How Long Should You Stay at a Job?

November 16, 2023

3 min read


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The days of retiring after 40 years of service to the company that recruited you right out of college are long gone. Industry changes, unstable startups, and impatient millennials have all contributed to a professional culture where frequent job changes are now the norm. While job-hopping is no longer unusual, hiring managers still care about how long you stay in a position.

But how long should you stay at a job? When is it best to switch a job? And what pros and cons are associated with the professional switch? Let us dig deeper a bit.


How Long Does the Typical Employee Stay at a Job?

According to a 2020 report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics that you can find by the link, the average employee stays at their job for slightly over four years. The study also found that previous generations of employees often had a longer tenure at a company than their new colleagues.

Of course, every person is different, and different factors, such as career advancement prospects, business culture, skill training, and work-life balance, may influence the time to apply for and accept another job offer. One thing we can say for sure is that there always comes a point when you decide to make a career switch. And before taking this life-changing step, you should be aware of all its pros and cons.

How Long Should You Stay at a Far-from-Being-a-Dream Job?

Pros of Switching Jobs

Job hopping is a career advancement strategy when employees regularly change jobs to accelerate their professional growth. Many people, particularly younger generations, have found success in their careers by shifting to a new firm every year or so rather than waiting for a promotion at their current employer. We should admit that this strategy works in many cases, and timely job switch brings a lot of benefits to the table, such as:

  • Opportunity for salary increase — Recent research shows that the average compensation increases by 14.8% after changing jobs. It was reposted that 69% of new hires who left their previous employment willingly got a greater wage:
  • Career advancement — Changing jobs can provide opportunities for career advancement, especially if there is no room for growth in your current company.
  • Learning new skills — It helps you find a company that values what you’re doing. You not only obtain a variety of experience in your job history, but you may also build new skill sets. Various employers provide mentorship and training programs.
  • New challenges — They can help you grow both personally and professionally.

Of course, to benefit from a job switch and job tenure, you should approach it responsibly. Before switching positions, ensure you have acquired the knowledge and expertise you can use in a new position, and ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. This is where an AI professional headshot generator can come in handy. The tool will help you create quality, presentable photos that you can use in your resume, hiring websites, or LinkedIn. As recent stats show, a profile picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed. So use this opportunity to stand out!

Cons of Job Hopping

There are always two sides to the medal. And you should always be ready for some cons of searching for a job and of changing it, including company research and building a new appealing resume. What else is on the menu?

  • Insecurity — One of the main disadvantages of changing jobs is that you might initially feel insecure while adapting to your new work environment.
  • Instability — Job hopping frequently can lead to instability, as there is always some uncertainty when accepting a new job.
  • Loss of relationships — Although this is not always the case, changing jobs can leave relationships with coworkers and clients behind.
  • Starting over — Changing jobs can mean starting over again, which can be time-consuming and may delay your career progression.

In order to reduce the risks, we strongly recommend that you run extensive research, check all the pros and cons of working in a new company, and make a weighted decision. Only in this case can you prepare yourself for the professional shift and have a plan of how to deal with potential pitfalls.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Change a Current Job

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Job change may be a difficult decision; however, it can be a change for the better. There might be various reasons for a career shift, such as not seeing yourself progressing in the same profession or finally gathering the guts to pursue your ambitions. However, before making this life-changing decision, you should ask yourself some critical questions.

Do I understand what is involved in switching to this new career? It’s crucial to understand what it takes to succeed in your new field, including the skills and experience expected of you.

What barriers do I face to changing careers? It’s important to consider the barriers standing in your way, such as lack of training and credentials or strong competition in the workforce.

What does this new career offer that my current career doesn’t? Determining what you hope to gain from your new career is crucial, such as a better work-life balance, more significant opportunities for advancement, or a more fulfilling job.

What challenges can I predict in my transition to this new career? It’s important to anticipate potential struggles, such as adapting to a new work environment or learning new skills.

Job switch can sometimes be challenging, but asking yourself these questions can help you decide whether it is the right choice for you in your career growth.

How to Explain Why You Worked Not for Long at Your Last Job?

When explaining why you worked for a short period at your last job during an interview, it’s important to be honest, diplomatic, and focus on the positive aspects. Here are some tips based on the search results:

  • Be factual — Stick to the basic facts and avoid providing too many details. Instead of diving deep, focus on the work you accomplished in your previous position and your ultimate plans for the future.
  • Be positive — Speak nicely of your previous company, show appreciation for the skills you gained there, and highlight your enthusiasm for new opportunities. Avoid dwelling on the negatives and refrain from speaking negatively about your previous employer.
  • Be honest — While it’s important to frame your reasons for leaving in a positive light, it’s also crucial to be honest. You can mention the important experiences you gained from your previous position.
  • Focus on opportunities — You can explain that you are looking for a new position with opportunities to advance and grow, or that you are seeking a job with a better work-life balance or a more suitable location.

By following these tips, you can effectively explain why you worked for a short period at your last job in a way that portrays your previous position and yourself in a positive light, while also being honest and diplomatic.

Let’s Wrap up!

There is no right or wrong when it comes to job switching. The situations are different. But to get the max out of your next job, we strongly recommend approaching this career development responsibly. Weigh all the pros and cons and clearly understand what you are looking for.