When should I change jobs?

What are the factors to take into account when you want to change jobs?

I am regularly asked how I “managed” to stay in the same job for so many years. The answer is simple: while, technically yes, it is still the same job, what I do - and have done for so long - is different every day. I have the huge advantage of working with people and, as no two people are the same, there is no room for boredom or routine. I am still faced with challenges and I am still on a learning curve, even after all this time.  I have had to adapt to new technology, different job markets, changing economic climates, and much more. In short, I love what I do.

The days of “one company careers” are, nevertheless, long gone and the general consensus is that a person who stays for more than five years in the same job either lacks the ambition to pursue better opportunities or is simply too comfortable to move on. So, what was once perceived as a sign of loyalty to an employer may now be seen as a liability.

Job hopping, on the other hand, is not – at least not in my opinion – the solution to fast-tracking your career. For a recruiter, numerous job changes set off warning signals.

If you change jobs because you are bored, did you look for new opportunities within your company? Did you discuss your lack of motivation with your superior? Did you try to find ways to make your job more interesting?

Perhaps money is the incentive behind your job changes. Moving from one job to another merely to increase your financial situation says little about your interest in your personal and professional development. You will, in any event, reach a ceiling at some point and it may then prove difficult to move out of a job that you really don’t like.

If you are looking to leave your job because you can’t handle its challenges, did you explore training options within your company? Did you make a conscious effort to learn/master your tasks or did you give up without trying to succeed?

Not agreeing with a company’s ethics or values is a sound reason to move on, as some things simply won’t change. If, however, you repeatedly experience conflict with your superiors and/or colleagues, it might be time to ask yourself some questions and indulge in a bit of soul-searching.

There is no set rule for the ideal number of years you should – or should not – stay in a job but it is definitely worth taking the time to analyse your reasons for wanting to move on … or for preferring to remain in your comfort zone.

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