It is commonly believed you should not stay more than three years in the same role or more than six years with the same company if you want to grow your career and get new skills, networking, opportunities, bigger salary or a higher position.
Is it a standard though? Does this matter the most?
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
How long should you stay with one company?
I stayed with the same company for fourteen years. It’s true I was changing roles every 3-4 years and that gave me the opportunity to learn new skills, work with new teams and broaden my experience.
What made me stay? The business dynamics, the challenges, the possibilities to grow and learn, discovering new talents and sharing what I know, yet most important for me was the people and the office vibe.
They say if you get up in the morning and think “Oh, no, I need to go to work again!”, then it’s clear you don’t like that job and it’s time to move on. I know it’s hard to believe but I never had this feeling. I enjoyed weekends and vacations as much as anyone else and still loved to go to work.
I often got the advice that it was time for me to move on. Was it wrong of me to stay so long with one company?
Maybe. Had I changed my job earlier, I would have gathered new experiences, my CV would have looked richer, I would have been a better candidate for new roles, I would have earned more money.
At the same time, I don’t regret it. I had the opportunity to work as a leader of four different departments, I recruited tens of people, I worked with Baby Boomers, X, Y and even Z generations and learned what approach was the best for each employee. Some of the generation Y and Z employees would seek a career change after a few months on the job, so learning to manage the expectations of people was quite a thing during my last years with the company.
When interviewing people, I would tell them with great pride that we had many employees who stayed 10, 15, or even 20 years with the company.
Of course, this mattered less to generation Y and Z as they wanted to grab that opportunity and have some experience and then move forward. I don’t blame them.
On the contrary, exploring until you find a place that fits your values, your lifestyle, and your aspirations is the best thing to do when you are at the beginning of your career. That is until the moment you feel the need to make the next move.
Reasons for moving to a new company
There could be different reasons for making the next move.
You might feel you don’t have anything more to offer or to learn in that place; the job is not compatible anymore with your aspirations in terms of your career or you could simply feel it doesn’t fit you anymore and your place is somewhere else.
If you aim for a managerial role in the future, having experience in different departments is really helpful, so you might consider a lateral move or even several lateral moves before jumping to a decision to move to a new company.
Did I wonder sometimes how it would have been had I worked somewhere else? Of course, I did. We are curious by nature and what’s new always gets our attention.
At the same time, there are many questions to answer before being sure about the next move. You never know if it’s going to be better in terms of office vibe, relationships, or if you’ll be sharing the same vision or follow a new set of company principles.
A tale of two choices: a new employer or going on your own?
There is also the possibility to go on your own or to freelance and work with different companies. Here comes the question: would you feel the need to be part of a team, or are you OK with being on your own?
For some people the feeling of belonging is vital. Working in an environment with diverse people boosts your creativity, you learn to adapt or to react to different situations, you develop interpersonal skills and there’s always someone eager to go out for a drink with you.
Working on your own might sound challenging, but for some people, it’s the best option. You are your own boss, you are free to plan your vacations anytime you want and you can schedule your working hours whenever you wish should you seek to become more disciplined in terms of time management. As to human interactions, it really depends how extrovert you are and how much you wish to meet people or how often you want to connect with the ones you know.
Read more: Is leadership reserved only for extroverts?
In the end, what matters the most? The memories? The money you have in your account? The friends you’ve made?
How happy were you outside work when being in a certain job?
It is never too late to be what you might have been.
If you are unsure whether or not to make the next move, answer the following questions. It might give you an idea about what would be better.
4 questions to help you decide whether or not to make the next move
- Imagine your retirement day has come and you think back on your career. What would be the thing you would remember about your career that would make you happy and satisfied?
- How is the move you are planning to make supports that feeling of satisfaction that you imagined?
- What are the things you are going to gain, besides higher salary, in the new role, and what are you giving up from what you have in your current role?
- How will the new role help you to become a better person overall?
I hope answering these questions will help you find the right career path for you and I wish you good luck!
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