September 8, 2017 • 4 minute read • by Saeed
” Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but, because of lack of commitment.” ~ Vince Lambardi
Career longevity is no longer about staying in one job for years on end.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wage and salary workers have been with their current employer for a median of 4.6 years (that doesn’t include the 14 million Americans who are self-employed free agents).
A word of caution: that is not a free pass to job hop. Shifting gears too often or pulling a 180 to do something completely different than your expertise can sabotage your efforts at building career longevity. Job hopping frequently because you can’t get along with your coworkers or management or because you lack focus and don’t know what you want in your life can be a career killer. Change is not what does you in. It’s the frequency of the changes.
We are not talking about people with legitimate reasons to make change. The bad boss is the classic. Sometimes we’re stuck in a job that is not good for us or we need a career change. In these instances, change can be good.
That statistic simply represents a major generational shift where the trend has moved towards more change more often. In places like Silicon Valley, not only is it acceptable, it can even be a badge of honor. For the millennial set, it’s simply the way things are.
But as a whole, building longevity is no longer about staying with one company and holding out for the gold watch.
Rather, it’s about staying fresh and building career equity.
You build equity (and therefore longevity) by developing a set of skills, contacts and relationships as well as behaviors that value self improvement and the kind of adaptability that will allow you to be seen as a change maker, not someone who wants to cling to the status quo.
So how long should you stay at your job? Well, it takes about two years to build career equity or a return on the individual’s investment of time, energy and skill that is meaningful to a firm and to the individual’s career.
If you just started a new job and you are worried about your staying power, or if you don’t know how to intentionally build career equity, get a coach. If the company does not provide one, hire one yourself or take the initiative to develop relationships with peers and “go-to” people for support. Avoid violating career threatening, yet unwritten rules. This is critical to making the new start a success and to building momentum.
Remember, the way we manage endings helps us take advantage of new beginnings and build career equity, and thereby, career longevity.
©2017 – All Content by Saeed H. Mirfattah, M.A.
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