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How Long Should You Stay in One Job Before Leaving?
How Long Should You Stay in One Job Before Leaving?
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Money Management

How Long Should You Stay in One Job Before Leaving?

Sheila Brenda Andoi
August 4, 2022

In the past, most employees spent their whole working life at a single company or role. Today, to obtain the lifestyle, career, or ambition you desire, you're more likely to switch jobs multiple times. The days of retiring from your first job after 30 or 40 years of dedicated service and loyalty are long gone. 

Industry transformations, tech and startups have created a work environment in which frequent job transitions are becoming more common. In fact, it is turning out to be the modus operandi of the millennial - to many, 3 years is a lifetime spent in one company. The Gen Z that’s just entering the workforce is even less patient, loyalty for who? 

Depending on your chosen career, changing jobs on occasion may be essential for professional progress. There are many reasons to leave a job, ranging from a desire to learn new skills to the understanding that you have done everything you can in your current position.

However, when this becomes the new normal, it raises several crucial questions. What if you've just recently begun your current job and a new chance presents itself? What would prospective employers make of your job duration? And how long should you stay at a job?

What Happens if You Quit Your Job in Less Than a Year?

Employers are becoming increasingly cognisant of the fact that employees have specific expectations from their employment and that working several jobs is often important to advance in a career.

There is, nevertheless, a balance. 

Employers may be wary of a possible new person who has worked a variety of jobs throughout their career. This is because companies would prefer to avoid the expense of hiring and training job hoppers who may bolt at the earliest opportunity.

You may want to think about the potential stigma associated with someone who constantly changes jobs every one or two years (also known as 'job hopping'). 

Many companies will question a person's commitment if they have never held the same job for more than a few years. 

Nevertheless, you shouldn’t continue to work in a job you are not happy in merely because you are afraid it would hurt your future chances. However, leaving numerous jobs that never last more than a year may be a red flag that you should be prepared to explain in an interview.
Read Also: Me and My Money: Should I quit My Job Now?

What Happens When You Stay in a Job for Very Long? 

Gaining employment experience is desirable, but changing jobs may also be advantageous. It enables you to embark on new tasks and expand your knowledge. Employers value loyalty, but they also understand that changing jobs may be required to advance in your career. Just as not staying in a job long enough might affect your CV, staying in a job for too long can also be potentially harmful. 

Job clinging occurs when a person works in the same role at the same company for more than five years with little or no change in job title, duties, or salary. Staying at the same company for too long may give the impression that you are uninterested in developing your career. 

Employers may also feel that you lack the adaptability and open-mindedness needed for success in a new role or a different place.

Read Also: Should I Get a Job Or Start a Business After College?

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding Whether to Make a Change or Not

Is changing jobs going to help my career?

The answer to this question will be determined by your current employer and the new job you are considering. Evaluate whether your current job offers you the opportunities you seek, as well as the kind of training you know you can gain from. 

Discover what you truly desire in a career and base your future steps on that. It may take some time to decide because switching jobs necessitates thorough consideration given the real consequences it may have on your future career prospects.

Read Also: Changing Careers in 2022? Here is What You Need to Know

Can I instead improve my current position?

Instead of immediately changing jobs, analyse your current position and determine whether you can improve in it. This is whether this improvement is in salary, work-life balance or in terms of skill set. 

For example, you may enjoy your job and interact with amazing people, but you would like to take on more responsibilities. So make sure you discuss your career goals with your employer and figure out if there are projects you might take on to establish yourself better in the company.

What are the industry benchmarks?

Career and job transitions are more common in certain fields, such as information technology. 

Before leaving your current job, do some study about what is typical in your field. If your industry is always changing, you may notice that more employees are also switching positions to ensure that they are catching up with new trends and the skills required for their roles.

Read Also: How to Change Your Career When You Don’t Know What to do Next

Am I leaving for the right reasons?

Consider why you want to leave your current job and whether your reasons will still be relevant in the long run. Did you want a promotion but failed to get it? Instead of just deciding to shift to another company, consider all of the aspects that make up a good job, such as the benefits, culture, and access to training.

How has your job history been? 

Is this the first or third time you are leaving a job because of dissatisfaction? 

The challenge arises when there appears to be a trend toward short job stays. Many employers would prefer to know that you have been in one job for approximately three to five years because it indicates your dependability.

But nothing is ever really cast in stone and most progressive employers will want to hear your reasons for changing jobs so often. If your reasons are plausible, there should be no reason why you miss out on an opportunity based solely on your employment history. 

Read Also: Top Paying Jobs in Kenya by Industry in 2022 - Report


It may be difficult to assess how long you should stay in a job since there are far too many variables at play. 

Make sure you consider every aspect of your life including the non-tangible aspects of what may make an employment opportunity attractive. For example, will the new change benefit your mental health? Will you have more family time? It does not matter if you've been there for six months, two years, or five years if it's making you dissatisfied. 

The keys to choosing how long you stay at a job are finding a balance and understanding when to embrace something new.

There is no set recipe for how long you should or should not keep a job. Always pursue what is best for yourself and your career.

Sheila Brenda Andoi is a communicator, journalist, editor, and writer passionate about human-interest stories. You can find her on Twitter @sheilaandoi

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