you should try with all you have to make a job work out, even when it is initially difficult. Sometimes, all you need is just time to master your new role and prove yourself – you have a learning curve – or you need to learn how to adapt and operate in the new organization; you need to find its beat. And yet sometimes, you need to find a more fitting role within the same organization, in another area or department to better match your skill set. But you should not give up.
In the last couple of weeks, we had two associates celebrate their 10th anniversary with AP, which is quite remarkable for a company that is just 10 years old itself. Both of these associates continue to make significant contributions to our mission and each year, they are becoming increasingly more valuable to AP. I am so proud of them and their deep commitment to our company. All of you have joined AP with high expectations and are learning how AP operates. You know that one of the core beliefs of our organization is constant improvement and raising the bar to reach higher goals. That is how we grow and win for our partner universities. To continue on this pathway of success, we need each of you to continue helping AP improve, making it a better company in how it serves its partner institutions and all of its team members. In doing so, we are always going to be making our grass greener.
Thank you for all you do everyday to make AP a powerhouse and particularly, for making higher education more accessible to all of our citizens!