Changing Employers (how valuable is loyalty?)

Personally, I’ve never understood why anyone would want to stay with the same employer for more than 2-3 years, especially if that person is in the same role for the entire period.  When my grandparents were still working, the mentality was 40-for-40.  Forty hours per week for forty years.  Essentially indicating that a job was a job for life and that it was far from common to change employers on a frequent basis.  My parents on the other hand, were probably closer to 40-for-10.  Forty hours per week for ten years, give or take.

The generation Xers and Millennials, are far more likely to change jobs and companies every couple of years.  For lack of a better word, ‘boredom’ doesn’t take long to kick in and the belief that the grass is always greener on the other side is never far from our minds.

Don’t get me wrong, there most definitely are benefits of staying with one employer for a lengthy period of time.  These may include:

  1. Building up strong internal networks

  2. In-depth company knowledge

  3. Diversity of roles available

  4. Reduced learning curve when taking on a new role due to previously gained knowledge of company culture and setup

The other side of the coin, and admittedly, this is the side that I profess to be on, is that there is more to gain from a career and experience perspective by changing employers every few years.  Don’t get me wrong, changing employers is painful; updating your CV, job applications, researching the new company and interviews just to name of a couple of the challenges.

However, I firmly believe that the pros outweigh the cons.

The message here is “Never Stop Learning”.

The first 6-12 months at a new employer will always be some of the most challenging.  You need to learn the basic organisational layout, who’s who, how to get things done, what you can expect from others and most importantly, what others (especially your manager) will expect from you.

Don’t let any of this deter you, there is so much positive experience to come from opportunities presented through broadening or changing your career.  Whilst I would advocate an internal move at a company, as a chance to work on a new project or join a different team; changing between companies in the same industry trumps in remaining in the existing environment.

Moving across companies presents a new culture, new dynamics, new people and many other ‘new’ to experience.

Nothing worth having comes easy – a saying that you’re no doubt familiar with.  As expected, the hardest opportunity to create and make successful, is likely to be changing companies and changing industries at the same time.  Not only do you get hit by changes on the team and cultural front, but clients, products and working expectations are all completely different.  That said, out of the three options presented, it’s this last one where opportunities for the most gain can be found.

Don’t be satisfied with the status-quo, keep your eyes open for the shiny something and expect to work hard in order to progress and stay ahead of the pack.

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