Myths of the workplace: Job security and company loyalty

A tech pro learns -- the hard way -- the true worth of on-the-job experience and knowledge

I've seen a fair share of tech pros get burned by companies or bad bosses or other bureaucratic nonsense. And I've experienced firsthand that one cannot assume that job security and company loyalty exist.

I had landed a new, great job that I was excited about. I was one of the first employees of a medical information company. We began with one customer. I was in charge of the network and two servers, and I went to customer sites when they had problems.

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As time went on, we grew our customer base and hired more employees. We built a help desk, a networking group, a software support group, and a sales group. I was in charge of the networking group -- and did a little of everything from tech work to product promotion. It was not unusual for me to go out with a salesperson to help do a demo. I was in meetings with potential customers and sometimes was the one closing the deals. My future with the company looked great. I was on top the world.

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Roughly three years later, we landed a large customer with headquarters in another state and locations all over the country. I had to do a lot of traveling. At the same time, my wife was having medical issues, and my son was having some trouble in school. My travels were impacting my family. I had to make a hard decision. I looked for and eventually accepted a position with another company.

Fast-forward six months. Things were getting much better at home, and my job wasn't bad. All was well for the most part. One day, the CEO from the medical information company called me up and asked how things were going. We chatted for a little while, then he suggested we meet for lunch.

When we met, he asked if I'd be willing to come back to the company. He said he needed my experience and knowledge to further grow the company. He had recently landed a couple of really big contracts and was having trouble keeping up. I believed in the company and was excited about the work. After a lot of thinking and discussions with my family, I decided to go back.

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