The days of staying with one company your entire career are all but over. Most workers stay with one employer for an average two to three years, and then move on. Some career experts say this practice is perfectly acceptable, particularly given that many of today’s employers simply expect it. I ran across a recent Brazen Careerist post in which the blogger maintains that staying with one employer for a long time can be "career suicide," giving advice on how candidates can safely change jobs frequently.
I certainly agree with the notion that changing your career frequently is not a career mistake, especially if the move makes sense for you. For example, you find a job at another employer that will provide more opportunities to build your skills sets than your current employer, leading to better career opportunities in the future.
However, I’d argue that staying with one employer for a long period of time can also be the best non-move of your career. Let me qualify… if you have been working your same job for several years without advancement it is probably time to either speak up, or move on. But, if you receive steady increases in job title and salary, and have shaped your skills and developed a specialty, then there is no need to move on.
Through acquisitions and mergers, I have essentially worked for Spherion for more than 20 years, and I haven’t looked back. I started out as an entry level recruiter at a small boutique recruiting firm and continued to take on new positions within that organization. Then, we were acquired by Spherion and new opportunities to expand my career presented themselves. Today, I am a Senior Vice President and Group Executive of Professional Services, creating new strategy for our recruitment efforts on behalf of some of largest clients. I have managed to gain the same experience, title changes and salary increases that I may have achieved through ten different companies. Yes, there were growing pains, but at the end of the day, I have achieved my career goals and still feel confident in my status as a viable part of the company.
I am curious to hear how others have handled their career paths, and what tips can you offer as either an employee with longevity, or someone who has job hopped. What’s the longest you have ever stayed with an employer? Did it hurt or hinder your career?