When is the time right to move on?

A ZDNet reader asks how will a prospective employer look at a candidate who has spent a longer than usual period in one company.
Written by Staff , Contributor
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Q. I have been working for a services-based non-IT SMB for the last eight-plus years as a cross-functional IT business analyst, combining with the role of project management and solution architect.

I have had the opportunity to have first-hand exposure to the business domain and latest technologies and enjoyed my employer's recognition. During my employment, I pursued a higher education as well.

However, for a long time, I have been thinking of moving to a multinational company (MNC) for bigger challenges, despite the fact I love working for my current employer.

Hearing my desire to move out, management came with an offer that enables me to be the principal partner of a spin-off IT company, which will be set up for my sake, and that will take care of their IT business systems needs and other projects as well.

My concern is, how will a prospective employer look at a candidate who has spent a longer than usual period in one company. Please share your views on this.

Career advice from E. Balaji, CEO of HR services provider, Ma Foi Management Consultants:

There are no set rules on an ideal tenure in any company.

Shorter stints create an impression that a candidate is unreliable to be vested with important responsibilities.

Long stints can be seen in two ways. Either that a candidate grew in that organization and picked up important skills, or it so happened that the candidate found a comfortable work environment and chose to continue with it for long. The latter may get perceived as having inadequate skills and thus could be perceived as unemployable in many other organizations.

Thus it is important to look at what you have contributed and the knowledge acquired during the eight-year period.

Career could mean different things to different people. It could mean work-life balance, getting a senior management role, hefty compensation, working for a reputed employer brand et al. Hence making career choices also depend on what you are seeking to accomplish in the long term.

Thus the choice of moving to a large MNC where you are likely to be relatively less important to the new employer as compared to a small and midsize businesses (SMB) depends on what you are seeking as career goals.

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