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How short is too short to stay at a company?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I will make this an easy thread. Most of what I do in my job is about my relationships with outside people as well as an understanding of a process that is fairly standard across the industry. In that regard, I could go anywhere and be pretty successful right away as soon as I learned the specifics of the new company (we joke that we are almost like mercenaries in this industry). that said, in 10 years of working give or take, the longest I have stayed at any one company is about 2.5 years. the reasons for my movement have been varied, but all some version of 'to better myself'. In my current position, I am coming up on 2 years. I have been getting inquiries from other companies asking me to jump ship. There are pros and cons of both. but my quandary is that when I took this position I promised myself that this would be one I stayed at longer term and yet here I am 2 years later thinking about making a move. I could make a ton of excuses why staying here is not in the cards for me, but what are your thoughts on this.

I am f'd up for moving around so much? Is this par for the course in the 2010's? Should I stay in a job I am not in love with and forgo better opportunities just to get some service time?


Thx
post #2 of 14
I only started working this past summer and my understanding is that your first two or three jobs, you can stay for the short term (i.e. less than 2-3 years) and bounce without facing many consequences.. but you said you've been working for 10 years.. so it might be concerning to be a recruiter and see your resume with 4-5 positions and 2-3 years spent in each one.

I think you should be reaching that point where you find a job that you'll stay at for a longer period of time.. say 5+ years. Maybe the next job could be that one. All this being said, it's not a bad sign that you're getting recruiters trying to poach you, so you must be doing right.

Conclusion: do whatever feels right :P
post #3 of 14
2.5 years is a pretty respectable stint. The thread title suggests (to me) you were referring to less than a year. If you're interested in the new gig, I don't see why you couldn't take it. Any prospective employer just needs to know they really need to keep you interested if they want you longer than 2.5 years.
post #4 of 14
As long as you are moving up and or have reasons to leave a job, and did not burn any bridges 2.5 years should be fine.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joffrey View Post

2.5 years is a pretty respectable stint. The thread title suggests (to me) you were referring to less than a year. If you're interested in the new gig, I don't see why you couldn't take it. Any prospective employer just needs to know they really need to keep you interested if they want you longer than 2.5 years.

+1. No kidding, we had a woman here who lasted all of 1 (one) day. The first few jobs won't be challenging enough to keep you there for over 2.5 years unless you get complacent.
post #6 of 14
Less than two years I would call short because you barely had the chance to go through one year of professional activity. A year is tolerable but as others have said, if you have many one years, it's suspicious. If it's 1-4-2-3, it works out better.

A lot of things happen in two years now so I wouldn't measure it like that. You'd have to ask yourself are you still getting what you want from the job - opportunities, compensation, etc. If you've mastered everything and there is little chance for promotion and you actually want a promotion or an international assignment rather than a stable job for personal pursuits, then you shouldn't turn down a chance at an offer. You could always say no to the other firm. Or maybe what you want is to just stay in one place because you like the coworkers or the building-home proximity or the perks or whatever, but it's for you to judge. If you get asked at it for the interview, just be honest. Unless you said you moved because they have a free vending machine, I don't think anyone will hold it against you that I stayed because I had been moving around a lot or I left because it was too long of a commute. Also take into consideration the future of the firm. If it's in an industry on a downward spiral and the corporate objective is to grow top line 20% per annum, do you really want to stay and ride it out? Or alternatively if all the executives changed or the president/CEO/whoever changed, do you want to ride out the new regime?

And there's no need to commit to an organization for a decade unless it works out for you. It's probably good to evaluate this on a quarterly basis by refreshing your career document (CV, accomplishments, etc) and looking at what you've accomplished and thinking ahead (not 5 years ahead, just ahead).

Organizations no longer have a commitment to their people anymore. A few decades ago when employees were all full-time, and you had guaranteed pension, there was a need to develop them internally. Nowdays, you're the best person to look out for yourself. Your firm, your HR department, your boss, mentor, spouse, recruiting agent or parents won't do it for you anymore.
post #7 of 14
Honestly, this question is not very answerable. So much depends on the specifics of the industry, the demographics of the people involved, the type of position, and your geographical location that there is no one answer.

