Just how long should one stay in a job?
With many people looking to change jobs in early 2017, as is the case at the start of every year, perhaps some of them should heed the points to be made around job tenure.
When is acceptable to leave?
The question is tricky as it depends on the circumstances. Often, a job seeker with more experience, having worked at more companies, is better suited to be hired. Of course, if the candidate’s CV states eight different jobs in only four years, that would be cause for concern. References could help decide, but doing many references isn’t necessarily going to tell you what you need to know.
But as one answer on Quora points out, the best time to leave a job, specifically if it’s your first, is when you’ve stopped learning anything or reaching closer to your goals. While companies generally want you to stay on, often it’s not about them, but about you.
Sometimes shorter is fine
Therefore, the question: “How long should one stay in a job?” does not have a simple cut-and-dry answer, then. Excluding contractors, who could work for a few days to many years at a company, some industries don’t mind how long you’ve worked with them or others.
Add this to the following wisdom: If you are not happy in any job, you should simply leave. For many, those words are like a golden rule. Others would rather wait it out and hope things improve, but there is little doubt that if you haven’t been at the company for long, you need a very good reason why you could no longer bear to stay.
When is it too long?
For many job seekers, above five years has become the maximum they feel they would stay at one job. But if the company changes, the job description changes and a host of other changes occur, you could rightfully and happily stay at the same company for much longer.
However, if you aren’t gaining anything by staying, there is no need to rush into finding a new position. Speak first to your employer and explain how you feel, what you (reasonably) want in your job and why things have become what they are currently. If he or she is a good boss and you are a good employee, they will try to sort things out, even if it takes a little while. It’s always better to stay in the same job, because the other option is often more risky and much more time-consuming. The search for a new job should in any event be a continuous, ongoing project.
In conclusion, in most cases it doesn’t matter how long one stays in a job?, provided there is a good reason and the industry is one that accepts it. That said, you will not learn much in a new position if you leave within a year, so perhaps it is in your own best interests to stay at least two years, if not more. Otherwise you could find most of your precious interview time being used up explaining why you left each time.