by Stephanie Denning, Forbes Magazine, 4/25/16.
Job-hopping is commonplace these days among millennials. I’ve often wondered how much time one should really stay put in a job? And if you leave, what are you really at risk of missing? Can you leave a job too soon? Can you stay too long?
In my experience there are two important variables. The first is your learning curve. Every job has one. Surprisingly, I’ve found the learning curve to be pretty universal across jobs. From what I’ve seen, it takes about 1.5 to two years to really surpass the steep part of the learning curve. It looks something like this:
After 1.5 to two years, you start to experience diminishing returns to learning. So if you’re concerned about leaving a job too soon, and foregoing some of that learning, let your concern be assuaged by the fact that after two years, your opportunity cost of learning isn’t as high as it once was.
Only after you’ve past this learning curve can you really start to experience productivity gains, the second variable. After surpassing the steep part of the learning curve, it will take you a lot less time to complete a task than it did six months ago. But productivity gains only matter if you’re trying to make a career for yourself in that job. If you’re trying to rise the ranks, this can be helpful because you can spend more time on other tasks and less time on the old ones…