Job Seniority: Is the Long Haul For You? 

Moving from one company or firm to another seems to be the norm. In fact, your college and grad school friends may have had three or four jobs before they reach age 30.

According to Jeanne Meister in Forbes, the average Millennial expects to stay in a job less than 3 years. So, while it may be the norm for people under age 36 to make a change, you do have options. Instead of dwelling on where the next external opportunity is going to come from, why not ask yourself, “Will job hopping really help my career and improve my life?”

The Advantages of Seniority
Seniority doesn’t mean you’re getting your AARP card and doesn’t even mean you should stay in the same position within your company. What it does mean is you know the ropes, the players involved, and understand the culture of the organization. When you’re “senior” within an organization, there is less ramp-up time required when leadership is considering whether to promote from within or hire externally.

Seniority can also help should hard times hit your company. The last-in/first-out layoff policy frequent in many companies is there for good reason—it shows no favoritism or discrimination.

Seniority also provides leadership opportunities, such as having a respected, experienced voice in the firm or company, and even mentoring and training new employees. While these tasks can be time consuming and add to your normal workload, this responsibility also means you are being recognized for your abilities and trusted with the next generation of employees. Your business needs long-standing employees with company knowledge and experience, and may reward that with service or longevity recognition and important work assignments.

Corporate Benefits
While changing jobs can bump up your salary and offer potential signing bonuses, there are long-term benefits to having the same benefits package year after year:

  • Increased paid time off, a.k.a. “vacation,” is a benefit of sticking with a company long term. You’ve earned the right to take your vacation, and while some younger CPAs may hesitate to be gone for too much time due to a perceived loss of job security, the longer you’re with your firm or company, the more of a non-issue this is.
  • 401K, stock options, and vesting will grow; the longer they are invested, the more you’ll be worth in the future. If you decide to leave to join another company, you can roll over any retirement savings, of course.
  • Keeping the same health insurance means you can avoid needing to switch doctors or be out of network. Young CPAs with young children know how much it costs to ensure good health.
  • When applying for a mortgage or other loan, banks look more positively upon individuals who have stayed in a job for at least 2 years.

Making it Personal
Perhaps the most important reason to stay put in your career is for stability. Staying put, rather than continually looking for a job, allows you to see the big picture and make long-term life plans. If you are dealing with personal issues, such as kids and aging parents, having seniority often provides a more flexible work schedule because you’ve proven yourself that you get the job done.

At the end of the day, you have to decide your own personal and professional goals. There are pros and cons to staying with an organization. Ask yourself some important questions:
Am I learning at my job?
Is it fun?
Do I enjoy going there every day?
Am I growing my skills and responsibilities?
Is my work appreciated?

Knowing the answers and adding “and do I want to still be here?” to the end of each question is a good way to measure whether staying put is the right choice for you. At the end of the day, measure and weigh your options, because you do have options!




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