This is Controversial But Changing Companies is Good for Your Safety Career
It’s a common belief that loyalty pays off in the long run. And that in order to succeed in your safety career, you’ll have to find a good company, get in and stay there to climb up the corporate ladder. Even my parents believe this to be true.
However, that does not hold true now, and this can be a mistake that will hold you back as a safety manager. Let’s talk about the reasons why and what you can do to make that jump.
Labor Laws Favor Company Rights
Before I start off with reasons why changing companies is good, let me say that I’m not against loyalty to the company. If you’re content with where you are currently and with what you’re currently doing to show your value to the company, then it’s fine. What matters is that you’re content and happy. But this topic is for those that are still seeking more opportunities.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s continue. The reason many people believe that loyalty pays off, especially the previous generations, is because of the labor laws that exist before and now.
Way, way back, companies couldn’t remove employees easily. But now, laws have changed. It’s become more favorable to companies. Employers now have the power to remove employees. And, depending on the state, some companies can even remove employees for no reason.
In other words, employees now are treated like disposable tools. How does that make you feel? Does it make you want to work harder and stay loyal to a company? Personally, knowing that, I don’t feel secure. Especially if I’m working underpaid.
Companies Offer More to New Employees
Because of the changes in the laws, companies now have a lot more flexibility when it comes to hiring people. And because of that, companies can offer more to people they want to invite. That means better benefits, a higher salary, and additional bonuses. This means that for the same position and responsibilities that you have, a newly hired employee can earn more than you.
Sounds unfair right? But it happens in real life. Personally, I’ve witnessed new employees come in for the same position I’ve had with a higher salary and better benefits. There was even a case where four people replaced me because of the heavy workload I had.
Considering all of this, if you’re aiming for fast safety career growth, it’s not a wise anymore to stay loyal to a company. Instead, it’s better to keep moving from company to company; building experience along the way.
That doesn’t mean that you’ll go job hopping, annually changing jobs. I personally recommend staying in a company for 3 years at a minimum before moving on to the next one.
So, in summary, changing companies is good if you’re aiming for fast career growth. Do keep in mind that aside from the years you’ve spent in a company, you need to learn skills that you need and produce braggable results along the way that will make other companies want you more.
How Changing Jobs Can Help Your Safety Career
Safety Brye: [00:00:00] When I was growing up, my parents told me that all I had to do to succeed was to get in with a good company and work my way up. That all the good stuff would be coming my way. My loyalty to the company would pay off. In the long run, you have to start from the bottom and work your way up. Well, it's time to throw that old time thinking to the side.
Let me tell you how things really work. Let's get to it.
Hey there, safety friends. Welcome to the Safety Geek Podcast. I'm Brye Sargent CSP and 20 year Safety Professional. After spending years training safety leaders across the globe for a large corporation and creating safety programs from the ground up over and over again, I am now sharing my processes and strategies with you. At the Safety Geek, you will learn how to manage an effective safety program
[00:01:00] that increases your management support, and employee engagement, all the while helping you elevate your position and move up in your career. If you're ready to step into the role of a safety influencer and leader, you're in the right place.
Let's get to it.
Hello. Hello. Hello. My safety friends. Today may be a bit of a rant. But it is well warranted. I think too many people have been given some really bad information, and I keep seeing this play out even with my current clients and even within my own family. So today I wanna bust a myth, and that myth is you should stay with your company long term.
Look, I know that companies want people to stay long term. They don't wanna be hiring a new safety person every few years. I get that. That's why they ask that question. Where do you see yourself in five
[00:02:00] years? Go ahead and answer the question like, you're gonna be there, but in the back of your mind, please know that you really shouldn't be there in five years.
You know? And unfortunately, most companies, they may want people to stay long-term, but they don't appreciate what they already got until it's gone. So if you're finding yourself stuck in the same level, but you actually wanna move up, or if you're the lowest paid friend in all of your group of safety friends, it may be time to make a change.
Because here's the deal, back in the day, there was loyalty to the company and loyalty to the employees. I mean, just watch Mad Men and you can see how people would climb that corporate ladder, and I believe that the change came with the change in labor laws that favored company's right to fire employees for no cause or with very little penalty. And I'm not
[00:03:00] against that. I mean, as a business owner myself, I want the right to hire and fire employees as I see fit, right? But this also means that the company can very easily replace you. And when I say that, when I say you are replaceable, how does that make you feel? What does it make you wanna do? Does it make you wanna hunker down and work harder and accept the lower wage because you're grateful for the job that you have?
