10 reasons why you should never stay at a job for more than five years


There was a time when changing jobs frequently was considered to be a huge no-no on one’s work record… how things have changed.

Here are 10 reasons why changing jobs every four to five years can be a positive move, both professionally and personally.

1. Discovery. A new job provides opportunity to learn a new industry, skill or even perspective, says Lauren Friese from TalentEgg, a job website and career resource for students and new graduates. At the same time you are finding and developing your areas of interest by tackling the unknown.

2. Good things come from putting yourself out there. As Maeghan Smulders, the Canadian ‘super-intern’ who interned at 10 different companies over several months in order to find her dream job proves, opening yourself up to a range of individuals and networks has a huge professional advantage.

3. It teaches you how to take a calculated risk. Says Friese: “If you feel you can make a rational decision that the grass is truly greener in another opportunity, I think that you should always take it.”

4. It pays. If you can’t get ahead at your current job, it may be time to find another one. Career advancement and more money are great reasons to take another job.

5. No one will judge you. It’s common knowledge that careers are much more fluid than they used to be. “Rather than talk about someone having several different careers over their life,” says Friese, “I think we’ll talk more about numerous opportunities to work from different angles and experiences.”

6. It’s a reflection of the new workplace reality. “In general, the whole workforce in this country is becoming a flexible workforce,” says Friese. Also, ‘one company from first-hire to retirement’ employment is becoming a thing of the past. “Eventually, while full-time jobs will still exist, I think that people will not be defined by where they work as much as before.”

7. The Peter Principle. The Peter Principle suggests that many organizations promote their employees to positions that they are not actually capable of doing – and that’s where they stay. Leaving avoids that.

8. Your reputation. As the workplace changes and becomes ‘younger’ due to demographic shifts, the best way to stay employable and ‘hip’ is to have a broad range of experience. Moving around also saves you from being pigeon-holed.

9. Survival. Ensuring a broad skill-set reduces your chances of being caught in an obsolete or shrinking field, and it provides a life raft in the event you are.

10. Necessity. Some firms have a built-in culture of turnover. For example, it is well known that large accounting firms hire a lot of young people to do their auditing and expect at least half of them to move on.

Published on September 5, 2012
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