Depending on your personal and professional goals, you may prefer to continue working with an employer for a long time, or you might change jobs after only a short period. There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these options, and it's important for employees to consider their options when deciding how long to stay with a company. Learning these pros and cons can help you decide what's right for you. In this article, we explore some pros and cons of staying for a long time with one employer and answer frequently asked questions about when to leave a job.
Pros of staying a long time with one employer
Here are some advantages of staying with an employer for a long time:
The first major benefit of staying with one employer for a significant length of time is gaining expertise in the company. If you have worked for the same employer for a long time, you're likely a senior member of your work team, and others may count on your knowledge of the company's operations to support their own efforts. You've likely earned the respect of your employer and other members of your team, and your knowledge may place you in a mentorship role for newer employees.
Opportunities for internal advancement
Working for the same employer for a long time may improve your chances of earning a promotion within your company. If you've been a consistent member of your work team and have shown your loyalty to the company, dedication to professional development and ability to produce high-quality work, your employer may consider you for promotion over newer employees or hiring someone externally. Additionally, long-term employees may have some flexibility in creating their own roles within an organization. They understand the business' workflows and may naturally fill roles as needed in the company, which can turn into permanent positions.
Consistency and stability
Some employees enjoy working in a position where they find consistency and stability. They know what to expect in their role and feel confident in their ability to meet their production goals. Additionally, they may prefer the stability of remaining with a company where they know the salary expectations, benefits and retirement packages offered. Staying at one company means no interruptions in pay while finding a new job, and knowing what to expect from your benefits package and how to enroll in them each year can provide comfort and security.
Some companies reward employees for their loyalty by offering cumulative bonuses. Reaching tenure milestones may qualify you to earn additional perks within your company. For example, companies may offer more vacation days to employees who continue to work with them for extended periods of time. Others might provide anniversary gifts to their employees for their years of service as a gesture of gratitude for their work and loyalty. Additionally, depending on their policy, some companies may increase the amount they contribute to their employee's 401(k) based on their years of service.
Cons of staying a long time with one employer
Here are some disadvantages of staying with one employer for a long time:
Limited opportunities to learn new systems and methods
It can be expensive for companies to change their methods and systems for producing work, so many companies use the same processes for many years. Although this can help them streamline their methods internally, it may prevent long-term employees from learning new ways of accomplishing goals. If companies prefer not to update their systems frequently, their employees may not learn the latest software and technology that other companies in their field use.
This can make it challenging for employees to change jobs later if they're unfamiliar with newer methods of completing tasks. Changing jobs can be one way to gain exposure to different systems. If you're changing jobs after working for the same employer for many years, you may need to take more initiative to learn new systems as you pursue your new role. You can enroll in a training or certification course to develop your skills for using new systems.
Less variety of work experiences
Employees who stay with one employer for a long time may have more limited work experiences. If they've stayed in one role within a single company in their industry, they may grow comfortable completing tasks a certain way. Although these methods can be effective and work well for the employee, they may not use their flexibility and creativity to think of new and more efficient ways of performing tasks. Having more work experiences can expose employees to a wider range of skills, methods and systems that they can bring with them into new roles and work settings.
Career stagnation and fewer chances to learn new skills
Although many people enjoy feeling comfortable and confident in their jobs, sometimes complacency can prevent employees from growing and developing professionally. Staying with one employer for a long time may prevent you from taking risks that might push you to grow your professional skills and take on professional challenges. Some employees may start to find their jobs mundane and tedious, or they may struggle with burnout if they don't have opportunities to challenge themselves. Finding a different job with a new employer can be a great way to challenge yourself in a new position while learning new skills.
Salary bonuses and increases may become stagnant the longer you stay with a company. While many companies offer yearly salary increases, competitor companies may offer a higher earning potential. Leaving a company gives you the opportunity to negotiate your salary with a new organization, which may offer more of an immediate boost to your earnings than your annual bonus. Especially if there's little room for further promotion in your current company, pursuing a new role at a different company can help you advance your career and increase your earning potential.
FAQs about leaving a job
Here are some frequently asked questions about leaving a job:
When is the right time to leave a job?
To help you decide when to leave your job, consider your motivation for resigning. Ask yourself the following questions if you're considering a change in job:
- Is my current company a good cultural fit for me?
- Does my current position make the most of my skills and abilities?
- Does my current position fulfill my personal, professional and financial goals?
- Am I in a good position to help me achieve my future goals?
Answering these questions can help you determine whether your current company and position meet your needs and puts you in a position for continued growth toward your long-term goals. If your current position doesn't fulfill each of these questions, it may be a good time to consider a job change. Another option is to look for ways you can change your role in your company to better fit your needs without leaving.
Is it important to have another job before leaving?
Having an offer for another job can help you feel more secure when leaving a position, but whether you need one depends on your unique situation. Think about your reasons for leaving your current position and whether you have the financial security to spend time looking for a new job after leaving. If you can comfortably care for your financial needs while between jobs, then you may not need another job ready for when you resign. Otherwise, it may be better to wait until you have a job offer before resigning from your current position.
What's the process like for leaving a job?
When preparing to leave a job, try to give your employer or manager as much notice as possible. It's customary to give at least two weeks' notice when resigning from a position. In most cases, it's best to tell your manager or direct supervisor before anyone else when you've made your decision to leave your job.
Once you've made your decision, consider the best way to communicate your choice with your manager. Scheduling a meeting with your manager to resign privately and in-person is typically best practice, but sometimes, a letter of resignation is appropriate. For example, if you work remote, an email may be the most appropriate format for your letter of resignation.