Or does it bring up fear of losing your job, that if you screw up, you're replaceable? Now, there are plenty of ways that you can fireproof your career to make it so that if you do lose your job, yeah, it may suck, but it's not the end of the world. You just go get another one. But that's not what I'm talking about here today. Today we're talking about the fact that companies tend to pay new hires
[00:04:00] more than they pay their current employees. They tend to give new hires. The better titles, the better benefits. To entice them to come work for their company where you who have shown loyalty to the company and have been there for a while, don't get those same benefits.
And what we see in organizations today is that they're doing everything they can to attract the best talent. They'll use wages, bonuses, benefits, and then they cross their fingers and hope that their best choice, the person that they truly want, accepts the opening. But once that person has accepted that role, that role tends to stagnate because they had to do all this stuff in order to get that person there, right?
So yeah, that person may get the annual performance increases or cost of living increases. But once you're in, what you realize is your benefits can
[00:05:00] change. Your bonuses can change. Yeah, you've got your salary and the wages that they promised you, but those may even stagnate because they had to give so much in order to get you there, and you likely accept it because you like the job, you like the people, you like the work.
I hear that a lot. They're feeling secure. They don't wanna make changes. Right. But now it's 10 years later and you're still there. Your income prospects are now tied to that job. Whatever your income is, is whatever that job is gonna give you for income. So if they choose not to give you a cost of living wage, then you're stuck.
If they choose to just give you the bare minimum performance raise, then you're stuck. Your upward mobility is now linked to that company, so you either have to wait for someone to quit or wait for someone to retire, but unfortunately, what I end up seeing is that when that higher
[00:06:00] position, when that person quits or that person retires, what I tend to see all too often is that when that promotion comes available, if they're doing what they're supposed to be doing within labor laws, right, they post the job publicly for everybody to see, and then you end up competing with outside applicants.
And too many times companies are hiring the outside applicants because that's what's best for the company. They want the fresh eyes. They want the fresh ideas. They want somebody to come and like fresh blood to bring into the role. We see that all the time. We don't want the same that we've had for the last 10 years.
We want something new better. We wanna jump in our results. And unfortunately, what ends up happening is that person that they hired outside the company for this new role, they actually end up paying them more than you, more than they would've paid you if they'd given it to you, because once again, they're throwing everything at them in order to get them to say yes to the
[00:07:00] job offer. You know, they're throwing the wages, the bonuses, the benefits, right? And then the cycle continues. That person comes into the job. And then the job stagnates. So it ends up becoming this repeatable cycle. So if that's the way that the job market is working right now, how are you to reach your career goals?
How are you going to break this cycle? And if you haven't guessed it, it's changing companies. It's being that new hire at another company, it gives you that bump in salary. So changing companies I know can be very scary. And it could be very hard. You don't wanna leave your work friends, you love where you work.
You're not sure that you'll have the same job security at a new job like you have now, especially in right to Work states where they could just fire you in 90 days for no reason. I've had that done to me where someone actually hired me for a temporary position, paid me
[00:08:00] exactly what I wanted because they knew that they were gonna fire me within 90 days when the person that they really wanted for the job was available.
You're uncertain that the job will fit into your normal routine. It's like you have a routine right now. You have your morning routine. You know, you know what's gonna happen. You know what days you're working late, you know which days you're going in early. You know when the meetings are. You know everybody.
You know everything. You have a routine. Changing jobs pulls you out of your comfort zone. It is uncomfortable. That's what change is. But instead of looking at the bad stuff about changing jobs, look about all the good stuff about changing jobs or changing companies. You get upward mobility. Generally, when you go from one company to another, you can either be in the same position or you can be in a higher position.
You get to increase your experience because maybe you get to work in a new industry. You get to increase your network, you get to meet
[00:09:00] more people. Remember, in that past episode, networking is more important than anything else. Those networks will pay off in the long run, and you might get a big bump in your salary.
Where a normal performance review or cost of living raise might be, you know, two or 3%, you can end up getting a six or 7% bump, or even more going from one company to another, and you also get a change in scenery, new visions, new creativity, more opportunities for growth, because everything is new. There used to be this belief that the only way.
To get to the top of a company was to grow into it, that you had to start from the bottom and work your way up. I remember one time I was laid off from a job and I went to my mom, as we all do, right? You go to your mom after it happens and, she's like, oh my gosh, you're gonna have to start from the bottom again. And I'm like, no, I'm not very easily just go
[00:10:00] to the same position at another company. So don't ever think like, oh, you have to start from the bottom and work your way up again. You do not. It's just not the case anymore. You can easily go from working as a safety specialist in one company and then get hired as a safety manager in another company.
It's actually a career jump. It's another rung on that ladder, right? You can go from a manager to a director. You can oversee one location to overseeing an entire region. You could be doing safety in construction and go from safety and manufacturing. You don't have to start from the bottom and work your way up.
