My Executive


    Aug 27, 2013

    Stay curious and open to change

    Ask The Career Coach: A monthly series on career and workplace issues

    Q&A with OCBC Bank's head of learning and development CASSANDRA CHENG

    Q: I'm approaching 40 and my current job is the first one I've had since I graduated from university. I am happy and have no plans to find a new job. What do employers think of employees who stay with a company for a long time? Do they, after a while, take such employees for granted? And what can such employees do so that they don't short-change themselves by staying in the same job?

    A: It's great to hear that you are happy with your job. It usually means that you are passionate about what you are doing, have the skills to do the job well and feel that you are contributing to the organisation.

    What is more important than tenure with an organisation is what you have achieved professionally during your stay - your growth in depth and breadth of knowledge and experience, as well as how you have added value to your role in the company.

    However, when you are doing well, it is very easy to fall into a state of complacency. You risk becoming stagnant and your value-add to the organisation will start to decline. It is important to ask yourself what you hope to achieve in your career and ensure that you remain as a valuable employee.

    To grow professionally and personally, you can do the following:


    If you have not held different roles in different departments, consider exploring opportunities for an internal transfer. If your company has offices overseas, explore going for an overseas stint in a similar role for exposure.

    At OCBC Bank, we have a global internal job-posting programme where, for example, an employee who has spent years in sales has the opportunity to move to operations.

    Such a move shows your bosses that you understand two very critical parts of a business: How to boost revenue and manage costs.


    Continually challenge yourself to develop your full potential.

    For example, you could bring new ideas to your current role to increase productivity, volunteer for a cross-functional project or create a business initiative.

    Your strong institutional knowledge and established internal network are your best safety nets when you move into unfamiliar territory.

    The organisation will value an employee who shows initiative, drive and ambition. As you ask for new challenges, be realistic and ensure you will be committed to them.


    Career training and self-development are important as today's work environment is competitive and changes constantly.

    To be successful in your career, you need to improve your skills and acquire new ones continually.

    If your company does not have a formal training programme, you should pursue external courses to update your skills.

    Stay curious and continually seek to broaden your perspective, so that you remain interested in what you do.

    Reading up and engaging in active networking are some ways to stay on top of industry news and trends.

    The bottom line is that you should show progression in responsibilities and functional breadth during your tenure with the organisation.

    Demonstrate that you are flexible, open to change and do not have a limited viewpoint or method of executing your responsibilities.

    Always ask how you can do your job better and bring value to your role in the company.

    Do you have a question related to your job, career or workplace? Send it to (with "Ask The Career Coach" as the subject header) and we will help you ask industry experts for advice.

    For information on career opportunities, visit the website of recruitment and human-resource consultancy The GMP Group at