What's worse, being at a job for too long or not long enough?
October 9, 2007 8:53 AM   Subscribe

What's worse, being at a job for too long or not long enough?

Does it look worse to stay at the same company w/ no advancement/raise for 2+ yrs, or to make a move somewhere else but not stay there longer than a year?

I'll be applying to Law School in Dec 2008 (exactly 1 yr after I graduate), but don't want to shoot my resume in the foot if the worst-case happens and I don't get in anywhere good.
posted by doppleradar to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Depends on the field, but usually it's better to be somewhere 'too long' than seems like an employment-gadfly who can't hold down a job. Also, 2+ years is rarely a 'long time' to go without advancement unless it's extremely entry-level (ie, drone-at-retail or somesuch). You may not have gotten a promotion, but it's not like your resume is going to indicate whether you got a raise during those two years, so it'll look just like you got a job that didn't rapidly promote you; big deal.

...Also, you haven't graduated from college yet, if I read your question correctly. Nobody is going to look all that hard at the details of your college employment unless you draw their attention to it as something really noteworthy.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:06 AM on October 9, 2007

I'm not a job hopper myself but would argue that its not really the length of time rather the compelling story you tell the next employer that makes the difference.

I hire and interview a lot, and would never automatically exclude someone for a series of six month positions. However folks will get points off if they can't tell me a good story - e.g., acquiring new skills, additional responsibility, etc - when reviewing their career history and I ask why they left a given job.
posted by Mutant at 9:10 AM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Tomorrowful: Ya, I'll be graduating in December and have been offered my part-time Research Assistant position full-time. Same pay, same title, same duties.
posted by doppleradar at 9:19 AM on October 9, 2007

When you graduate from school, it is expected that you will do something different. You have a free pass. Get a new job if you feel like it.

Besides, you might not get into the law school of your choice. Start thinking about an alternate career now just in case the law school thing doesn't pan out.
posted by crazycanuck at 9:32 AM on October 9, 2007

There's a big difference between part-time and full-time. Doing something part time for two years is not the same as doing it full-time. At least it looks different on the CV.
posted by slimepuppy at 10:02 AM on October 9, 2007

I've generally stayed in jobs (real, post-graduation jobs) for about 5 years. During that time, there were changes in responsiblities and pay grade but usually not official promotions. As long as you are learning and/or accomplishing things you will be fine. Now if you are already bored - that's a different story - but if you like the work, I would not feel obliged to change jobs just for your resume.
posted by metahawk at 10:36 AM on October 9, 2007

Yeah, it seems to me that going from part-time to full-time is a promotion. You can even set it up that way on a resume.

Not only that, if you're given benefits it's also a substantial raise (25-30%, I think).
posted by Jahaza at 10:38 AM on October 9, 2007

So then you will have about 1 year and 9 months before you start law school? The vast majority only start students in August, so you'll start in August of 09? Dude, that's two years from now... might as well get a job you like.
posted by letahl at 10:48 AM on October 9, 2007

Hmm - I think you're asking the wrong question.

I've had 3 permanent post graduation jobs in the last 4 years - I've been at my current job for 19 months and that's the longest stint so far.

The reason why I left the last two jobs was because I was not given the opportunity to progress the way I was promised when accepting the positions. I was given unchallenging work and when I excelled at the tasks line management felt threatened...you get the idea.

The reason why I'm still in my current job is that I am constantly given new challenges, I am encouraged to take on more responsibility as quickly as I feel comfortable (and can demonstrate that I can handle it) and that I am offered formal career progression...my current annual development plan incorporates all the targets/experience I need to gain promotion in the next appraisal round and I am given ample opportunity to meet all my targets...if I should fail to get promotion (without good reason) I would be looking to move again next year...

You should never stick with a job you hate/is a bad fit so as not to upset your employment history. What is important is that you can explain moves and can make a good case as for hiring you to the prospective employer...
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:57 AM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

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