Quit job-hopping: Stick with a quality employer

published by the Nashville Business Journal

Did you know 21% of workers plan to leave their job in 2016? That’s up from 16% last year. Run the numbers and you’ll see that this translates to slightly less than five average years on the job! That means workers could have up to 10 employers during a lifetime. 

Times have certainly changed our concept of career. Other than part-time and temporary jobs in my youth, I have worked for only two companies. By today’s standards I’m a dinosaur. But maybe there’s something you can learn from my Jurassic approach. 

My first employer was a discount store chain in New Jersey. This high-growth company provided plenty of opportunity for a young buck like me. However there were some dark clouds on the horizon that made me realize that the future was grim. My next step was to join Tractor Supply, where I stayed for nearly three decades. 

Seeing opportunity through turmoil. 
There are certainly solid reasons to change employers to protect your career, such as a company that’s clearly heading to a dead-end, taking you with it. However there is also big opportunity in businesses that are going through tough times, which was the case when I first joined Tractor Supply. Out of the operational mess during my first two years emerged a reorganization that put the company on a 35-year course of continuous growth and improvement. I did not jump ship during the early years because I could see a future for the business.

When you think about moving on to another employer take a good look at your current situation first. You have likely already invested years, learned the culture, built a reputation and honed your skills at this company. Ask yourself:

1. What are my opportunities with my current employer? 

2. Can I discuss the future with my boss and/or human resource department? 

3. Can I carve out a new position that will best leverage my skill set to take the company forward?

4. Do I really want to abandon my professional investment and start over?

5. Will moving to another company mean I won’t run into the same professional challenges? 

If you can step back and see the bigger picture, perhaps you’ll find that the best long-term opportunity for your career is staying right where you are. After all, management teams know that promoting from within an organization typically yields substantially better results than the new hire. In fact research shows that CEOs promoted from within an organization have twice the success rate as CEOs hired from outside. Plus switching employers requires starting at the bottom, and relearning an entirely new culture and professional hierarchy.  

It may sound old-fashioned, but the most successful people I know have committed to a career at a few superior companies rather than perpetual job-hopping. Considering your long-term stability and financial growth, the best odds may be finding—and sticking with—a quality employer.

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