Career Success: How Long Should You Stay In A Job

A question people sometimes ask and can be difficult to answer is how long should I stay in a job if I want to have a successful career.

While some will tell you that it is essential that you change jobs every two years if you want to get to the more senior levels, the reality is that there is no definitive answer.  When I reflect in my 25 years in accountancy and consultancy, some of the things that influenced my job change timing choices included:

  • Whether I was continuing to grow and develop in my current role.
  • Whether I was adding to my skills, attributes and experience.
  • The people I was working with and whether they were encouraging and supporting my progression.
  • What was going on in the organisation I was working in.  Sometimes there were special short to medium term projects that made it really worthwhile staying around.

So back to the question of how long to stay in a job.  In my experience a change every 24-36 months worked well for me.  It provided sufficient time to get some solid experience and at the same time stopped me getting bored.

I personally found that a huge part of your impact came in 6 to 18 month period.  If you think about it the first 3 months are often about finding your feet.  By the 6th month you know where you can really make a difference and can demonstrate some rapid progress and results.

However, we are all individuals and have different drivers and the key is to find what works best for you.

So what has been your experience?

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps professional people achieve more career success.  He invites you to check out his free audio masterclass at

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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