The Power of Staying Power

Joan-Smalls-and-Lara-Stone-by-Mert-Marcus-for-Vogue-US-July-2012-450x382Every March LinkedIn reminds me how long it’s been since the inception of The Fit. I’m embarrassed to admit that I almost always forget when our anniversary approaches. This March we celebrated 6 years. 6 years seems like a long time although for many of you with more than 20 years of industry experience we probably seem more like infants. Everything is always changing in our industry, the pace quickens every year. Trends, mergers, leadership changes, new technology, the emergence of new brands while others shutter. There’s something to be said for staying power. It’s less common today to see a resume with more than 5 years of tenure in one place. Clearly there are exceptions to this rule. I’m aware of a handful of candidates who have more than 20 years with the same company. More with less than two years of experience within each role. Overall the industry average is around 3-4 years at one company.

Why do we change jobs ever few years? Do we become bored, unchallenged, frustrated or simply looking for a better fit? There are many valid reasons for desiring change. We talk about most of them on this blog. The larger question is are we moving blindly through our career or do we have a strategic plan? I’ve spoken with several candidates who when accepting a role quietly and personally commit to x number of years before considering a change. Others who have a larger goal in mind and each position is a carefully planned step in their career. Still others who have stumbled upon an opportunity that was simply too good to resist.

There’s nothing wrong with change. While most of us resist the things that make us uncomfortable, change is in many ways healthy. It causes us to grow. But again, there’s something to be said for the power of staying power. When I see a resume with 5-10 years of tenure within the same company, I know I have found someone who is loyal, dedicated and committed. Hiring managers never question whether this individual will jump ship after a few seasons or wait it out until a better deals comes knocking. They’ve got grit, endurance and the stomach to weather the storm through re-orgs, management changes and their fellow coworkers moving on. These individuals should be greatly appreciated and valued in their company. They carry an immense amount of institutional knowledge that can be passed on to incoming talent.

Is tenure something you should pursue at all costs? Certainly not. If you were in an unhealthy relationship would your closest friends advise you to stick around? On the flip side nobody and no company is perfect. How will you decide when it’s time for your next move?


Photo Credit: Fashiontography