You do say that you joke in the industry that you are "mercenaries" so it sounds like there is a fairly mobile corporate culture, and obviously if people from other companies are giving you serious looks then the situation is not so dire. And 2.5 years is certainly not an insultingly short period of time for just about any industry, though there are exceptions to that, too.

Still, there are counterbalances. Shorter-tenured employees can be the first to get the axe, and in this economy, that probably ought to be a consideration. Also there's the question of promotion and greater responsibilities - sometimes, to really get into the corporate suite, you need to have established a trust factor, and that doesn't happen overnight. But there are many variables in that, too.

So, I guess my advice is: 2.5 years is no insult, sounds like your industry accepts some movement, but be aware of the risks, and make sure you are really taking the long-term view for your career and not just jumping at a short-term gain. Good luck.
post #8 of 14
Hmm, as I'm thinking about this, jgold, aren't you the guy who moved to Pittsburgh for a job and then two years later left Pittsburgh for another job and took a big-ass bath on the house you had bought?

In that case, I'd be thinking really, really hard about how much better the opportunity really is, and if it's really enhancing your life.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post

Hmm, as I'm thinking about this, jgold, aren't you the guy who moved to Pittsburgh for a job and then two years later left Pittsburgh for another job and took a big-ass bath on the house you had bought?
In that case, I'd be thinking really, really hard about how much better the opportunity really is, and if it's really enhancing your life.

1 year later. Took another year to sell the house.

I wouldn't be moving this time.

and that Pittsburgh thing (minus the house) was a silver lining, I met my wife! (aww....)



Thanks for all the thoughts. not sure what I am going to do, other than to take an interview next week. See how it goes. It would have to be a forward movement for me, no lateral moves. Pretty much everything that was said, I completely agree with.

Lots of Pro's and Con's. Based on what I know now, its a dead heat. Will see after the onsite interview how I feel. If this doesn't work out, or its not in the cards for me, I will probably stay another year. I just have to get my head around the fact that its really not that bad, that there are a lot of people in my field who are out of work still, and the money I am getting is pretty good for where I live (just not the 'going rate'). Be happy with what I have, that sort of thing....
post #10 of 14
You should be fine as long as you justify it the move properly. If you cans say to an interviewer: "I was offered a great opportunity to grow and progress, and I took it" you;ll do much better than just jumping ship and being unemployed for a while.

Also consider using it for leverage; if you get the gig, you could confront your current boss for more money. Then just take which ever gig gives you the lifestyle you want.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackhood View Post

Also consider using it for leverage; if you get the gig, you could confront your current boss for more money. Then just take which ever gig gives you the lifestyle you want.

Thats really playing with fire when you do that. It can be a real lose lose. personally, I think your better off going to your boss and asking for more money without mentioning you have another offer in hand. if you get it, then they never need to know what you did. If you don't, then you can say, well, I've been offered another position and go. But if you make it just about the money, that won't go over well (in some industries). so now you have shot yourself in the foot, as your current job will think its just about the money if you accept an offer to stay. I have had bosses who have policies about not matching offers. It sets a bad precedent.
post #12 of 14
Naturally my advice on applies when certain safety nets are in place.

1. You have a secure offer from another firm
2. You tell your boss "I've been offered a position a X for $Y. That money makes a big difference, so I'll have to take the offer, unless you can match it"
3. Your industry is diverse enough that you wont get a rep for having tried to stiff any of your old bosses
post #13 of 14

It depends on whether there's a pattern of short stays, and where the next job took you.  I tend to ask about positions lasting under four years.

 

No matter how long or short the stay, you should always have a good answer to the question "why did you leave this job."

post #14 of 14
i think in this day and age, it doesn't matter as long as your future job gives you better opportunities. Double points in you just graduated college.

Just be sure you secured your job before leaving :P
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