By financen | September 10, 2013 - 6:48 pm - Posted in Personal Finance

It used to be very common for people to join a company and then stay with it for most of their lives. However, today things have changed, even at companies such as IBM who have a reputation for retaining employees.

This of course leads to the question of how long to stay with a company. There are no hard and fast rules for this, but you always need to be asking yourself whether or not you are getting everything that you want out of your career. There are a number of things to consider, such as whether you are making progress, whether you enjoy what you are doing, and whether there are better opportunities elsewhere.



Of course, some people do stay with companies for a long time, especially if they are regularly promoted or given new responsibilities. For example, John Ferraro, Global Chief Operating Officer at Ernst & Young, has been with the company since 1976, which is a perfect example of someone who has made a single-company career a resounding success. However, if you are not getting top performance reviews and moving up in the company hierarchy every three to four years, it may be time for a change. Even this, though, depends on what you are looking to get out of your career. If your family life is more important to you than your work, you may want to stay in one position that you are happy with, and make sure that the company is happy with you.

If you do decide to move on, avoid jumping from the frying pan into the fire. You are already in a job, so you can afford to be selective about which one you move to. Unless you are looking to take a big risk with big rewards – for example, joining a startup with shares in the company – avoid companies that have a bad reputation or are financially unstable. If you know anyone who works at the company, ask them about working there before you sign a contract. Also, unless there is a lot of potential where you are thinking of going, never take a job at a lower level, and try to get one that is one step up.

If you do decide to move, make a commitment to yourself to stay with your next employer for a number of years. Not only will this give you the opportunity to make the most of your new job, but it will also prevent damage to your CV. There is nothing worse than an employment history where you change jobs every year – this will make prospective employers worried about both your capabilities and your commitment to them.



If you do decide to stay where you are, think about getting advice from someone more senior on how to grow your career where you are. For example, some companies have mentoring programs where senior managers provide regular guidance to more junior employees. This will provide you with valuable insights, as well as contacts who can help you to move your career forward.

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