Changing Jobs – Stay Or Go?
Changing jobs – How long should you stay in your current job?
In this day and age, most employees are not even aware that organisations used to have tenure incentives like a fancy watch, a toaster or at least a bunch of flowers when you reached your 20 or 25 years of service (if your organization still does…consider a career change). Our careers move at a much higher pace now and moving jobs is something that usually comes around more often than the Olympic Games.
I often speak to candidates who are not yet sure whether the time is right to move to a next career challenge. While some are ready to part ways with their employer after 2 years, others still feel that anything less than 4 years will look bad on their resume.
Within your tenure at your organization, you could characterize the following 3 phases:
- Entry (where you are eager to perform well but may not have all the necessary understanding yet of the stakeholders and the working of the organization and role).
- Consolidation (where you are really able to put to good use your knowledge gained from the new organization and the abilities and skills you bring).
- Decline (whilst still performing, you may see some first signs of ineffectiveness and less eagerness to go the extra mile).
The secret is to start looking for new horizons while you are still on your peak performance, before the decline phase is setting in.
This could be within your own organization (really this is what those one-to-one meetings with your manager are for or if it functions well in your organization talk to your Human Resource department) or by exploring the market. If you do this before your decline phase starts you will most likely be in high demand and in a very good position to negotiate.
So the next morning when you wake up tired and not motivated to go to work, take stock and consider whether it is just a temporary dip at work. It happens of course, we all have our off-days. Dig a bit deeper and you will know whether your underlying feeling is that you are ready for a new challenge. A change of environment or daily (work) activities can do wonders for your personal well being and health.
I had candidates turn down perfect new opportunities because of a feeling of obligation to their old boss and organisation. Their motivation to stay is not selfish provided that they are still able to give the job their all. Otherwise it is almost self-centered to feel that you are still better for the organization opposed to a new person who has the full energy and drive to bring it to the max…just like you will do again in your new role (internally within the organization or at your next career challenge).
So tell us, how long should one stay in a job? What is really too short a period to have on your resume or when at what point do you become part of the furniture? Getting to the point where it is time for you to explore pastures new?
Mergers and acquisitions are an especially sensitive period for deciding whether to stay or go. Read our blog post about it here.