Til Retirement Shall We Part – Have I Been at my Job too Long?

There are challenges in any job search, but did you know that career longevity can hurt your chances of landing a new job?

It may seem counter-intuitive, but when you’ve been at one company for longer than average, potential employers may wonder:


  • Is your skill set stagnant?
  • Do you have enough diversity to be successful in a new environment?
  • How do you handle change?
  • Do you make too much money, or have too much PTO for them to give you a competitive offer?
  • Will you actually leave?
  • What has happened now that you are suddenly looking?

So, how long should you stay in one job?

To answer the question of how long to stay in your job, or how long is too long, consider a hiring manager’s perspective and ask yourself:
  • Does your current tenure show dependability?
  • Have you been promoted, or otherwise proven your value to the company?
  • Have you stayed at the company long enough to show you can weather the ups and downs of business cycles?
  • How does your tenure compare to others in your current situation? The Bureau of Labor Statistics states:
    • The median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer is 4.6 years
    • The median tenure for workers age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years
    • The median tenure for employees age 65 and over is 10.3 years
    • Workers in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest median tenure (5.5 years)
    • Workers in service occupations had the lowest median tenure (3.2 years)

How can you overcome the challenge of a long tenure with hiring managers?

Hiring managers look for employees who can hit the ground running and achieve success in their company. If you’ve been at your company longer than average, be prepared to answer questions about how you’ve kept your skill set current. Provide examples of times when you’ve dealt positively with change, and demonstrate that you’ve remained challenged in your position until now.

When should you start looking?

A job search can take an average of one month for every $10,000 in salary. If you’ve been with a company for 2 or more years, it may be time to start your search, even if you’re not quite ready to leave yet. Ask yourself:

  • Have you stopped learning new things?
  • Are you unmotivated at work?
  • Have you talked to your boss about your issues?
  • Are you able to accomplish your career goals at your current job?
  • Are there things you would be losing or miss if you left this current job?


The grass is not always greener on the other side, but don’t be blinded by loyalty or fear of change. No matter what you decide, life is too short to be unhappy at your job.

Are you curious what’s available in the current job market? Get in touch! We’re here to help.

Print Friendly
The following two tabs change content below.
Mosaic Personnel

Mosaic Personnel

Professional Staffing
Mosaic Personnel is a specialty Oklahoma staffing agency for top professionals in IT, Engineering, Accounting and HR. We recruit for direct hire, contract and contract-to-hire jobs in Oklahoma City and across the state.

2 Responses to “Til Retirement Shall We Part – Have I Been at my Job too Long?”

  1. Cheryl Freeman says : Reply

    I have been at my job for 28 years and I’m retiring next month. Not from the work world completely but from being the boss. I have been the big boss for 20 years. Any suggestions?

    • Mosaic Personnel says : Reply

      Hi Cheryl,

      That’s a great question! Companies can be intimated by someone who has led a team for many years, or may wonder why someone with that level of experience would want to take a lower position.

      In this situation, a strong cover letter can really help. Be sure to address the type of position you’re looking for and why. Also, take into account what the company’s concerns might be, such as whether you’d stay in the new role for very long, and how you’d handle a situation where the processes are different than what you’re used to. If you’ve always been the boss, how would you handle someone else making the rules? Are you flexible and adaptable?

      Also, you might re-work your resume so it focuses more on day to day duties versus management skills.

      Having someone else to tell your story, such as a recruiting firm or staffing agency, can be very helpful. They already have relationships built with the hiring managers at various companies, so they’ll know which companies would be open to your situation and looking for someone with your skill set.

      If you’re willing to work on a contract basis, you may be able to open up even more doors. Some companies use short-term contracts to cover employee leave requests or help when they’ve taken on extra projects. For someone with management experience, long-term contracts are often available to help companies review and update their processes, or migrate to new computer systems. If you’re comfortable developing work flows and implementing processes, this can be a great option for you.

      I hope that helps, and congratulations on your retirement!

Leave a Reply