Top Reasons to Stay in Your Current Job, with Bethany Mills

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It might seem like changing jobs is the only way to get what you want out of your career. But what if staying in your current position could be more profitable? It can, according to Find Your Dream Job guest Bethany Mills. Bethany says there are many reasons to stay where you are, including acquiring new skills, moving up the company ladder, and starting new initiatives. Switching jobs also requires energy that might be better spent at your current job, where you can continue to develop relationships to increase your networking power later. 

About Our Guest:

Bethany Mills is the executive director of the  Mississippi State University Career Center.

Resources in This Episode:


Find Your Dream Job, Episode 377:

Top Reasons to Stay in Your Current Job, with Bethany Mills

Airdate: December 7, 2022

Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. 

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Changing jobs regularly has become common in recent years. 

In the United States, for example, people switch positions about every four years.

But are you better off staying where you are? 

Bethany Mills is here to talk about her top reasons to stay in your current job.

She’s the executive director of the Mississippi State University Career Center. 

As a licensed professional counselor, Bethany enjoys helping students and alumni find meaningful careers.

She joins us from Starkville, Mississippi. 

Well, let’s get started, Bethany. Do employers still worry about job hopping? 

Bethany Mills: 

This is a great question, Mac. Yeah, I do think that employers do tend to lean towards those candidates who have a little more longevity in their careers. However, I’m gonna say, I think our millennial generation, on top of the generation that’s coming up into the workforce, the Gen Z generation, they’re kind of changing this landscape quite a bit. 

So, I do think our employers are having to be more comfortable with candidates having multiple careers, or not multiple careers, but multiple jobs, basically before, you know, five to six years. So, yeah. I do think employers may have a tendency to appreciate that longevity, and that might say something to that employer. However, I do think that a lot of our candidates now are tending to do a little bit more of that job hopping at this point. 

Mac Prichard:

You talk to employers all the time, Bethany, in your work at the Career Services Center there. Is there an ideal length of time to stay at a job? 

Bethany Mills: 

You know, I don’t know if there’s an ideal length of time to stay in a job. I really do think this depends on the candidate and their experience. But I do think, in order to talk about an experience, both on your resume, in your cover letter, or in an interview, as you’re going through an application process, you know, there needs to be enough time in an experience that you can speak to those skills, and those tasks, and those projects that you executed and implemented while in a job. 

So, perhaps, you’re in a position for six months, and you can speak to that experience that you gained and the skills that you gained. But I would tend to say that most candidates would probably find that at least a year in a position might give them a little bit more conversation and, again, an ability to kind of speak more to their skills and experiences they gained in that specific role. 

Mac Prichard:

We’re gonna talk in a moment about your top reasons for staying in your current job. But, when you talk to candidates now, Bethany, what are some of the common reasons you hear about why people are leaving jobs? 

Bethany Mills: 

Yes, as you know, this is a very hot topic right now for candidates. I do think the pandemic just really allowed folks to have the time to think about those values, how they’re spending their time, the energy that they’re putting into the work, and basically, what they were getting out of those experiences in the workplace. 

So, for a lot of candidates, I do feel that we’re hearing a lot about finding new opportunities, and that could be because their values have changed, and they’re looking for an employer who is more in line with those values. It could just be about the idea that you know, in a pandemic, we were told, a lot of times, what not to do or what to do, and perhaps, that kind of feeling of having control or having choices didn’t feel like that was really available to us. And so, a lot of candidates are taking back that choice and that control and really just wanting to experience something new. 

So there’s some components, I believe, that come from just the psychological effects that occurred from the pandemic, and then I think there’s just some candidates out there that they’ve reached that point in their experience at their workplace where they feel like they’re not gaining anything new. They’re not learning anything new. Perhaps, they just feel like they’ve stalled out in that particular job, and they’re just looking for that new opportunity. 

Mac Prichard:

You didn’t mention money. How important, in your experience, is salary when someone considers going somewhere else? 

Bethany Mills: 

Yes, this absolutely plays a role. I tend to think of money as a value. When we think about how values may have changed, and I do think that, for some folks who were in their positions, the value of money and security and stability became crucial and very important to candidates, and so, I do think there is, you know, right now it’s a candidate’s market. 

