Should I stay or should I go?
So, I've just arrived back from a beautiful holiday in the Algarve.
You know how it is, sometimes, two weeks can be that bit too long and a week just doesn't quite hit the spot but it was just perfect and I must taste damn good as I've been bitten by pretty much every mosquito that lives there and have something slightly more worrying on my finger. I'm sure it's a spider bite but I have been known to be a bit of a drama queen so it's probably just a more aggressive mozzie bite. (I'm still going to tell people it's from a spider as this is a much better story!).
So luckily, we stayed just the right amount of time but what's interesting in the software industry is how the working world has turned upside down over the past twenty years, and most people don't realise it. If they do recognize that momentous changes have occurred in the software talent marketplace, they haven't adjusted their approach to managing their career accordingly and that's just dangerous!
It used to be that working for one employer for twenty or twenty-five years marked you as a stable and reliable employee - a person anyone would be happy to hire if you should be so unfortunate as to get laid off. Now it's just the opposite. Software Industry Employers are wary of hiring people who've worked in one job for ten years or more and I see this all the time when talking to hiring managers at these vendors. Sure, they don't want to see someone who's jumped jobs every 12 to 18 months but they almost have the same view of someone who's been at a company 6 years or more.
They don't think, "This person showed their loyalty by sticking with one employer for so long." They think, "This person hasn't learned anything new in years!"
These days, we only grow our skills and our marketability by trying new things, and staying at the same job does not give you the same opportunity to try new things that a person gets by changing assignments.
We all have to keep in mind the question, "Have you really had twenty years of experience -- or one year, repeated twenty times?"
The question is valid, because we all fall so easily into ruts. Unless we actively seek out new challenges at work, we fall into patterns. Do you really get better at a task by performing the same task for years on end? Most people would say no. They'd say, "Your brain falls asleep when you do the same thing over and over."
How long is too long? You have to start questioning your marketability when you hit the ten-year mark in one employer, or the five-year mark in one job.
Even if you change jobs inside the same employer, you may not get the new learning, new challenges and critical resume fodder that a person who changes employers more frequently gets. That's a disservice to you!
If you'd like to talk through the 10 ways it could hurt you to stay in one job for too long, email me back with a convenient time and we can talk it through.
Until next time, take care.
P.S I'm also happy to share pictures of my massive spider bite!