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  • Kym Bartlett

How long should you stay in a job?

I’ve had this question from a number of times from clients, especially those who are very ambitious and have progressed up the ladder quickly at the beginning of their career.

Though there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer, I’ve created my own guide as an outline of what to expect at each level.

Feel free to discuss, respond, share and question.

I’m up for the debate!

Entry level Assistant – your first job is usually one that is fairly junior and that you should learn quickly from and look to move upwards within 1.5-3 years.

Officer/Executive level – this is often a pivotal hands-on role in which you really get to test out whether this type of role and sector is right for you. You'll usually be working directly with a Manager, and often alongside someone at the same level, so there are lots of learning opportunities to soak up both sideways and upwards. 2.5-4 years.

Manager – you’ve reached the heady heights of Manager, you have people and a specific area of delivery that you’re responsible for. This is where you can really make your mark, start to have your voice heard more widely across the organisation, and make decisions on your own that have impact. 3-5 years.

Department Head – Congratulations! You’re a Head of Department and with that, you’re now entrusted with the direction of travel for an entire team. You may also be part of the Senior Management / Leadership team. Your sphere of influence is much broader and this is a meaty role, especially in times of organisational change. To make your mark you should expect to be in this role for 5+ years.

Director – You’re probably now well into your second decade of working, and in a senior leadership role, possibly holding overall responsibility for an entire organisation’s output, staff and financial wellbeing. This may be job of your dreams, the one you’ve been aiming for all along, or a milestone before you move into a different area of your sector or set up your own company. People usually work in these roles for 7+ years, and sometimes for the remainder of their working life.

What do you think? Does this chime with your own experience? Am I on point or way off-piste?

#careeradvice #careercoach


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