I know we just saw a huge round of layoffs in a lot of tech industries. But, you know, for the most part, there’s still a talent labor shortage for a lot of companies, at least that we’re hearing from, and they’re really able to leverage salary and benefits, and some of those monetized opportunities that they may have in their next role, and I definitely think that you know, this is a time where employers should really be thinking about what they are able to do as it relates to, you know, paying people for the job, knowing the average of the marketplace for that particular job, and doing their due diligence and their research as it relates to paying people for the work that they should be doing. 

So, I kind of think it goes in both hands. Both the candidate’s job to know what their worth is, and that means having a target salary and a target salary range based on their experience and their skills, and what they bring to the table, and then on the flip side, our employers need to do a better job of being transparent, and also knowing the market value of that particular job, and paying what that particular job is worth. 

Mac Prichard:

There’s a saying out there that people don’t quit jobs; they quit bosses. Do you agree with that idea, Bethany? Do you think that’s an important factor when people are considering leaving their current job? 

Bethany Mills: 

Yeah, I do think this statement is layered. I will say that. I don’t think it’s quite that simple. But absolutely. I mean, I think we can all relate to that. Right? 

I mean, if you have a supervisor or a manager or a boss who, you know, just is constantly nitpicking, is constantly critiquing, is constantly providing negative feedback, and, you know, there is no opportunity to hear about what you’re doing well or the things that you’re accomplishing; that can weigh on someone over time, and that certainly can impact their experience in so much of a way that they then want to leave and go find something new. 

So, while I think it may not be quite that simple, I certainly think that having a really good boss and a supervisor and manager is just imperative to someone’s satisfaction in their role and in their work. 

Mac Prichard:

What about long-term career goals, Bethany? How should you consider these when you’re deciding whether or not to leave a job?

Bethany Mills: 

I feel like this is probably the most important part of managing your career and probably the step that a lot of people don’t think too much about or take the time to reflect upon as much. You know, I think it’s easy to just be unhappy in a situation and to just react. Right? I mean, we’re all humans. That’s typically what we do. We just kind of react to a situation because we’re unhappy to try to find something better. 

When I definitely think there could be a little more strategy and a little more planning that could be involved when considering your ultimate career goals, and it could be that your career goal is just to, you know, be in a career where you’re making a meaningful change in “blank” type of industry or doing “blank” type of work. It could be a broad goal. But not having any type of long-term goal can really impact those short-term goals, which may be the pathway to that long-term goal that you have. 

So, taking the time to reflect. Taking the time to really think about, again, values, skills, projects, that legacy that you really want to leave in the workplace and in the world. I think that’s really important to really try to be a little more strategic about that next move. 

Mac Prichard:

Well, terrific. Well, Bethany, I want to take a break, and when we come back, I want to talk about your list of reasons why someone should consider staying at their current job. So, stay with us. When we return, Bethany Mills and I will talk about her top reasons to stay in your current job. 

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Now, let’s get back to the show.

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio. I’m talking with Bethany Mills. 

She’s the executive director of the Mississippi State University Career Center. 

As a licensed professional counselor, Bethany most enjoys helping students and alumni find meaningful careers.

She’s joining us from Starkville, Mississippi. 

Now, Bethany, in our first segment, we talked about reasons why people might leave jobs, some of the ideas out there about the ideal length of time to stay at a position. Let’s talk about why people might stay in their current job, and you’ve got a list of reasons that you’ve seen over the years. 

Number one on your list for why someone might consider staying at their current job is that there’s more to learn. Tell us more about this. 

Bethany Mills: 

Yes, I think this is probably the number one reason why, you know, someone might need to stay in their current role or their current job. Oftentimes, when you’re in a new position, or just, you know, you’re kind of starting out your career, perhaps. 

Perhaps, you’re, you know, one of those new graduates, and you’re in your first job right out of college, and you’re experiencing something that’s very normal, which is, a year goes by, and you feel like you’re supposed to be doing the next thing. Because that’s kind of what you’ve experienced as, you know, going through K through twelve experience, perhaps, going through a community college, and then coming to a higher ed institution where there’s just kind of within a year, you’re thinking about that next thing. 

