During our grandparents’ era, it was not unusual for a person to spend their entire career with one firm. Those days are long gone, with the massive changes in the workplace and the scorching pace of our globalized economy.
A recent U.S. government study reported that baby boomers — people born in the years 1957 to 1964 — held an average of 11.7 jobs between the ages 18 to 48. Changing jobs has become the norm, and hiring managers no longer see multiple employers on a resume as a warning sign or a negative.
To Change Jobs, or Not to Change?
That is the question. It might seem like everyone you know is changing jobs, taking interviews, or at least always looking for the next opportunity. What about you?
There’s nothing wrong with seeking out new job opportunities. There’s also nothing wrong with deciding to staying put for a while.
Here are a few reasons you should consider about staying at your current job:
It may not be time for you to move. Do you have a career goal? If so, what experiences do you need to achieve it? Have you exhausted all opportunities with your current employer to bolster your career portfolio? Are there additional experiences and responsibilities in your current organization that might help you become an even stronger candidate in a year or so? Speak to your manager about opportunities to develop people management, project management, or communications skills. Stay in your current position and learn as much as you can — it may enable you to land a better job later on.
You’re working with people who know you. You’re a known and proven quantity. You know the team, the business, and its systems and networks. It’s easier to build on what you already have, than to start afresh with a new organization, having to learn a new business and its systems, as well as establishing yourself with new managers and a new team. Even better, perhaps there’s a senior person — management or professional — who will be willing to mentor you and help develop your skills.
It’s easier to build your network. It’s said that for success, it’s more about who you know, rather than what you know. Connections are critical to career success and strengthening your network is a good reason to stay put. It’s a lot easier to network — through blogs, industry events and meetups, social media — if you are a recognized contributor in a respected organization.
You may be in line for a promotion. It often happens that you hand in your notice and your boss makes a counter offer. You’re in a difficult situation. First, you have to tell your prospective new employer that you’re not coming — and perhaps leave a blemish on your reputation. Second, if you stay, you may be perceived as a malcontent. Rather than be faced with this situation, why not ask for some career counseling from your boss? You may come out of that with new opportunities and responsibilities.
You’ll short change your lifestyle goals. I know we’re talking about careers, but work is not everything. You’ll probably become a calmer, healthier person — and a better employee — if you can balance your work and personal lives. Change employers and you’ll lose seniority — probably having to start with less vacation time and with a need to work even longer and harder to prove yourself with your new bosses and colleagues. Result? Less time to unwind, spend quality time with friends, family, kids, and community… You may also lose out on benefits such as tuition reimbursement and retirement savings incentives that are made available to longer-term employees.
There’s No Single Answer.
To change my job, or not to change my job? Well, there’s no single answer. It could be that an immediate change is right for you. It depends on your individual situation. Our advice is to look at a potential change from all perspectives. Make sure that you speak with your manager about your career aspirations and seek their input on your achievements and paths for development.
When you eventually make the decision to change jobs, be certain that you have taken advantage of every opportunity your current position offers to become the best candidate you can be.
Good luck in your current job — and in your next.