Over the past week, I helped several Googlers and others think through what to do next in their careers. When speaking with people who didn’t work at Google or a different large company, we discussed next roles and next companies. However, when speaking with people who work at Google, the conversations centered exclusively on what to do next within Google.
I don’t think large companies advertise internal mobility enough when selling a position. I think internal mobility is one of the best things large companies offer to their employees. Simply due to their size, smaller companies can’t compete on this front. With the possible exception of fast-growing start-up (and, the future of a start-up’s growth is hard to judge!), small companies have fewer positions to fill overall, thus have less liquidity.
In my four years at Google before business school, I tried three different roles. Right out of college, I was a customer service agent in AdWords. Next, I sold AdWords to mid-market companies. Finally, I launched Google Fiber as an Associate Product Marketing Manager. These three roles don’t even include the 20% of my time that I spent experiencing how different teams worked (such as when I got to work with the Search Marketing team to launch Google’s 2009 Holiday WiFi campaign).
In other words: I was able to try working as a customer service agent, an ad sales rep and a marketer–all while keeping the same benefits, systems, and colleagues. Significantly, I also maintained resume consistency: I did not look like a “job-hopper” even though I absolutely hopped around to various jobs.
I’ve seen the small company side as well: after business school, I went to a start-up to lead marketing. I soon realized that acquisition marketing was not my passion, and I essentially needed to leave the company to switch disciplines.
When you are next looking to join a new company, you’ll of course focus on how excited you are about the job you’re thinking about taking. But, one other thing to think through when considering your next move is whether your new company will provide an environment where you can move around as you learn and grow in your career.