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How It Hurts To Be In One Job Far Too Long

In my last article Ways To Avoid Office Politics At Workplace, I had mentioned about how things have changed, from job perspective, from what used to be some 20-25 years ago. Because the population was less than what it is today, because more people were still dependent on Agriculture, because there were fewer companies back then and because people were a little laid back in those times, all things combined together resulted in them working in the same job for years together. There have been many examples of people (in White Collar Staff or Management Cadre) working for 25-30-35 years in same company, even may be at same location, and having retired happily. It used to be considered as a special achievement back in those days.

Cut short to today, we have got the additional population (Gen Y), even from rural parts of India, who aren’t keen on taking up Agriculture & who study hard for Corporate jobs just like their counterparts in urban areas, the latter supposedly in that race by default. More companies have come up too but the race that you see today is unheard of. Changing lifestyles, the need to be somebody, yearning for riches and recognition in society, coupled with the need for instant gratification (especially on social media) is something we imagine of, as a perfect life. Having a car and one to two foreign visits per year as your annual vacation is the minimum you have to achieve.

With these ever changing paradigms, I feel unfortunately things are also changing about how anybody is looked at, perceived or treated if one stays at same job or company for far too long. It suddenly appears, even from the Head of Human Resources’ facial reactions that a particular guy is being labelled as a “failure” – somebody who cannot get a job elsewhere or somebody who is now in that comfort zone who has “chalta hai toh chalne do” mentality. I do not know if that really is the case with this particular gentleman we are referring to. It used to be that working today for 15 years (please note that with today’s time, I have reduced the tenure from 30 above to 15), is not considered as 15 years. It’s being looked into as 1 year experience getting repeated additional 14 times.

Earlier, employers would have been really happy to hire an employee with long innings in his profession. Today, it is being viewed with suspicion & circumspect. “This guy hasn’t tried anything new in years” is a major worry. 

These are the 6 major ways in which staying in one job for far too long can hurt you seriously.

6 Possible Outcomes That May Hurt You If You Happen To Stay In A Job For Many Years

Fewer Varied Experiences (Less Exposure)  

When you stay with one Company or one job, there is a strong possibility of fewer variety of experiences in one’s professional lifetime. While you may defend that you indeed worked on various projects in say 15 years that you worked for an X job, your overall exposure on how differently the things are done, at various levels shall not be worth boasting. Different companies have different policies. Even if the policies are same, there is a different logic for arriving at. This kind of exposure is limited in same job. The only exception being on-site work at client’s place. 


Limited Versatility On Your CV

Taking the above point into account, it is deemed today that having worked in different companies means more stuff to mention on your CV. And because things are not the same everywhere, it is assumed that you know the ways of solving the same matter differently, with different approaches. More is also better sometimes !

Getting Into Too Much of Complacent Behaviour

Once you cross 3 year period mark, I strongly believe you get into “I-know-it-all” attitude if your job description and location happen to be stagnant. You know the Company, the Policies, the People, the Right People, the Do’s & Dont’s etc and there is a strong possibility of you becoming complacent (relaxed), on the fact that you are able to “manage” better. On the contrary, changing jobs (say every 3-4 years) aims to keep you on your toes in terms of keeping yourself updated on the trends & practices, you work hard to create your value & hence acceptance among new peer group, you then work for showing your worth, for a raise & promotions. Then finally, you are ready for your next move.  

Ignoring All Your Other Talents

Working in one particular job for a considerable time ensures you don’t use or get to use all your talents. Say you are into managing employee relations in a factory. Now you may have a liking for number crunching as well but you may not get to use it. 

Very Narrow Focus of Life In General

Staying put at one job makes you have a very narrow focus on job and life in general.  You tend to think only about your job, the next increment cycle etc as if there is no life other than this particular job. You may not tend to upgrade your skills and be content with all you got. You may not think about other options and other things that you would be doing, if not for this job. World is much bigger than you think it is.

Managing Perception About You & Your Growth

You may have to fight the perceived notion about you in your organization, if you stay there for too long. With young and more young people joining in, if you don’t really grow in your organization with time, there is going to be a notion “this oldie seems to be a lifetime member of this company” or “he is not going to get a job anywhere” etc. Gradually, your CTC may get reflected in your superiors’ eyes but not the work you do. A change of Management will only worsen the situation, if they are number-crunching people.

In a nutshell, above 6 reasons point out towards the possible negative outcomes if you are stuck in your job for a long time, without any corresponding growth in hierarchy and money. There can be many other outcomes. The interviewers may keep asking you “why have you changed your jobs so frequently” to somebody who has indeed done some serious job hopping. But for some who hasn’t, there will definitely be an alternative question “it seems you haven’t changed job for a long time”.

So get out and meet your peer level and senior colleagues in the industry. Exciting time is now or never !

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4 thoughts on “How It Hurts To Be In One Job Far Too Long”

  1. This is so true. My aunt was in the same firm for 30 years and finally when she quit she was left with practically no exposure. The management changed and they had no soft corner for the old employees

  2. Agreed. The whole perception game has changed. I feel people with higher tenure in same organization are invariably looked into as liabilities (except if you are not in TOP Management). Sad but a reality, our generation will have to avoid…

  3. Sad but the truth these days. I also feel that the middle management (read Managers) is more responsible for encouraging this thought now-a-days. In any case they stay for only 2-3 years, want to impress their bosses & want to take good hikes in that period, find another job, leave in a hush and just don’t care about the company thereafter. But in that short duration, they want to be heroes and bring in some really stupid policies, including the above.

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