Should I Stay Put or Bounce from Job-to-Job?
Should I stay or should I go now? Is it better for your career to stay at one company or to have a series of different employers? This is one of the most hotly debated career issues. In years gone by the answer was much easier. If you stuck around with one employer for 30 years or so you’d be rewarded for your loyalty upon retirement with a shiny gold watch and a lifelong pension. Times have changed and today there is no clear-cut answer. As often is the case, the answer is, “It depends.” There are pros and cons on each side of the debate. Let’s look at a few.
When I think of the benefits of staying at one organization, two things come to mind. Expertise and opportunity. Every company has its own unique strategies, methods, and idiosyncrasies, and these can take many years to master. Staying put gives you the opportunity to become an expert on your organization and that is very valuable to your employer. It is also very valuable to you as it opens up doors to leadership positions down the line.
While you gain invaluable internal experience, this could come at the cost of industry experience and knowledge. It is imperative that you keep current on industry trends and standards. Continuing education, professional organizations, and networking groups are good resources for this.
First let’s define what bouncing around is and isn’t, for the purpose of this article. When I say bouncing around, I mean holding a series of positions at various organizations as one works their way up the ladder. Most people who successfully use this tactic stick around in a position for at least a couple of years. What I do not mean by bouncing around is a person who changes jobs every couple of months. That is a misguided tactic and telegraphs a message to prospective employers that you are not reliable.
Now that we have that operational definition out of the way, what are some pros for moving about the job field? The top two pros are experience and money. Planning your moves strategically can result in much more broad experience for you. Holding various positions in several different firms can provide you with more varied and valuable experiences than staying with one company. In turn, this can make you more valuable in the marketplace. Additionally, research shows that you can expect to earn as much as 20% more by moving around vs. climbing the ladder in a single organization.
Experience and money are good, but what about the cons? If your employer downsizes, last in will likely be first out. Since you will not have as much tenure as your long-term colleagues, you could be the first to get the axe in the event of layoffs. You may also find it difficult to compete with seasoned staff members for internal promotions. Of course, if you are planning your moves correctly these may be moot points.
As I said before, it depends. Ultimately you have to assess your career goals, personality, and potential employers and make your own decision. Best of luck to you, whichever way you decide to go.
Danielle Foppe is a Recruitment Manager at Business Centric Technology. If you are interested in learning more about how to get the best IT talent in the Dallas metroplex, contact Danielle specializes in recruiting IT talent in Dallas, Ft. Worth and North Texas. If you are looking for a rewarding career contact us today.