It’s clear a lot of us have change on our minds.
But how often is too often when it comes to changing jobs, and how do you know when it’s time to move on?
The changing world of work means expectations are also changing with regards to how long you should stay in a job. For example, it’s no longer a realistic career expectation that you’ll ‘climb the corporate ladder’ via a series of promotions while working in the same organisation. Career trajectories are now more likely to be interspersed with new ways of working, which include gig, project, portfolio, and freelance work, and employees are increasingly hired for casual and fixed-term contract positions.
What this means is that it’s becoming the new norm to have multiple jobs across your professional career, which obviously influences how long you can expect to stay in one job.
To help you decide how long you should stay in your current job and when it might be time to move on, consider these four things:
There are lots of reasons why people decide they want to change jobs, from lack of available progression opportunities to relocation or changing career paths. Surprisingly, research has shown people are more likely to look for new opportunities due to job dissatisfaction or other lifestyle factors rather than because they want more money (Williams, n.d.).
Whatever the reason, it’s always best to try and address your concerns with your employer before jumping ship. You may find that they are willing to making some changes in order to keep you on, or they may know of another opportunity within the same company and be willing to provide you with a recommendation. This will be beneficial for you as well as your employer, because they don’t lose your corporate memory or have to train someone new and you don’t have to go through the process of searching and applying for a new job and having to start over again at a new company.
If you’ve just started a new job and are already thinking about quitting, let’s take a minute to really think about this. Finding your feet after starting a new job can take some time, so it’s important you give yourself the opportunity to settle in before you call it quits.
Michelle Lynch from USQ’s Human Resources department is passionate about talent acquisition and recruitment. These are some of Michelle’s tips to help you give your new job a good shot:
Bachelor of Business graduate and millennial (Gen Y) Toby says, ‘I think my generation and younger – despite everything we do well – can be impatient and expect things to happen instantly. But job satisfaction doesn’t work like that. If you’re one of the few graduates who walk into a job they love straight out of university, then full credit to you. But don’t be disheartened if you don’t. The most important thing for me in every job is to recognise the things that I do love doing, learn as much as possible, and then, if need be, make the necessary changes’.
It’s important to ask yourself this question as you don’t want to quit your new job simply because you have an unrealistic idea of what it should be like. There will be aspects of any job that you might not be 100% happy about, and this is particularly true of entry-level jobs. The grass isn’t necessarily always greener on the other side and you don’t want to spend your entire career chasing a job that doesn’t exist. It’s also worth noting that job satisfaction can ebb and flow throughout your career and even while you’re in one role.
It’s ok if, ultimately, you decide to move on from a job, but make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, have a realistic idea of what you want from your next job and, preferably, already have that next job lined up.
There’s no one rule that specifies the exact fixed time you should stay in a job. Recruiters often look beyond the timeframes on a résumé to the story, so you need to consider what your career journey says to prospective employers.
For example, if you have been in a couple of short-term positions in one company, but have climbed the ladder each time, a prospective employer is likely to assume you have great potential. On the flip side, while ‘ten years’ experience’ sounds impressive, if you’ve essentially repeated the same tasks and role every year for ten years without progression, this isn’t going to work in your favour.
Make sure you take control of your career before someone else does and consider these factors before you change jobs.
As the modern workforce and way of working continues to evolve and change rapidly, we might feel the need to try and keep up by changing jobs every few years. However, it’s important to be strategic about your career moves and really consider the four questions above before rushing into a decision. Remember to give yourself a chance to grow into a new job but also remember that staying put in one job shouldn’t mean you’re standing still, without ever developing your skills and experience. Hitting refresh every now and again can reinvigorate your enthusiasm for work.
Australian Association of Graduate Employees Ltd. (2016). 2017 AAGE employer survey: summary report. Camberwell PS, Victoria.
Australian Association of Graduate Employees Ltd. (2018). 2018 AAGE graduate survey: summary report. Camberwell PS, Victoria.