Given my fascination with football I have always likened working in a job in any capacity to being a football player. This is a tenuous comparison given the wildly different tenures of both occupations: working in a job has better job security than being a sportsman. There’s also less chance of having you career ended by an injury! However, they are both a career and just as footballers go from club to club, employees move from one workplace to another over time. In football you get some players known as a ‘one club man’ having stayed at the same team their whole career but how many workers have stayed in the same job their whole career? Is it better to stay in one job a long time or to regularly seek change?
If you work in a job for a long time you inevitably build up a lot of respect and authority. Everyone knows your name and you become synonymous with the job. Everything is familiar and you have a routine. This might not appeal to everyone though: some people might argue it is better to move on regularly to climb up the career ladder and become stimulated by the next challenge. It is sometimes true that this approach is better for promotion but not always; take football for example. In the 1980s/90s there was Liverpool’s famous ‘boot room’ scenario where they would appoint all their future managers from within: i.e. the assistant manager or coach might be the next manager etc. This conveyor belt sometimes occurs within a workplace where individuals are rewarded for years of loyal service and internal, rather than external candidates are preferred for promotion.
If you move from job to job it can diminish your authority slightly sometimes and this could be interpreted in two ways by employers. One, you are thirsty for new challenges and ambitious. Two, you are someone who won’t stay for a long time and will move at the next big thing. That sounds slightly cynical and is probably exaggerating a bit but it is worth examining all scenarios with your career, no matter what occupation you are in.
However, continuously changing jobs might not always be a bad thing. You get to work in contrasting environments, develop your skill-set and learn new things. Particularly in the infancy of your career this might be a good thing as this is the time to try new things out before bedding into a job. This approach has worked for me at University as I have worked in youth clubs, tutoring centres, primary and secondary schools; anything to get more experience. Being at University makes it hard for me to commit to anything long-term as you are in a stage of flux in your life and sometimes lectures and other commitments can get in the way. This experience has allowed me to enrich my character and widen the skills I bring into a school. I started off being quite maths-orientated but now I like English, Sport, German and Careers Education/PSHE just as much.
On the other hand, I miss a regular routine and the chance to build a life for myself somewhere and of course staying in a job for a long time does reduce the hassle of having to move house and make new friends elsewhere. You have stability, continuity and if you are in the right job, happiness. As the old saying goes: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”.
From my own personal point of view, being quite an impetuous person, I could either stay in one job my own career or work in loads of different jobs! On a serious note though, I feel right now as if I would like to stay in the same job for a long time at least.
I guess the question is: stick or twist?
Written by Sam Curran.
Sam is currently offering his proofreading skills to University of Cumbria students. He has proofread professionally for the last 2 years and has edited dissertations, undergraduate essays, masters level work and non-native English speakers’ work.
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