Stuff the Capitalist (aka KD) Likes: The Band "Against Me"
3 Candidates: Know Your Role and Your Recruiting Strategy...

Are People Who Have 8-10 Years at Their Current Company Dinosaurs?

I think an interesting thing has happened when it comes to careers, and it's probably not a good thing.  People have historically judged you by switching jobs too often.  That's why I always counsel people to stick it out a year (preferably two) before jumping out of a less that perfect situation.

But in today's high change environment, there's another way candidates are getting judged:

Candidates who are approaching the decade mark (10 years) with the same company are increasingly being viewed as Get off my lawn being low-change, less-than-nimble dinosaurs.

Too harsh?  Well, I'm working on my 8th year at Kinetix, which far outlasts any other stop I've made in my career (previous record - 5.5 years.  I don't feel less nimble, but I can understand how the marketplace might think I'm "settled in."

"Settled in" is code for:

--set in my ways

--telling young kids to "get off my lawn" at work

--digging the long lunch

--not stirring up necessary change

--understanding it's "beer-thirty" somewhere.

OK, I'm an owner/investor at Kinetix, so maybe my situation is a bit different.  Like the Eagles once said, I can check out, but I can never leave - but I don't feel like I've checked out.

Unfortunately for those of my ilk (minus the ownership part) that would like to make a move - The 8-10 year professional grade worker who has risen to Director level, etc - the market might view them as settled in/tired.   For some, that's absolutely an accurate description.  For others, it's unfair.

If you're part of the latter group - open to a change but wearing the scarlet letter of too much time at your current company - there are things you can do to signal to the world that you don't sleep at work and could actually #### some #### up if they take a chance and hire you.  Things like:

1--update your LinkedIn profile (turn off notifications if you don't want your company to be notified)

2--write something that shows your passion for what you do

3--if you're cranking out killer work product that's non-proprietary, share the slides/excel/word docs publicly

4--participate in professional groups/events outside of work

What am I missing 1-company people?  What else can people who have been at the same place 8-10 years do to show they are open to new opportunities?  

It's hard being a middle-aged professional and straddling the line between being content and being eligible for the external game.

If you want to be in the external game, you've got to act accordingly.

Now get the #### off my lawn.

Comments

Ed

Crazy how tenure is viewed as a 'slot limit' where you have to find the delicate sweet spot between not enough time logged at a company (job hopper) or too much (dinosaur). Sometimes either end of the spectrum is used as a disqualifer just to winnow the qualified candidates list when it really doesn't matter.

Anne

I've been with my company for over 6 years so this is an interesting thought. Our company was 20 people when I started and now at 115. I started in HR a few years ago and it's been fun to get to shape our processes and policies here which is a main reason I've stayed. It's fun to work through issues versus bailing on them. Do you think it makes a difference if you've changed roles and list the same company with different job titles/responsibilities on your resume?

John

I'll see your 8-10 and raise you a couple! I've been 12 years with my current company and like Anne above, the company has grown substantially over that time, and as Head of HR reporting to the CEO, I've had pretty interesting and challenging projects to work on throughout. We had a change of CEO 3 years ago and unsurprisingly the new CEO has a totally different strategic agenda to the old, so it's been a little bit like a 'new' job in many respects lately from a projects perspective. I don't feel like a dinosaur but i do worry a little when asked "...and how long have you been here"? by work colleagues how my answer might be perceived. Am i now officially a dinosaur/old timer? Will recruiters view me as such?

MattL

Depressing, but good info to have.
--4 Companies in 30 years.

Karenv

I'm coming up on 16 years (and I'm GenX). I believe to stay relevant over the long haul you have to take on different roles and essentially reinvent yourself. Although I've always been in HR or L&D at my company, I've built a reputation for taking on new and challenging projects, the ones no one wants. I've had a promotion or some type of role transfer on average every 2 years, and interestingly never moving into a role that someone else had first (always a growth position, and usually unexpected). I stopped doing a 3-5 year plan a while back because the pace of change is fast, and my trajectory seems to be based on flexibility to go where I'm needed. Been working for me!

KD

Anne and Karen -

No question that a varied path in the same company restarts the clock in many people's eyes!

KD

Wayne

There are loads of people at my company who have been there 20 to 30 years (and some a few more). It surprises me that these folks can often be the most apathetic, and some are very resistant to change. think they have got to the point where they are comfortable and do not know anything else. I have noticed people tend to stay for 20 years or leave before the end of their first year, which I suppose tells a story about the kind of people who do well there.

Sonam

For me, it has always been a matter of where I find new challenges. Been with my current company for almost 7 years now and there is still more to learn. Having read the article (and like most people who have commented), it makes me think am I beginning to be the dinosaur?

Beth

A small or large amount of time in one job is likely to be scrutinized. The trick is to look at candidates for their skills and culture fit rather than subjective things. These are biases that come with the differences in working generations, and they can rarely be avoided. Even if you try, unconscious biases creep in and sway hiring decisions. For this reason, it's best to use HR tech (like this one: http://bit.ly/2f7PFng) and collaborate with everyone in the hiring process. This way, you can reduce the chances that biases (such as against being a "dinosaur") will sway the hiring decision.

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