IT Employment optimize

Is employee dependability out of style?


Remember when you had to find creative ways to cover up a spotty work history? Like creating a functional resume instead of a chronological one in order to hide the fact that you worked for six different companies in the last two years, or that your last three jobs were with companies that had wildly disparate lines of business? You may be worrying in vain. That "creative" employment history of yours may be an asset, at least according to an article in Psychology Today.

In a column for the magazine, Dr. Judith Sills claims that, "A person who stays with the same company for more than five years-without signs of skyrocketing upward-might trigger suspicions" about lack of initiative.

She says that hiring managers want people who are willing to take on new challenges and leave their comfort zones.

I really hate generalizations like this. And I'm growing very tired of the prevailing attitude that solid job experience isn't an asset just having the nerve to constantly take chances is. I think the best employee is a combination of both. But I would feel more comfortable as a hiring manager if I thought the person I hire, who I am going to spend training bucks on, will not throw the job aside the next time a shiny object is dangled before him. What do you think?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

11 comments
jdclyde
jdclyde

[i]Sure, lets feed the zombie discussion![/i] My biggest issue with the attitude that companies and many in the world show, is you have to climb to show success. What if people don't WANT to be in management?

louiselee
louiselee

Thanks, people, for giving me hope.

ls1313
ls1313

Dr. Sills fails to take into account that many employees (like myself) frequently take on additional responsibilities and roles at their company over the years WITHOUT a major promotion or even a title change. There are not a lot of "levels" at my company for me rise to, especially for my job role, but I know I have taken on many new challenges and seriously stretched my "comfort zone" over the years. In many smaller companies, roles and positions will adjust to fill needs, and these "adjustments" usually involve more responsibility (and sometimes a small pay raise), but don't contain the cache of a new title. I would like to think the skill set I have acquired over the last five years would make me very attractive to a hiring manager, at least one that I wouldn't mind working for. I don't think I'd want to work for anyone who is looking for a "skyrocketer!"

Presidio
Presidio

" ... will not throw the job aside the next time a shiny object is dangled before him." I agree with this concern. I also would like to note that one must keep current in IT, so how is an employee to react if a company is stuck in, let's say VB 6 while the rest of the world marches on to .NET?

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

In isolation, it seems a silly sentiment that the good doctor wrote.

Fregeus
Fregeus

Dr. Judith Sills claims that, ???A person who stays with the same company for more than five years-without signs of skyrocketing upward-might trigger suspicions??? about lack of initiative. I totally disagree with this statement. I've stayed at jobs for 5 or 6 years at two location and they were not because of lack of initiative. I don't have a university degree. That prevents me from going up the ladder in most companies these days. Even then, i'm such a stickler for details that I would probably end up not being a good manager. It has nothing to do with initiative. Anyways, what is so wrong with just wanting to do a good job. That's my goal when i get up every morning. To do a good job today! Not to get promoted or show off anyone, just do my job. Why is that so wrong?

pnichless
pnichless

I was downsized in 2003 after 12 years with a company and I had been with my prior employer 11 years. The way I addressed those two "negatives" to prospective employers was to remind them that companies change constantly and even in 10+ years with each company my jobs changed a lot - restructuring, change in ownership, change in managers, etc. In fact, the job I was downsized from had 4 different company names, 3 different owners, and 6 different managers in that 12 years. The people who couldn't handle change jumped ship after the first name change and restructuring. I think the people who stayed and rolled with the punches are the ones who proved they can handle change! I don't believe length of service has anything to do with inability to change. Except perhaps changes in benefits - starting over earning vacation, waiting a year to join the 401K, being without health insurance for a month or more, etc. My longevity has more to do with keeping my accumulated vacation than any loyalty to a company or resistance to change in the work itself. No matter how long you have the same job it doesn't go unchanged for very long.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I did my first nineteen years with one employer (six jobs). So my cv was broken up to each job. So if you move about a lot you trigger suspicions of being either mercenary or crap. If you don't, you just came out from under your desk.... Just oproves that we don't call them muppets without good reason.

vwampler
vwampler

I would agree that it's a combination of both. But keep in mind that with recent shifts in the economy, job elimination or corp downsizing often force dedicated employees (like myself) out into the job market and taking career risks out of necessity. I'm finding that a dedicated employer is often just as hard as finding a dedicated employee!

admin
admin

I have such item. In fact after 20 years I am seeking a VB6 Programmer as a partner in a established corp...

too_old
too_old

I have a history of remaining with companies for at least 5 years or more. The last job I was eliminated from I had worked for 12 years with the same official title but with constant promises of being promoted. I never knew from day to day when I walked in to work, what I would be working on in addition to what I was already doing. Due to 'bug' in the intranet site for managers' reporting, I found out that my manager was not reporting what I was actually doing and changing performance reviews, downplaying my abilities and taking the credit. I made the decision to let him and others know, and he fabricated reasons to fire me. My skills are not marketable because of 'loyalty' to the company's requirements. Do not allow this to happen to you. A balance can be achieved, never know you may be a 'liability' when you always be told you are 'a very critical member of the team'!