The fear of moving jobs when you're long-serving

You’re considering your current working position and you’ve done OK haven’t you?


You were plucked from obscurity. Your employer supported you through years of further education. They didn’t just pay for that education, they gave you time out to attend college, study for exams and extended that support when you failed an exam paper.

They provided on the job training, developed you, mentored you. When you grew your skills and gained your qualifications they rewarded you with money. Promotion.

And that time when you had a personal crisis and they were really understanding, flexible about your attendance and cut you some slack when your work wasn’t 100%.

Leaving them would be disloyal. You owe it to them to stay.


And your colleagues aren’t just colleagues at all, are they? Many are friends, family even. They’ve celebrated your successes, were there for you when things didn’t go quite to plan. They’ve covered for you on occasions, helped you when you needed to understand a piece of work better, helped you into a taxi at the end of a slightly messy night out.

They were even there at your wedding.

Leaving them would be disloyal. You owe it to them to stay.


Your customers/clients? You like them, in the main. You’ve got cards saying, ‘thank you’ and reminding you how great you are. Maybe the odd box of chocolates or a bottle of wine as a token of their gratitude. Sometimes, if you’re honest, they’re the ones you turn up to work for every day. Because they absolutely rely upon you.

Leaving them would be disloyal. You owe it to them to stay.


And what about you?

When was the last time you checked in with what you need and what you owe yourself? When did you last go a whole week without grumbling to a colleague, your partner or a friend about work?


I can vividly remember the calls, cards, letters, gifts, lunches, visits from customers who said they would miss me horribly when I decided to leave my employer of 12 years. That I was irreplaceable. (I rediscovered the file I compiled under the stairs a few months ago and it reduced me to tears).

I counted down the days to my new job with trepidation. What on earth was I thinking? I didn’t hate my job, why didn’t I just stay? I wouldn’t know anyone at the new place, I would have to earn trust all over again and what if I failed?


Guess what?


My employer continued business as usual.

Many of my colleagues, an old boss (and the odd customer) stayed in contact and some remain my closest, dearest, most loyal friends 20 years on.

No big surprise, the person who replaced me was more than capable of doing my job and I have absolutely no doubt that I was not missed by my customers in the long run.


And me? That move was the making of me. I discovered myself in new ways and found opportunity and fulfillment I never knew existed.


Moving employer after long service is not easy. It’s not. But it can bring about amazing possibilities.


But don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself.




Clare Wight is managing director of Clarity Appointments, a fellow of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals a regional director for The Employment Agents Movement (TEAM). Her email is: clare.wight@clarityteam.co.uk


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