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Time’s Up! Why 5 Years is Long Enough at Your Job

After a certain amount of time, staying at your current job starts working against you, not for you. Job-hopping isn’t a good idea, but there’s a difference between that and strategically moving your career along. Gone are the days of employees staying at the same company in the same position for 30, 40, 50 years. The culture of the times has changed and you’d better be ready to change right along with it.

The Why

If you find yourself at the same job, doing the same ol’ same ol’, for an extended period, you’re in danger.  Because of the extensive use of technology, changes happen frequently and fast in the business world. If you’re not up to date on what’s new, you’ll quickly find yourself outdated and irrelevant.

The truth is, after you’ve been at the same job for a while, you lose your ‘new’ factor. Though you may be performing optimally, the new faces may get more attention and promotions from your managers.

So, When?

What is this magic number that has such an impact on your career? Most people agree that five years is the max amount of time you want to stay in the same job at your company. This changes depending on promotions within your company. However, if you find yourself still at XYZ company, in the same job, passed over for a promotion again at year five, then it’s time for you to look for a new opportunity.

Leaving a job too soon, however, may show you to be flighty. You need your higher-ups to feel they can count on you to stick with a job for a while. It’s necessary to stay at a job long enough to do your work well, build a good reputation, and build your skills. However, avoiding stagnation and an unchallenging atmosphere is also important. That’s why year four or five is the best time to start thinking about moving on. You’ve built up a good foundation at the company, but since you haven’t been promoted and assuming there aren’t any opportunities for growth within the company, it’s time to move on.

What’s the Problem?

Like above, becoming irrelevant or out of date at a job is very dangerous. There are always new ways of doing things and new technologies to consider. If you’re not keeping up with those, then you’ll quickly fall behind.

This also impacts how others view you. If you stay at a job for more than five years without a promotion, then your boss may come under the false belief that you are content with the job you’re at.

A common reason for staying with a company is the money. The chance for a raise or a bonus can be an incentive. However, when compared with the ability to negotiate your salary and a chance at a different company for continued promotions, this fails to be a good reason to stay.

Finally, staying at a company too long can kill your career advancement. If you want to continue advancing in your career, and your company doesn’t provide for that, then you need to move on. Don’t lose sight of your goals. If your goals change, that’s fine. But if you still feel that drive to keep moving forward, then you’ll need to start looking.

Knowing when to leave your current job takes strategy and careful planning and thought. You don’t want to leave too soon, but you don’t want to leave too late, either. Keep on the lookout for what you want to do next, and be tuned in to your company’s capability for promotion.


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