There have been articles and even books written lately about the trend among younger financial professionals to hop from company to company in order to advance their careers. And in this brutally volatile market place, that may be a necessary strategy for some.
Still, there are a number of reasons that staying with your current firm could provide a number of career and financial benefits, and David K. Williams, CEO of Fishbowl as well as being a contributor to HBR and Forbes, has come up with his top ten reasons for staying with a company for at least ten years.
"If you stay at one company for the long haul, you’ll be more likely to rise in seniority," writes Williams, "rather than having to scratch and fight to establish a stronger role at each new company as you go."
With seniority comes the chance to lead others and mentor newcomers through the transition to their new jobs, he adds. "Your success increases your abilities—builds a loyal following in your team members—and makes you a leader who is naturally upheld by your team, rather than working to defend the authority you’ve been given in a new firm by decree."
If you’re constantly worrying about where you’ll be in the next year, it’s difficult to make long-term plans, Williams points out. "A little stability in your career and workplace can help you cope more effectively with the stresses that are sure to occur within the rest of your life."
Home-ownership and retirement funds
"Job hoppers pay a high price in home equity and retirement accounts," writes Williams. "Every job change that requires a move will also enact a high transaction cost to change homes, which is never ideal outside of chosen opportunities to move to a more suitable home. Stability is also appealing to banks, who often look more favorably on prospective borrowers who’ve held consistent jobs for a minimum of two years, and preferably more. Vesting in 401K and stock option programs is generally badly affected by hops. So while employees think they may be gaining an advantage by jumping to a new company to get a sign-on bonus or raise, in the long term, employees who maximize vesting schedules and maintain their retirement accounts will likely excel."
Many companies increase employees’ paid time off if they stay at a job for a certain number of years, he says. As he already noted, you also increase your accounts and your vesting of benefits such as 401K and stock options by staying put and remaining stable. "You can spend more time with your family and can achieve lifestyle goals with the extra time off and the extra stock and retirement savings long-term employment affords," Williams adds.
If you allow other people to get to know you over a long course of time, you’ll grow to trust their advice, and they’ll be able to point out the blind spots you may have otherwise never addressed, he says. "Furthermore, you’ll recognize and resolve your own weaknesses far more effectively if you stay put and address what bothers you rather than jumping ship and blaming your discontent on your former co-workers and boss," wrote Williams.
If you are able to stay at one place for 10 years, it shows that you are able to do a lot of things right, he adds. "People will respect and trust you for the dependability you show."
Most people who stay at a company for a decade or more progress through multiple increasingly challenging roles while they’re there, Williams points out. "They typically try their hands at a variety of roles to help determine what they’re most passionate about. The difference between moving within a company and moving between companies is that you retain your status and benefits, but you’re also free to experiment and try some new things."
"It’s easy to quit over perceived unfairness or serious challenges," writes Williams. "But it shows much stronger character to persevere, to find and enact solutions to problems, repair damage, and take an active role in turning a situation around. However, if you work in a genuinely toxic corporate environment, you should absolutely take your leave, as quickly as possible, and move on."
A Say in the Company’s Future
You can have a positive influence on your company’s direction over the years, he concludes. And you can do so "from a position of experience and knowledge, if you’re willing to stick with the company through good times and bad."
To paraphrase a famous Stephen Still song, "if you can't be with the firm you love, learn to love the firm you're with." It could prove to be well worth it in the long run.