Surely someone in your family still talks about the fact that ‘back in the day’ people stayed at the same job for many, many, many years – sometimes for all or most of their careers.
But, in recent years, at least the past 10 years, the length of that perceived loyalty has dramatically decreased. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in a September 2014 press release (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/tenure.pdf
) the median number of years workers held their jobs was 4.6 in 2014 and in 2012; 4.4 in 2010, 4.1 in 2008 and 4.0 in 2006 and 2004. But really, it isn’t at all about loyalty to your employer. It is about loyalty to your own career and the reality of the job market.
Tony Beshara, president and owner of Babich & Associates employment and recruitment firm, advised in an email interview that job hunters focus on the short-term rather than the long-term when evaluating job offers.
“If and when a company talks to you about the long-term possibilities of promotion opportunities, don’t buy into it. Instead, judge a job offer based on what it can do for you and your career now and over the next two or three years,” he said.
And, if you have two (or more) job offers, follow these two easy steps to make the best decision. Step One: Judge each of them separately, using these questions from Beshara:
Q: If I get two to three years of experience in this job how have I enhanced my experience for the future?
A: Look for aspects of the job that stretch you into doing things you haven’t done before.
Q: If I get two to three years experience with this company, will having worked there be of any value.
A: Look for the kinds of companies that people in your industry or profession recognize and respect.
Q: Can this type of company help me down the line?
A: Try to work for a variety of firms within your profession to show your range of flexibility.
Q: Does this organization offer positions that I can build upon from previous ones?
A: Avoid becoming a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. “That will make it difficult to ‘reach higher levels of the profession because you can never get beyond ‘first or second base’ in any one arena,” Beshara said. “Hiring organizations want to hire the best quality of candidate they can, with the documentation and track record in what they do.”
Step Two: Compare the jobs to each other. Remember, to make the best decision, you have to compare apples to apples, so use the same ideas from the questions above. Job hunters who have a career goals and/or a career plan will fare best in the step because their milestones will guide them. So, if you have neither of these, don’t go any further until you do. Based on your goals, answer these questions.
- Of the two jobs, which will prepare you better for your next goal?
- Of the two companies, which is more respected by your colleagues?
- Of the two types of companies, which one exposes you to a culture or experiences that are different from your past experiences (for example, start-up company versus traditional company)?
- Which of the two positions moves you closer to being a specialist in your field and therefore a candidate who can compete with colleagues who have the same amount of time in the field?