Feel like you’ve been at the same job forever? Meet Herman “Hy” Goldman.
Goldman, who turned 101 this past weekend, has been working at the same New Jersey light fixtures company for 73 years, according to the Associated Press.
He still drives himself to work four days a week and has no intention of quitting.
Goldman was hired at Capitol Lighting in East Hanover in 1941 to sell and stock products at the store, the Associated Press reports. And apart from a brief absence (for good reason – he was serving in the U.S. army during the Second World War), he’s been there ever since. His current duties involve restoring damaged items.
These days, it seems unthinkable to stay with the same employer for life.
The U.S. median employee tenure – that is, the length of time workers have been with their current employer – is 4.6 years, according to the last available data, which is a mere blink of an eye in comparison to Goldman’s job devotion.
And even 4.6 years is starting to seem a long time to spend in one job. As Virginia Galt recently reported in The Globe and Mail, a research report by Toronto-based Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions and the U.S.-based Human Capital Institute noted the “new career normal” involves job-hopping after one- or two-year stints.
For individuals entering the workplace today, how long is too long to stay in one job?
Eileen Chadnick, a work-life coach and principal of Big Cheese Coaching in Toronto, says when it comes to career advancement, what matters is not necessarily the length of one’s job tenure, but what has happened during that time.
“There’s no reason to leave when you are still given opportunity to accomplish, to grow and to learn,” Chadnick says. “When it is time to move on is when you are stagnating.”
If you’re not getting the opportunities you need to stay current and relevant in your field, she advises, “even if you’ve been there one or two years, you may want to think about leaving.”
But Chadnick notes that not everyone is career-oriented, and there may be periods in life when individuals may want to break away from a progressive career track. That doesn’t mean employers should overlook the potential of those who want a job, not a career.
“They might be super keen and have a very good worth ethic. So while they’re there 9-to-5, you can count on them, they’re reliable, and they’re contributors,” Chadnick says. “They just may not be seeking [a] promotion.”