By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer
This is not your father’s job market. Long gone are the company lifers from yesteryear who invest their entire careers
to a single position within a company. Welcome to the age of job promiscuity, where regularly changing jobs is not only tolerated, it is encouraged.
This paradigm shift is a fairly recent phenomenon and can arguably be traced back to the .com rise and fall of the late nineties. Regardless of the reasons for the shift, the current employment climate relies on greater personnel maneuverability and agility. As such, you will notice that fewer and fewer people are staying in their jobs for periods longer than 3 or 4 years. Here is why you should be one of these people.
Rapidly evolving skill sets
It is human nature to get comfortable and settle into a predictable routine. If you are able to perform your job competently, there may be little motivation to consistently be improving or updating your skill sets. If this describes you, don’t worry – you are not alone. But you may want to check out what’s happening on the job market. Companies are evolving daily how they do business and how they staff their positions. What is a necessary skill set today may not be required tomorrow. And vice versa. If you have been at your job for a number of years, check out Monster’s job search section
and find comparable jobs that are currently open. Take a look at the job requirements and see if they match your skill set. You may be surprised what employers are currently looking for.
As technology evolves so does the face of entire industries. If you are working a technical job, keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening in your industry. While your current employer may not be adopting new platforms or technologies, their competitor’s might. If you are, say, a Windows Systems Administrator
and have been with your company for several years, there may be entire lines of software and hardware that is completely foreign to you. If you haven’t been keeping up with these changes over the years, you may have a hard time taking the next step in your career. You don’t want to become a dinosaur in your industry by staying at a job for too long.
Imagine you are on a date and discover that your companion has just come out of a 12-year relationship. Think about how you would perceive that person and how they may relate to you. Unfair or not, you will make assumptions based on the longevity of their previous relationship. Your reaction would not be unlike that of a hiring manager when evaluating the resume of a candidate who spent the preceding 12 years working for another company. Will this person be easy to train? Will he/she adapt well to a new environment? What made this person leave after so many years? Are their skill sets up to date? Are they motivated? The questions are endless and can be enough to put off a potential employer.
While you can remain in the employ of a company for many years, holding onto the same position for more than 4 years can be problematic. If you have aspirations to evolve within your company, you should be looking to do so within 2 years of joining. If you have been in the same seat for 4 years, you may want to consider other options.
For example, if you are happy with your employer but stuck in a position with no growth, you can try branching out to other departments within the same company. Additionally, many companies also offer continuing education benefits
so inquire as to whether you can qualify for some subsidised courses to help grow your skills. As always, you should consult with your manager if you are feeling this way as they are in a great position to be able to advise you. The key factor here is to always keep moving forward; stay ahead of the competition by keeping your eyes ahead of you.
Do keep in mind that being a little too promiscuous with your career can also be damaging. Jumping from job to job is rarely seen in a positive light as it can give the impression that you are not reliable or dependable. Also, jumping from job to job can affect your seniority and can often feel as if you are taking a step backwards whenever you join a new team.
As with anything in life, think carefully before making any major career decisions and do take the time to see what is happening in your respective industry to see how it can benefit your career. Just don’t let yourself become stagnant where you are. Exploration is vital to keeping you excited and motivated about your work.
Thinking of changing your career? Wake up!