How Many Years Should You Spend at a Job?

There is a belief that happiness is a key factor in how long people stay at their jobs. There used to be this idea of retiring after 40 odd years with one single company, getting a pension during your retirement, that is no longer the case. Father George Rutler believes that our lack of happiness in our work plays a large part in the national average of time at one company creeping under 5 years. Though his belief in this theory may be right, he in turn supports the idea that when you begin to feel unhappy, for whatever the reason, it is time to move on to a new job. 

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics the median employee tenure was between 4-4.3 years. While age plays a large factor in job longevity, younger workers spend about 2.8 years on the job, while 35-44 year old’s were 4/9 years and 45 to 54 years were 7.6 years. Showing that generationally, there are different factors playing into how long someone will stay at a single job. Some of the recent popular reasons for career change is better work life balance, works focus has changed since you started with them, lack of recognition, no pay increases, choosing a less stressful career, better alignment of personal values with company values, company reorganization, lack of career advancement opportunities, work is not engaging or interesting, work benefits are lacking or no work perks, company location or company is planning to relocate. Father Rutler  believes all of these factors contribute to job happiness. Staying at a job that no longer serves you, does not value your work, doesn’t align with your personal choices, or simply does not make you happy should cause you to move on to a new career. While considering a job change, it should be for the right reasons, and to ensure that you are going to find happiness in your new role. Father George Rutler believes that as you find yourself feeling unhappiness in your current role, you have the opportunity to assess what will make you happy in your next role. Of course, something to consider would be what makes you stay in your role for an extended time frame as well. Finding out what held you back from being happy in your previous role in the first place will take self reflection and will cause you to widen your search to make sure the new role checks all the boxes. 

Overall, the contribution of generational differences and what people look for in order to be happy at their job has caused the average length of time people stay at a job to decrease significantly. Father Rutler truly believes that happiness is the most important factor at a job and you should not stay any longer if your career no longer gives you happiness and serves you in the right ways. You should consider this ideology as you assess your current happiness in your career.