As you debate whether to stay in an undesirable job or move on to a new one, you may want to keep in mind how future employers will view your job history. If you stay in one job for decades, you may be miserable and lack the knowledge you need for future opportunities; but if you change jobs every few months, future employers will worry that you will leave them shortly after starting – and will be hesitant to hire you.
So what is an appropriate length of time to stay in your job before moving to the next?
Consider advice from Cathleen Black, leader of Hearst Magazines and current Chancellor of New York City public schools:
Q. When you’re hiring and looking at résumés, what’s the right amount of time for somebody to have been in a job?
A. I used to look for a two- to three-year tenure somewhere, because it meant that you had come into an organization, you had inherited someone’s work plan and then you had your own ideas. If you leave too quickly, you actually have no idea whether your strategy was the right one, and you’re still blaming your predecessor. When it’s your plan, and you’ve been there for another year, can you execute? Was your plan the right one?
We have to learn to take chances on people who are a little bit younger than we would have hired in the past. You’re always weighing experience versus enthusiasm. Are you willing to take a chance on someone who has all of the enthusiasm going for them, but perhaps they don’t have much experience? I think that’s particularly relevant in the digital space today.