Gone are the days of retiring after 40 years of service to the company that hired you right out of college. Industry changes, volatile startups and impatient millennials have created a professional culture in which frequent job changes are now the norm.
But bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch warns that while job-hopping is no longer uncommon, the length of time you stay at a job still matters to hiring managers.
“They get that jobs don’t last forever anymore,” she tells CNBC Make It, “but they don’t want to go through the arduous process of finding someone, training them and getting them up and running, only to have them flit onto the next cool thing when a friend calls and says, ‘Hey, we have an opening.'”
Moving from job to job, Welch says, can signal that you run at the first sign of a challenge, and hiring mangers are looking for people who can “stay and build something” at their company.
Rather than putting in your two weeks’ notice when the going gets tough or when another opportunity arises, Welch says employees should stay at their current job for at least one year before moving on to something new.
“Anything under that — especially if it’s happening over and over again — is a red flag to a hiring manager,” she says.
You do have a little more flexibility with the one-year rule if you’ve stuck around longer in previous jobs. For example, Welch says, if you have a five-year stint at one company, then you have the ability to have one or two six-month or eight-month job entries on your resume.
“Think of it as a kind of equation,” she says. “You can ‘flit’ a bit, but only if you’ve stayed a bit, too.”
If a terrible boss, difficult co-worker or toxic work culture is making you want to leave ASAP, then a year can seem like an eternity. But before you act on your emotions, Welch says it’s important to think about the long-term effects your decision can have.
“Don’t let the impulse to get out fast undermine your career in the long run,” she says. “Stick with it for longer than you’d like — you’ll thank yourself later.”