How Long Should You Stay at a Job? — We Asked 7 Nigerians

July 7, 2022

Most of us (read: certain Gen Zers) agree that capitalism is the worst and we wish adulting didn’t come with having to work. 

Still, we still get stories about people staying at jobs they hate due to various reasons and we wonder, how long is long enough to stay at one job? Is there an acceptable minimum?

Here’s what these seven Nigerians think:

“I go where the money is, abeg”

— Lara*, 28

I’m too old to be forming loyalty at another man’s business. I stay loyal to you for as long as you’re paying me. However, I don’t actively start searching for other jobs within six months of a new one, but if something interesting happens to pop up, best believe I’ll take it.

RELATED: How This Nigerian Tech Bro Was Used and Dumped by a US Startup

“One year is the minimum for me”

— Jide*, 35

I think one year is a reasonable minimum — I can stay more than a year, but I don’t do less than that. I figure that I need that time to learn new things, make a difference and work at advancing my career. It also helps to avoid potential recruiters thinking you’re fickle and might be a waste of resources if they hire you.

RELATED: Six Recruiters Share Their Worst Experiences at Job Interviews

“Five years is a reasonable minimum”

— Ore*, 38

I have a five-year rule, mainly because I’ve spent most of my career in multinationals, and I believe this gives me enough time to establish myself as an expert in a particular market and rise through the ranks. It also shows loyalty, and when recruiters try to poach me, they’re more likely to come with very attractive offers in a bid to get me onboard.

“I never spend more or less than two years”

— Max*, 27

Two years is my minimum and maximum duration. I’m at an age where I need to pay attention to intentionally growing my career and finances, and I believe there’s a limit to how much you can earn in one place. 

For instance, a raise on a ₦120k job will probably take years before getting to ₦300k, but you can get to ₦300k immediately if you can find a higher-paying job.

“Six months should do it”

— Crystal*, 22

I don’t think anyone should want to quit a job before spending at least six months there. Sure, there might be peculiar cases where the workplace is toxic, but think about your CV. Unless you plan to remove the whole experience from your CV, it might not be a good look.

“I move whenever I like”

— Joy*, 26

I used to believe that I needed to spend at least one or two years at one job in order to build myself as a professional, but one company made me change my stance. I worked there for three months, and they never paid me one full month’s salary — they kept paying in instalments, and no one had to teach me before I left. 

I think this idea of needing to stay for a particular period at one job does more harm to the employee — do I really have to endure an employer’s excesses so that I don’t “spoil my career”?

ALSO READ: How My Abusive Boss Made Me Quit My Job

“Three years, or as long as you’re useful”

— Mide*, 31

If there’s one thing I dislike, it’s job stagnation. My mentor thinks three years is ample time to demonstrate growth and contribute significantly to team goals, and I agree with him. However, if you’re no longer aligned with the company’s goals, it might be time to consider quitting, even before the three-year mark. 

Another thing is — if you’re sure you’re doing fantastic work and your team or company just doesn’t recognise it or makes you feel like you’re not doing well, throw the three-year mark away and move to where you’ll be respected. Life’s too short to be managing jobs.


*Names have been changed for the sake of anonymity.

CONTINUE READING: “The Salary Wasn’t Adding Up” – Seven Nigerian Gen Zs on Losing Interest in Potential Jobs

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