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Job change: How long you should really stay with the company

  • When should you change jobs? There are many answers to this question. But not all of them are right, says career expert Frank Rechsteiner.
  • The problem is that much of the advice does not take into account the personal circumstances of the workers.
  • In an interview with Business Insider, Rechsteiner explains what he thinks of the widespread job change myths - and what really matters.

Stay or go? The decision for or against a job change is often anything but easy. Maybe you feel like you are stuck in a dead end. You may also be frustrated because you don't feel valued by senior management. Or you are actually quite satisfied, but have a sentence in your head that was uttered at some point in conversation with friends: "You should change jobs every three to five years."

There is ample advice on exactly how many years to stay (or not) with a company. The problem: Many of them do not respond to the personal circumstances of the employees - and sometimes contradict each other.

Frank Rechsteiner is convinced that the job change question shouldn't be about numbers or a right or wrong. The career expert is the owner of the Hype Group, which specializes in executive recruiting and strategy consulting for IT companies. On the basis of regular surveys and studies, he determines trends in the IT job and applicant market.

In an interview with Business Insider, he reveals what he thinks of the widespread job change myths - and what really matters.

5 myths about changing jobs

  • "You should change jobs every three years."

“Counter question: Why should someone do that?” Says Rechsteiner. There is no such thing as “too long” or “too short” when it comes to the duration of employment, he says. If you are satisfied, have a good job and have opportunities for further development - why should you look for exactly these things in another company? "You can also develop excellently within a company."

  • "You should stay in the job for at least two years - otherwise it will look bad on your résumé."

Here, too, the career expert does not agree. “We are all encouraged to try out new things over and over again. And if after two or three months in a new job we find that it doesn't work at all, I would even advocate changing as soon as possible. ”A quick change can be better justified in an interview with the right arguments than if you were two years on yours Spent life in a job where you were completely unhappy.

"If you have a high pain factor and have more unhappy days than happy ones, I would say it is high time to jet off."

  • "Careers in which employees spend their entire professional life with one and the same employer are no longer up-to-date."

According to Rechsteiner, in this case the mainstream would actually say: Yes, such careers are no longer up-to-date. But if you develop further within a company, for example by changing roles every four years, he doesn't think there is any reason to leave the company.

  • "You should always be on the lookout for the next job, regardless of whether you are satisfied with the current job or not."

“When I talk to applicants, 90 percent of people tell me: 'You know, I have a really good job right now, I'm very satisfied, but you should always look around and never ignore the options.' That sounds like that like: I'm married, but still on Parship. ”If you're happy in your current job, you don't have to look at what's out there. Constantly on the lookout for something new can potentially only make you dissatisfied.

  • "When changing jobs, you should never take on the same position - it is the chance to move up a career step."

If your goal is to make a career, Rechsteiner advises against switching to a job in which you have the same position. “When the potential for frustration is high, the belief behind the change is often that everything will get better at the new employer. If it's the same professional level, however, the charm of the new employer usually disappears relatively quickly. "

Your career is as individual as your fingerprint

"It's not about your résumé, it's about your life," says Rechsteiner. “I would give everyone the tip not to stick to fixed, hard criteria such as years.” Instead, consider: Do you feel comfortable with your employer? Can you develop yourself further? And above all: does it correspond to your goals in life?

“Your career is as individual as a fingerprint. There is no right or wrong."

Depending on what your personal career goals are and what your current life situation looks like, a horizontal job change or a step backwards might even make sense. "If, for example, you want to devote yourself more to family life than you did before, the next step on the career ladder is of no use - then you can also take a step back."

Are you still worried that frequent job changes in job interviews could be fatal for you? As long as you can justify it, there shouldn't be any problems, according to Rechsteiner. "Regardless of whether you change jobs three times in a year or only every six years - if you have a good storyline and a common thread, it won't hurt you."

This article was published by Business Insider in July 2020. It has now been reviewed and updated.