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Know where you're headed
Bob Bailey
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
My father’s words still ring in my ears, “Always leave a company in a better position than it was when you got into it.”

When I joined AT&T to head the Microelectronics Division, we were a small group. But we ramped quickly and accomplished some amazing things. When I left, the division was making a significant contribution to the company's revenue along with noticeable profitability. How do you determine the ideal time to switch jobs or companies? If you think that your professional growth has reached the saturation point, then it's time for you to step over.

A successful career is based on momentum so switching from one job to another is essential but there are key considerations you need to take into account before you make a change. Try to place yourself within these three parameters-the people with whom you are going to work, professional growth, and the compensation. Without the first two aspects, there is no hope of achieving the third one, monetary success.

It is important to have a winning team to work with after you switch companies; otherwise you can't be a winner. It usually takes about two years to learn a new process and execute it. The first year is an investment from the company's side to train its employee and the second year is for the employee to show his or her potential to the company.

Now the question is, is it beneficial to join a big company at the beginning of a career or join a startup? The advantage of joining bigger companies is that they provide excellent training, good process knowledge and management style, which helps you to standout when you join a startup company. There are significant benefits to joining a mid-size or smaller company because you can get exposed to different types of work and responsibilities that you may not get in a larger operation. However, it boils down to one’s own choice and circumstances. It is your instinct that needs to guide you.

In my opinion, you have to reinvent yourself multiple times over the course of a career to help you learn new or specialized areas where you may want to venture next. In addition to the ability to reinvent yourself, you need to be constantly updating your knowledge.

Don't be reluctant to learn something new that will help you in your career path. Finally, set goals for yourself and visualize where you want to be in five years down the line. Although setting the right goals is not easy-it requires planning and specialization; and it helps you stand out in the crowd.

Bob Bailey, CEO, PMC - Sierra was in Bangalore to inaugurate the his company’s India Design Center and participate in the Thought Leadership Forum organized by the Indian Semiconductor Association.
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