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Ask Brian- Staying In One Job Too Long?

February 8th, 2008 · 2 Comments

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Reader Elton writes:

I’ve been working at the same company and in the exact same position for ten years now. Some friends have been telling me I have to try for a promotion or a new job soon, or else my career will look like it’s going nowhere.

The problem is, I don’t have any desire to leave my job right now. I do think it’s possibile I will want to do something else in the future, but right now I’m happy where I’m at. The job is challenging and very rewarding. And it pays very very well. I don’t really see the need to think about doing something else. But am I risking my future career by standing in place like I am?”

Brian answers after the break:

Brian Sayz:

Maybe yes, maybe no.

These days, it’s rare for someone to stay at one job for five years, much less an entire decade. That you have done so is not bad at all, it’s just increasingly unusual.

Obviously, this shows dedication and loyalty. And if your employer thinks you’re doing a good job… and if you’ve got a proven track record for getting results, then this will be all good on a resume.

The problem is, your friends are partially right: if your career shows no growth or development, that can suggest… I dunno… a lack of ambition or creativity. You do the run risk of looking like a bump on a log.

You can combat this on your resume. Since you only have the one job, that job should take up the majority of your resume. Try to show a gradual evolution in that one position… increasing responsibilities or achievements. You want to try to show that even though you’ve had the same job title, the actual nature of what you’ve done has evolved and seen some dynamism and change.

Having said that, I have to sort of answer your question with a question: If you’re happy where you are in your career, then do you really need to worry about this? I mean, isn’t that what we’re all theoretically working towards: that one job you love; that meets all your needs; that challenges you in the right way; that pays you what you’re worth?

I assume that we’re all working toward our dream jobs. When we “get there” we all plan on keeping that job as long as possible, right?

Maybe you’re already there, man. If so, congratulations.

Related posts:

  1. Ask Brian- Long Distance Job Search
  2. Ask Brian- How Long Should I Wait Before Following Up After An Interview?
  3. Staying Awake This Morning Without Caffeine
  4. Ask Brian – What is the Difference Between a CV and a Resume?
  5. Ask Brian- Taking A Step “Backward” And How To Address This In My Resume
  6. Ask Brian- Best Resume Tip

Tags: Ask Brian · Resumes

  • Richard Rinyai

    I also have found my dream job. Some people may think that it’s not the best job in the world, but being an Administrative Assistant for 30 people, which includes 6 managers is great for me. I’ve had quite a few jobs in the past and I am very happy of where I am now. I can see myself retiring at this job, that’s how comfortable and happy I am in it.

    I try to take on new tasks, projets and challenges that help me keep motivated and it’s really the variety and being the “go-to” person that boosts my performance.


    Richard Rinyai

  • Scott Messinger

    Some other things to think about:

    How long have your coworkers stayed at your company. It may be that your company is just very good at retaining employees. If you ever look for another job, try to find documentation about the employee retention at this company

    About showing increasing responsibilities…. Eh, I don’t know. You DO want to show that you can learn new things. So be prepared to show that you changed with the business, took training classes, and kept up your skills. But really, there’s only so far you can increase your responsibilities in the same company, unless you want to be promoted up the corporate ladder all the way to CEO. If you like your current position, and can do it well, then be sure to emphasize your skills.