How long is too long in one job

"I've been working in the same place for 10 years. I wont be able to get another job."

Waah waah waaaaaah.

I'm not going to lie to you. You will struggle to get another job but not because you spent a decade at the same workplace. You will struggle to get a job because of your defeatist attitude.

If you see your 10 year single job experience as a liability then that is exactly what it will become.

You will project that negativity throughout the entire job seeking process. Your applications will hide away from it, your interviews will be meek, and the your results will be lacking.

Hiring managers will subconsciously pick up on your negative mindset and they'll start believing it too. Even if they didn't care about the length of your last job before they talked to you.

And most probably wouldn't care.

There is no such thing as spending too long (or too little) in a job. What really matters is the story you tell about those jobs.

Job applications are all about story telling. The entire process - submitting your CV, acing the interviewing, and negotiating contract terms - is an opportunity for you to tell your story.

The brilliant thing is that you have full control over how you define your story.

If you tell a negative story - a story of laziness, boredom, flakiness and procrastination - then the hiring manager will have no choice but to believe that about you.

If you are not even telling a story - just dumping a list of facts and timelines about your career - then you leave it up to the hiring manager to define your story. If they think 10 years seems a bit long to spend in one job and you don't dissuade them of this idea with a great story then you've already lost.

The only choice is to create your own positive story.

When you create your own story - a story that engages your hiring manager, promotes your strengths, and demonstrates why they should hire you - you have a much higher likelihood of success.

Anything from your career that you perceive as negative can be turned in to a positive story that works in your favour.

"I spent too long at one job" ---> I'm fiercely loyal, gained a lot of deep industry knowledge I wouldn't have received if I had changed jobs too often, and am now ready for the next step up in my career

"I got fed up at my last job, threw a hissy fit, and quit via text message" ---> I'm passionate and vocal about trying to improve. I tried hard to change the culture but in the end some of the managers were stuck in the old fixed mindset and I figured I needed to move on to something more aligned with my values.

Hmmm reading that last one I'm starting to think maybe I should be a politician…

Just kidding but the comparison to politicians is accurate. Whenever a politician is interviewed they take whatever question comes and twist it toward one of their prepared stories that has a positive spin for them.

I'm definitely not encouraging you to be as obnoxious as most politicians but I am encouraging you to learn how to turn your negatives in to positive stories.

Story telling is an important life skill, and doubly so when it comes to getting your next job.

Do you know how to tell a good story about your career?