Breaking The Myth….How Long Do You Need to Stay in a Job

After almost 13 years with Oracle, this was my last week with the company. I gave notice to my boss just before Christmas and I have been helping hand things over as best I could over the past few weeks. I posted a thank you to everyone I have had the pleasure of working with over the years here: LinkedIn Goodbye Message the other day.


The thought in my head this morning was how my own actions have made me think about ’the experts’ who claim how long you should stay in a job for or are quick to tell everyone how companies view your tenure (whether it is too long or too short or something else) when you are looking for a job. You will see some articles saying you must stay in a job 2 years, or don’t stay longer than 7 years in a role, etc…..


Image result for how long to stay in a jobThe working world is a much different place to what it was 10, 20 or 50 years ago. My dad worked for one company and retired with that same company. Me, I am still in single digits in terms of the number of companies I have worked for but I may well end up in double digits before my working career wraps up and my kids – I am not even sure what the world will look like for them, they may not even have or want to have full time roles.

There are so many articles out there with these self perceived corporate guidelines of how long to stay in a job so you are not viewed as a ‘job hopper’ or as ‘part of the furniture’. I understand the thinking of these articles but I also feel that you do not need to apply some unwritten corporate guideline to your life. The best answer I would put out there on how long to stay in a job is to follow your gut feeling. You as an individual tend to know when it is time to leave a company/role and your gut instinct is more often than not correct.


If you end up in 5 roles in 5 years that is ok, if you are with one company for 10 or 20 years that’s ok as well. Different jobs/companies serve us differently at different times in our lives. The old school mentality of job tenure is shifting rapidly in today’s workforce.


This post below from Inpower Coaching and subsequent photo I think is really well written and is a very level headed approach to the question, how long to stay in a job.
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The point that I would note is to not make rushed, emotional decisions about your role/job/company. In my experience I have seen people (from graduates to executive level) change jobs based on rushed, emotional decisions rather than working out what it is they want to do, taking the time to evaluate their current situation and then making a level headed decision on their career weighing up all the information they have.


This is where if you change companies 5 times in 5 years and you are doing the same role each time – maybe it is not the companies that you have worked for that is a problem, but maybe in this example you have not sat down and worked out what it is you are looking for and then searched for that type of role. You may be taking on roles that you may know deep down you may not want to do (I hope that makes sense).


I am not the only person finishing work with their company this week, I am fortunate as I could not have finished on better terms with my boss. I have seen a number of similar posts as mine from people finishing up from all kinds of companies giving thanks to everyone.


People resign from companies every day and the world keeps on turning, if you find you are asking yourself how long should I stay in this job, make sure to take a level headed and logical approach to the question. A calm and measured approach will keep you from making any rash decisions. The answer is individual to you, it should be as long the role you are in works for you, not because of what others may or may not think of how that looks on your resume.

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