My husband graduated 5 years ago and got a job at his current company and loves it. I’m an avid reader, so I know you’d approve of the reasons why: He’s always learning. He’s thrilled to have opportunities to travel, and even live, abroad. We’ve both made good friends with a few of his colleagues. It’s close to our families, and he has a ten minute commute. There’s bullshit like anywhere, but we feel like it’s worth it. And he just got a promotion and a big raise.

The trouble is, he’s happy to stay there indefinitely as long as they pay is good but I worry that in the modern job market, he’ll seem odd for staying at the same company – his first job out of school! – for much longer. Can that be a bad thing? If so, can you mitigate it by diversifying a resume with other things like being active in industry organizations or volunteering?

Could it possibly make sense to give up so many good things for the benefit of having more diverse experience?

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3 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    This certainly does sound like a good job. And I appreciate that you know all my hot-buttons for why people should change jobs.

    For those who are not so well versed in the virtues of job hopping, here’s a post about why job hopping is important for your career.
    http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2006/12/24/good-news-for-job-hoppers-frequent-change-maintains-passion/

    And here’s a post about how to tell if you have a good job.
    http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2007/09/07/do-you-have-a-good-job-take-the-test/

    Once you’ve read those posts, you can see that this job that your husband has does, indeed, seem like a keeper.

    But here are the risks of staying in that job more than five years:
    1. Your husband does not learn job hunting skills. These are the skills that keep adults afloat in the world. To not develop these skills and have to support oneself, and maybe even a family, starts to feel scary. The older you get, the harder the skills are to develop because it is so incredibly humbling to job hunt.

    2. Your husband is not building a network outside of his company that can provide a safety net for him in bad times. If he were to lose his job because of trouble at the company, most of his network would also be out of work.

    3. He is overly reliant on his company. This, I think, is the biggest problem. The longer you stay with one company the more reliant you become on being able to stay longer. The company does not owe you anything. So it’s awkward to be so dependent on it.

    That said, there are some people who are such hotshots in their field that it doesn’t matter if they stay a long time at a company. They make their own tornado of ideas and innovations and the company they are at is secondary to what’s in their head. These people are always employable. These people are usually at very high-profile companies doing high-profile projects, and that high-profile nature of their job makes them employable even if they’ve been there for ten years.

    Most people are not in that situation. Most people have to worry about staying employable. And it’s very risky to put all your eggs in the basket of one company. Most of us would rather put our eggs in our own basket, that we control. And that’s what job hopping provides for.

    Penelope

  2. Jonha Revesencio
    Jonha Revesencio says:

    I’ve been working with the same company for over 4 years and while I really appreciate the network and skills I have built with them, I quit my day job last February and went freelance instead. It was the best decision. I felt that I should have done it sooner.

    But the job really sounds like a keeper. He could probably do volunteer or learn new skills on the side without affecting the time he’s devoting to his work.

  3. Rick
    Rick says:

    What if you are a telecommuter (independent contractor) for the company for 4 year and free to work with other clients although the bulk of your work (6 hrs) is with the one company?

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