You've probably been warned that too much job-hopping can damage your career. Workers who bounce around from employer to employer are often pegged as restless and noncommittal, especially in situations where they repeatedly jump ship after less than a year at a given job.
But what happens if your resume tells the opposite story? What if, instead of moving around from company to company, you've stuck with the same employer throughout your career? On one hand, you'll certainly come off as loyal. On the other hand, prospective employers might wonder if you're resistant to change, which could hurt your chances of getting hired elsewhere.
Is there such a thing as staying at the same company for too long? And how do you know when you've reached that point?
The benefits of sticking with the same employer
Staying put at a given company has its perks. Not only do you get to buy yourself a degree of job security, but you also get to really learn the ins and outs of that particular business. As such, you might find it easier to climb the ranks and earn more money as a result.
Working for the same company for a longer period can also result in more flexibility on the job. If you're a long-term employee with a good reputation, you might gain the privilege of working from home when you want or leaving early as needed to tend to personal matters.
From a resume perspective, sticking with the same company shows that you're a dedicated worker who isn't always chasing the next big opportunity. And that could really work in your favor.
When you've overstayed your welcome
On the other hand, sticking with the same company for many years isn't always a good thing. Stay put too long, and prospective employers might wonder whether you're too lazy or complacent to take your talents elsewhere. Furthermore, staying at a single company means limiting yourself to the same processes and strategies year after year. Someone with a more diverse work history might have exposure to different areas of your industry, and, as such, might have a wider range of skills to show for.
Striking the right balance
The average time workers spend at the same company is 4.2 years, so if you're already well past that point, you might consider moving on if you feel you're not advancing at a satisfying rate. It's often much easier to snag a raise or promotion by moving to a new employer, so if yours hasn't boosted your pay or granted you a title change in years, it means you're in danger of getting stuck in an ongoing rut.
Even if you have been promoted or given more pay, if you realize it's been quite some time since you've developed new skills or learned new things, it's a sign that you ought to find a new company to work for. The same holds true if your employer treats you fairly well, but you're just plain bored and itching for a change.
On the other hand, if your career is progressing nicely and you've been gaining new experience and working your way up, then there's no need to leave an otherwise good job simply because you've been with the same employer for a certain number of years. Remember, there was a time when workers graduated college, got a job, and stuck with the same employer until they were ready to retire. While you won't find most people going that same route nowadays, there's no reason to uproot yourself if you're happy at your job and there's ample room for growth.
Job-hunting is no picnic, and the process can be exhausting. And frankly, there's no need to put yourself through it when opportunity abounds right where you are.