Q: I have been in my job for six years. I am happy with it, but my boss has been hinting that I should develop my career. What do you think?
A: This is a difficult one. I don't believe there are any hard and fast rules about how long you should stay in a job. There are broad parameters - I think 10 years in the same position is probably too long, two years is too short. But in between, it all depends on you and the organisation.
You should certainly listen to your boss. If they are good they will want to support you in your career. You should always pay close attention to what those close to you have to say. Is your boss saying you are "time expired"? A hard message, but one that may need acting on.
If you have close colleagues or, in particular, a mentor, ask them for their advice. It is important you get dispassionate advice.
Ask yourself whether you see yourself being in the same job in a year from now. You have spent a reasonable time in your current post. I understand that the average length of stay in senior jobs is around three to four years so you certainly should not feel that you are a fly-by-night.
Here are some telltale signs that might indicate you should move:
- Your current job requirements are not a good match with your best skills
- The current job does not adequately meet your needs in areas that you value, such as work/life balance, work location, compensation package or general fulfilment
- You have wanted to advance in your current organisation or take on new opportunities but these have not been realised
- Is your current post completely satisfying and fulfilling? Are you just coasting along?
- Do colleagues, family and friends tell you that you need to change?
- The levels of pleasure and meaning in your job are lower than they were initially
- Your standing in the organisation is not what it once was
None of this is to suggest that you do not have more to offer. But it is essential that every so often we conduct a job inventory for ourselves, and decide whether it is time to make a career move. Listen to the promptings of your boss and have a good think about what lies out there. This is a brilliant time for the sector and there are some amazing opportunities around. Have a look at them and see if one of them has your name on it.
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