How Long is Too Long?

The days of the 25 year tenure at a company are behind us.  Yet jumping from job to job is also not advisable.  So how long is too long to stay at an organization before it starts to negatively effect your career plans, or candidacy as a job seeker?

To answer that question you have got to consider adaptability.  How quickly can you adapt to a new environment, industry or company?  The longer someone stays in one place the longer it takes to adapt to a new place.  The reason for this is that people become entrenched in an organization’s culture, language, and operational nuances to the point that they become habit or second nature.  Moving to a new culture with it’s own language, acronyms, and nuances takes a longer time to adapt.

Then there’s the perception of a prospective employer.  The longer you are at one place, the more difficult it will be to convince a new employer you can change and adapt.

Lastly, the longer someone stays, the harder it is to leave because people get comfortable, they have rich vacation benefits or even retention incentives.  They may fear better exists or have accepted their current organization as “the devil they know”.   All this lends to people staying longer than they should.

So how long is too long?  The 8-10 year mark  is a good time to step back and consider what you want from your career, does staying open more career doors or does diversifying your experience in a different organization or industry?

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