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3 Reasons Not to Stay at Your Job Too Long

Should you stay or should you go? Typically, job hopping is frowned upon because it suggests that you're flighty and possibly incompetent, thus a waste of money for the employer. Of course, it could also mean that you know what you want and don't want in your career. Here are three reasons why staying at your job for too long may be a career breaker, rather than a career maker.

Should you stay or should you go? Typically, job hopping is frowned upon because it suggests that you’re flighty and possibly incompetent, thus a waste of money for the employer. Of course, it could also mean that you know what you want and don’t want in your career. Here are three reasons why staying at your job for too long may be a career breaker, rather than a career maker.


(Photo Credit: marfis75/Flickr)

The job market is much different now than it was even 10 years ago. Having a killer resume doesn’t seem to cut it anymore, and more of the focus is on your online presence and individuality. Younger generations, millennials especially, are much more focused on finding happiness and meaning in their careers, rather than joining the rat race and climbing the corporate ladder like the many generations of burned-out professionals before them. Therefore, if one job doesn’t serve them after a while, millennials might be less reluctant to move on to greener pastures to seek out the happiness and fulfillment they originally sought out to find in their careers.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Maybe they’re on to something, there. If you consider that a Gallup study found that 65 percent of managers are “checked out” at work and hate their jobs, and that 70 percent of employees are miserable at their current jobs, it seems that ditching the downer job might be the way to go, if you want to have an enjoyable and fruitful career. Here’s what you need to consider.

1. No Money, Mo’ Problems

If your reason for sticking around at your current employer is because of money, then you’re in for a rude awakening. According to a Towers Watson survey conducted on 1,100 employers, employers are expected to cap raises at 3 percent this year, reports CNN Money, and employees can expect this same percentage for 2016, too. To put this into perspective, say you earn $80,000 this year and are expecting a 3 percent raise at the end of the year. This means you can expect a whopping $2,400 more tacked on to your annual salary, and that’s before taxes.

The problem with being overworked and underpaid is that you will become resentful of your employer over time, which is extremely detrimental to your and your employer’s success.

2. Boredom

Staying in the same job without advancing can cause you to become bored with your job and, even worse, complacent in your career. As the saying goes, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground,” and this especially applies to workers.

If you’re bored at your job, then you’re probably filling your time with things that do keep your interest, like gossiping, taking long breaks, and surfing the internet on the clock, to name a few. What’s the point of staying in a boring job and collecting a paycheck, when you could be out there doing something that you love and are passionate about?

Too often, professionals stay at their less-than-fulfilling jobs because they hope to advance up the ranks eventually, only to find out that they’ve wasted valuable time and energy on a dead-end job. The problem is that these professionals end up accepting their unfortunate fate and become jaded and complacent in their careers until retirement. That’s no way to live.

3. Stagnant Growth

Sticking around at one job for too long can also be detrimental to your chances of progressing in your career. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t mind working at the same exact job for your entire career, then this doesn’t apply to you. However, if you’re like the vast majority of professionals who have a desire to get promoted, then staying at the same employer for too long can stifle those plans and your potential.

Staying put also tells your employer that you’re just peachy keen where you’re at and don’t have intentions to move up anytime soon. This type of mentality and behavior can lead to your employer taking you for granted and overlooking you when it comes time for promotions, perpetuating your “stay put” situation again and again. 

If you’re looking for some pointers on how long is too long to stay at a job, then read this post. It’s also important to know when it’s time to switch careers and when making the change to an entirely new industry is the right move.

In the end, the reason to stay at or leave your current job is a personal decision. If you’re happy at your job and there’s potential for you to grow within the company, then, by all means, stay and earn seniority as you expand your career. However, if the future looks gloomy at your current employer, then it may be time to move on to bigger and better things to ensure that you’re not wasting your prime years at a dead-end job and limiting your full potential.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the longest you’ve stayed at one job? If you left, what were your reasons? Share your story with our community on Twitter or leave a comment below. 

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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8 Comments on "3 Reasons Not to Stay at Your Job Too Long"

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The biggest reason not to stay is career growth and money. Employee mobility is the only way employers are forced to cough up money. In my first job, I stuck around for 7 years and always was an exceptional performer. The first 2 years, raises were 10%. Then they continued reducing and the last year it was only 3% despite me architecting one of their most important systems! I took the way out and was offered some 30% raise to stay put. I declined politely and took a 20% raise with my next employer. The same story unfolded – this… Read more »

I have been in a government agency for 7 years. I left another government ministry for this one. However, I have been disillusioned from day one of entry. Allowances are unpaid. Suspected salary cut. Lack of feeling of fulfillment career. Intimidation. I also realised the job is a dead end. Sometimes I feel entrappend.

If you are at a good place stay. In the place I am I have seen people leave “before they were pushed” and in the end they were not going to be pushed at all; they just got panicky – and or restless and went to a more “glamorous” upmarket environment – only to find it was over micromanaged and there was no trust. and even though it appeared more on the go and paid more money; it was actually a lot more stressful and that the boring place they left was in fact one that allowed for more freedom… Read more »

@Dan M. Yes we all work for money, but for some the company mission is a driver. As a govt. contractor I really like supporting the goals of the govt. agency for which we have a contract. Without that I would probably be moving towards something else I actually find fulfilling.


You don’t want to jump too soon or too often. Unless the position simply isn’t what was advertised it makes sense to stick around at least 3 or 4 years.

Dan M.

Just like the folks in the corporate suite, I’m working to improve my life style and living conditions. So, at any job, I’m in wealth building mode at all times! I’m very open about that as well. I work for money and that’s that. We all do, right?!


Some good points from this article AND the previous comments! I’ve learned (at least in the healthcare
field), that leaving one place for another employer for a while, then returning, that my income grew MUCH faster than staying put and receiving the usual yearly merit raise. I also grew by learning and bringing much knowledge back to my original employer that has always been good to me. I’ve now worked there for over 20 years, and plan to stay with for the retirement benefits as well.


I was with an employer for 13 Years, I left do to a younger Manager that would talk down to his employees and micro- manage, Looking Back at my decision to move on finically was not a good one.

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