Ruby Sky Coaching Have I stayed in my job too long? Ruby Sky Coaching


For decades, the traditional idea of the career ladder meant that the aim was to join a company and get promoted every so often until you reached the top of the ladder. You were not expected to move around and people who did move around, the “job hoppers”, were seen to be flighty and not dependable. 


There are clearly professions where the career ladder still applies, for example, lawyers tend to train in their firms and work their way up to Partner. But in many other industries, job hopping is the norm and staying somewhere too long can have negative connotations.  


If you have been in the same job for 15 years, would this be perceived as loyalty or laziness?


Although clearly there are many positive connotations with staying with a company for a long time; you are very knowledgeable in your own job but also in the company as a whole; you understand how the system works; you have a high level of expertise in your role and can mentor others; you are dependable and loyal.

However, anyone can see that the negative aspects can also be quite strong. You might be seen as someone who has narrow experience (not only of your job and also the job market as a whole). You might be seen to be lacking dynamism and adaptability. You might even start to become slightly institutionalised!


So, how can you work out where the tipping point is, when loyalty starts to signal complacency or laziness?


If you’ve been in the same industry for 30 years and are approaching an age when you can start to think about retirement, there is also that question of what the next steps are in your life? Do you retire early because you’re a bit bored and can’t imagine a life doing something different? Does it feel too late to learn new skills and you lack confidence to make the change? Does it actually feel like too much work to change direction and you just can’t be bothered? Or, alternatively, do you take that leap and do something completely different which ignites your passion again?


Stay or go, is it your choice? In fact, do you have a choice? Of course, you do.


We tend to plan for our working life, I say tend as many of us just fall into our first job (I was guilty of that initially) and then that sets out our career path, intentional or not. We might have started out with a desire to work in a certain industry but if it doesn’t work out straightaway, we might continue on a different path out of circumstance.


But, let’s say that we do tend to plan for our working life, so why don’t we spend the same energy and time planning for the next stage of our life and our own personal development? Whether it be a career change or the leap into retirement?


Signs it may be time to look for an alternative path


How do you know if you’ve stayed in a job too long? What are the signs that it might be time to start looking around for an alternative path?


Complaining more at work


Do you find that you are complaining more at work – not just to your friends or partner outside of work, but actually during your working day to your colleagues? Is frustration starting to show and come to the surface? It can be hard to keep these feelings buried. If your complaints are issues that cannot be solved, then this can be a sign that you need to move.


Feeling bored


Are you bored? Do you feel you’ve stopped learning new things at work? Is it no longer a challenge? Basically, you have lost motivation and enthusiasm and you are clock watching from lunch time. You have that Sunday evening dread.


Stagnated earnings


Have your earnings stagnated? You haven’t had a salary increase for a while and actually you are at the top of your potential earnings in your job in your company. Moving company may be the only way to get a pay rise.


Being excluded from meetings


Do you feel you are being excludedfrom meetings and are being overlooked or not noticed in the office? Younger people seem to get the better opportunities that you used to get.




Do you spend more time on your phone scrolling on social media than actually getting your tasks done? Do you put off tasks and procrastinate daily? Even though you want to leave one time, you get to the end of the day and realise that you haven’t actually done much work.


Feeling jealous of others


Do you find yourself envying friends who appear to love their jobs? You feel jealous and slightly bitter all the time. You also hate talking about your job…You’ve stopped believing in the work that you do.


This is quite a long list, and more scenarios could be added but if you are having these types of feelings on a regular basis, then it might be time to start considering your options and next steps.


Moving forward


It doesn’t have to be so radical that you hand in your notice and move on in a month, but it could be time to talk to people in your company and see whether you can make a move.  If that is not possible then you can start thinking about what it is that drives you in your life.  


  • What are your values?
  • What would you like to achieve in your life?  
  • What would you like your legacy to be?


If you are going to look at changing direction, then maybe it is time to start researching that new area and seeing whether there are any opportunities to dip your toe in without committing to a new career. Volunteer your time or shadow someone in the new industry.


If you think you might consider retirement, this is the time to start planning for it and looking into your options.

Talk to people around you and if you need more help, then consider chatting to a life and career coach who will help you de-clutter your thoughts and set in place a plan for the future.





Career Change


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