All it takes is clarity that it's time to make a change in order for you to have the courage to do so. This is one of the biggest mistakes that I actually made in my career. That I didn't realize until well into my career and that's why I'm sharing it with you. Cause I don't want you making the same mistake that I made.
[00:11:00] I stayed with one company for eight years. I stayed with another company for 14 years and I watched others and friends within my network hit their career milestones while I stayed stuck where I was and sit back going, well, I'm just waiting for them to promote me. I'm waiting for them to promote me, and I would apply.
They would hire from the outside, and I never quite saw what was going on until I finally landed into a role where I was hiring the safety managers myself. When I realized what was happening and what happened was that every time I quit a job or I changed a role, I would sit back and watch my replacement.
The person that that was hired to replace me get paid more than me. Even though I was told I was topped out, they couldn't gimme any more money, but somehow they found another 10 grand to pay my replacement. Saw that happen. I even saw at one
[00:12:00] place where they actually had to hire four people to replace me because the amount of my workload where they couldn't afford to give me a raise, but they could afford to hire four people to replace me, and then in the hiring process.
I saw how applicants that worked at multiple companies and that they had moved up in their job roles between all those different moves that they were given preference over the people that showed loyalty to one company. So what I found in my experience is that changing companies is actually the secret to faster career growth.
So yeah, you can get into a company, And work your way up within that company and maybe get to the highest level that you wanna get to within that company over time. But let's say that highest level is like a director or VP position, you could do it even faster
[00:13:00] if you just changed companies and every time you changed, you moved up. One more rung. One more rung, right? So changing companies is the secret to faster career growth. Now you don't wanna be a job jumper. That doesn't mean you're changing jobs every year, every 18 months. You do have to show some stability and you have to show some growth within those changing of jobs. So you wanna be strategic in what you're doing, but instead of thinking with your current role that, Hey, I'm gonna be at this company forever.
I love it here. I love my work friends. I love being here. Instead, think I'm gonna be here for three years. Give yourself a three year limit, no matter where you are and what you wanna do after that. But give yourself three years. And when you say I'm only gonna be here for three years, it gives you the opportunity to go, what can I learn and what can I accomplish in that time so that way I can brag about it later on. It gives you that chance to build up a track record. One of the things that
[00:14:00] I teach in our continuous improvement intensive, as well as in Safety Management Academy, is that you wanna have that track record of results and you wanna start building up that portfolio so way you can easily fireproof your career.
I know this topic may be controversial. I know a lot of people, including some of my students in Safety Management Academy, who love where they work and they are happy where they are, and that is great. If you don't have loftier career goals, that's fine, stay where you're at. But I also know there's a large percentage of people out there that are underpaid right now, and that there's a large percentage of people that are maybe stuck at a lower level position when they really wanna be at that higher level position.
So building up that track record of results, creating systems and processes that work at any company that you work for. Is crucial so that way you can change companies,
[00:15:00] change roles, change industries about every three to five years with the goal of moving yourself forward towards that dream job. So I hope that gives you something to think about.
I hope that helps. It is probably one of my biggest pieces of advice that I give people when they say that they wanna move up, but they've been where they are for so long. I'm like, it's time change jobs. Gotta change. I know I might be harsh sometimes too, but that's where I'm gonna leave you today. Make sure you think about it.
Look at where you currently are, look at where you want to be and gain some clarity on what you need to do. And I will chat with you next time. Bye for now.
Hey, if you're just getting started in safety or you've been at this for a while and are hitting a roadblock. Then I wanna invite you to check out Safety Management Academy. This is my
[00:16:00] in-depth online course that not only teaches you the processes and strategies of an effective safety management program, but how to entwine management support and employee participation throughout your processes.
Are you ready to finally understand exactly what you should be doing and ditch that safety police hat forever? Then you have got to join me and your fellow safety scholars over at Safety Management Academy. Just go to thesafetygeek.com/sma to learn more and to get started. That's thesafetygeek.com/sma and I will see you in our next students only live session.
Bye for now.
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Highlights From This Episode:
- Staying Long Term In A Company To Advance Your Career Is A Myth
- Why Companies Give More Benefits And Opportunities To New Hires
- How Changing Companies Can Give You Better Career Advancement Opportunities
- Changing Companies Is The Secret To Fast Career Growth
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
I know this topic may be controversial. I know a lot of people, including students in Safety Management Academy, who love who they work for and are happy where they are. And that’s great.
But if you have loftier career goals. Then it’s time to start being strategic.
Build up a track record of results, create systems and processes that work in any company you work for, and change companies, roles, and industries every 3-5 years with the goal of moving closer to your dream job.
Hi, I'm Brye (rhymes with sky)! I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience. Specializing in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture, I have trained and coached many safety managers, just like you, on how to effectively manage workplace safety in the real world. I would love to help you too.