The FastCompany post with the above title (Switch Jobs Every 3 Years For the Rest of Your Life?) has raised quite a ruckus among those in the recruiting community. In a profession that has, for the most part, historically trumpeted the benefits of sticking with it (translation: #NoJobHopping), Vivian Giang is doing an about-face and voices her opinion that can be summed up in one sentence:
"That stigma (hold down your job) is fast becoming antiquated--especially as millennials rise in the workplace with expectations to continuously learn, develop, and advance in their careers."
Sounds good. If there's one thing I'd be hard-pressed to do is to argue that there's only one right-way to do it when it comes to one's career. However, Giang notes:
"There are a lot of arguments for jumping ship every few years. The economy isn't what it used to be---and never will be again. Workers who stay with a company longer than two years are said to get paid 50% less..."Kick-starting the job-hopping argument with a defense that says, "Stay two years and you'll make less $$ than your job-hopping friends," holds no weight with me. Haven't we said for years that millennials are less about the $$ and more about the opportunity? Yes, we have. But even if that's not true, I can attest to the fact there's at least one baby boomer in the U.S.A. who believes that careers aren't made just because one makes more $$. In fact, it can be just the opposite.
I love Giang's OOB thinking, but for good or bad, and $$ aside, there's still many positives related to hanging with a company longer than 3 years. Steve Levy said it succinctly in his comments to my LinkedIn post by noting,
"Articles like this garner eyeballs....this bit of advice is like saying switch spouses every three years. First step is KNOW THYSELF - newsflash, it takes time to really know oneself and use this knowledge *well* in both our personal and professional lives. Did anyone say marriage was easy? Same with work. But at least knowing thyself really well can help you ask better questions while interviewing...."I created this blog in Dec. 2004. Not long after, somebody said to me, "Hey, you are doing it all wrong. If you want to be successful with your blog, you should do it this way...."
I'm sure that person had valid points. But if I was enjoying blogging and doing it in a way that scratched my itch and made me happy, why was it necessary for me to follow their advice and do something different? It wasn't. In fact, 12 years later, I'm still doing it in a way that I find rewarding, and that's a good thing.
Got a job you love? Is your career-itch being scratched? Are you learning new things every day? Then forget about timelines and the infographics that support them.
Keep doing the job you LOVE. Keep adding VALUE. Keep LEARNING. Keep GROWING. At the point you no longer love your job - no longer add value - and are no longer learning and growing - bid adieu, lock the door and walk away (with sufficient notice, of course).
Three years or 13 matters not. Promise. In the words of Hugh MacLeod,
"Life is too short not to do something that matters."And "it" seems to matter most when you love what you do - are adding value by doing so - and are learning and growing in the process.
3 cheers for career-longevity! Or not.