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How Long is Too Long in Your Job?

By Sarah Bloomfield on 30.10.14 in Career

People used to invest years of their lives into a company. Fifteen to twenty years spent dedicating time and resources to a job was considered the norm. These days, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who has remained in the same company for more than six years - let alone doing the same job.  People are said to stay in their jobs for an average of four years before moving on and it seems to be the more popular trend. Gone are the days of frowning upon those who are deemed to be "job hoppers"- now employers are wondering whether a candidate that has stayed in a job for a long time is afraid of change and has become inflexible - rather than loyal. In reality, there shouldn't be set times dictating the length of time you spend in one job- it is subjective - something that relies entirely on how you feel.

So what are some signs that you've been in the same job for too long?

1. When your job no longer interests you.

When you stop caring about the effort you're putting into your projects and start taking long periods of time to do virtually nothing- you know you couldn't care less about your job.You may also find yourself taking extended lunch hours, daydreaming about your retirement and fake buying houses on RightMove with your equally fake millions. You've probably spent too long doing the same tasks day in and day out and need to move up in your job or move on out. 

2. When you've made no progress.

You know this has happened when your job title  has changed multiple times, yet your salary has remained stagnant and the same. Spending five years in the same job position without a whisper of an improved standing in the company, growth opportunities or at least some added holiday days are no longer feasible. Either you're rubbish at your job, in which case you should probably find a new profession or the company you work for undervalues your contribution. In both cases, you're better off leaving.

3. When you feel constantly stressed and under pressure.

Stress can affect you physically and mentally. Sleepless nights, back pain, increased headaches, irritability and depression are all common symptoms relating to workplace stress. Studies have shown that chronic workplace stress is most common in jobs where employees feel as though they have little control and feel underappreciated and overworked. When you leave for the day, work issues should not be on your mind. Time doesn't have a constraint here - if you find yourself constantly worrying about work to the point where it has begun to affect your personal relationships and your health, you've stayed in that job for too long.

4. When you are underperforming.

It can often be demotivating when you acknowledge the fact that you are underperforming. And if you have noticed, chances are others will have too. You are burning out. You may have been in that role for too long and have started to lack interest in the tasks that you've been given, or you could be in a slump. Have a look at your past performance reviews- if your underperformance is a growing trend then you need to make a change before one is made for you. 

5. When you still feel like you don't fit in with the company culture.

If it's been over a year and you still don't fit in with the company culture, whether it's a difference between values or you just don't get along with you co-workers- you need to leave. It seems like such a petty reason to for leaving, but feeling as though you don't belong leads to an unhappy work environment. This inturn can then lead to stress and a burgeoning disinterest in the work itself.

6. When you've exhausted all possible advancement opportunities.

You know you've definitely been in your job for too long when you've completed every course that a company can provide for you and you've been promoted to the highest level that you can with your abilities. It's time to find greener pastures, your job has provided as much as it possibly can. Congratulations, you've got the best case scenario.

7. When you are unhappy.

You may be feeling underappreciated at work, stuck under a heavy workload, stressed, burnt out or a mixture of all. Needless to say, if you dread waking up in the morning and frequently envision you dream rage-quit scenario- it's in your best interest to quit and find somewhere better to work or something better to do. Your own happiness or lack thereof should be a good indicator that you've remained in a job for too long.