Longevity In the Workplace

I’ve had over 15 jobs in the 12 years since I graduated from high school.

There was and is some overlap there. When I’m really clicking, I’ll have 3 or more income streams going at once. Blame my parents. Still, none of those jobs has lasted much longer than 3 years. It makes me think about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s prophetic words the day before he died:

“Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will…”

I’m not the only one who’s done a good amount of bouncing around. Seems like people used to work at companies for 20 and 30 years. Plenty of people are still in it for the long haul, but yesterday, one of my clients told me she had been working at a certain non-profit for 4 years.

I said, “Wow, that’s a long time.”

She agreed: “Uh, yeah, a real long time.”

If the jobs on your resume are all a year or less, that’s a red flag to management, but a candidate with several positions in the 2-5 year range is considered solid these days. Of course, the new employer can’t reasonably expect much more time than that, either. There’s a pretty good article on The Hireability of Jobhoppers that gets into it more.

The main reason (I believe) people go from place to place is a deep desire for self-expression. If people felt like they could use all of their strengths and talents in a particular position and get recognized for it, why would they ever leave? Many people start jobs thinking that being in a new position is going to make them happier than the last one did. Even if you move to a much better situation, it still has the potential to be a soul-sucker if you look for it to fulfill you.

Instead, whatever job you’re at now, why don’t you try fulfilling it? Put all your creativity into it. You’ll either succeed wildly or hasten your last day, forcing you to find (or create) something more appropriate that you’ll stick to. Either way, you win.

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One response to “Longevity In the Workplace

  1. Hey Seth! Thanks for stopping by BNet and the link back to my post. If you’re interested, I’m running a follow-up poll on job-hopping today…would love your two cents!

    Best,
    C.C. Holland

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