And what I would just suggest for that particular candidate or that seeker, that candidate in that current role, is to just pause and to really think about what all there is still to learn in their current role. Just to find a way to kind of get over that initial, oh, I should be thinking about my next step. How can I get leadership skills? They’re almost wanting to do, kind of, like a three steps forward in their career in kind of just thinking about that next step that they can gain with all these different learning experiences. 

So, I would encourage that person in that particular job to just pause and think about all of the skills they have left to gain, all of the skills they have to learn. All of the experiences that they could potentially pursue, and that could be inside their particular department or their company, wherever it is that they’re working, by saying yes to a new project, by, you know, talking with a colleague to see if there’s any way they could collaborate or partner on some type of new initiative, or whether it be kind of having some type of external relationship with someone, too, that kind of helps the internal department. 

So, I just think there’s a lot of opportunity for pausing, taking a step back, thinking about all the things that you’ve gained, all the things that you’ve learned, the experiences that you’ve had, where you would like to be next, and then, that gap that exists. How can you learn something new in that current job? I just think there’s often a lot of opportunity in that current role, rather than jumping to a next job to get that learning. 

Because on top of that new learning for that next job, you’re also gonna have to get the training, and the onboarding, learning new people. So it won’t come as quickly, perhaps, you know, as if you were to just stay in that current role and find those new experiences where you are. 

Mac Prichard:

A second reason you cite for staying at a job is that you could leave the position in a better place than you found it. What do you have in mind here, Bethany? 

Bethany Mills: 

Yes, this is something that I saw firsthand, so I’m just gonna use that example. I had a colleague in a previous job and she had a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. She went on to pursue her Master’s Degree in Higher Education Student Affairs. But what she was able to do in this kind of student affairs work was pull her marketing Bachelor’s Degree experience and all of the skills that she gained. She saw this huge need at this Career Center. That’s where we worked, and she was able to see, gosh, you know, we could really do a better job with our marketing efforts, particularly as it relates to social media. You know, I would love to be a part of seeing this change in the Career Center. 

So, that’s exactly what happened. You know, she pitched an idea to our boss at the time. He thought it was a great idea. She got all of our social media outlets and platforms up and running, and by the time she left, we were like the number two Twitter account for career centers in the nation. So certainly, she saw an opportunity to create something, to advance something, for the benefit of the Career Center. Which is where we worked at the time, and she was able to use her skills to really create that legacy that is still in existence today. 

So that’s just one example. But, you know, I saw it firsthand, and I think we have to think about those opportunities where, perhaps, there’s some skills that may even be a little more hidden, based on the work that we might do day-to-day. But that can really be used to enhance an entire project and entire service and ultimately kind of leave that lasting legacy with a company. But you’ve got to bring it up, and you’ve got to make that proposal, and you’ve got to kind of get the ball rolling. 

Mac Prichard:

How can creating that legacy, leaving that job in a better place than you found it help your career? 

Bethany Mills: 

Yeah, I think it helps in so many ways. I mean, you know, again, I go back to all of those applications. Right? If you’re considering that next job, you know, now that colleague, you know, she has an entire section dedicated to, you know, her social media work, and all of this accolades, and all of those accomplishments. She can also speak to the fact that she took initiative. Right? So, she literally created something from scratch, and implemented that particular service for the Career Center, and saw it succeed. 

So, to be able to talk about those experiences both on your resume, in a cover letter, and, you know, in the interview process for your next role, that’s definitely gonna benefit you to get to that next stage in your career. Not to mention the additional skills that you gained as a part of that work, and maybe even those that you met along the way that are now a part of your network that you didn’t even know existed before because you started to go into a different area that you got to meet all of these new folks who are doing this type of work, and that just enhanced your network even more. 

Mac Prichard:

Another reason you cite to stay at your current job is that a promotion or salary increase might be in sight. How can you tell Bethany if these things are about to happen? 

Bethany Mills: 

Yes, this one is a bit more murky, I would say. But there are times when you kind of know you’re ready for the next step. Your boss knows, perhaps, you’ve even had like a conversation about, you know, I want to think about the trajectory of my career here, you know, what’s next for me, and you both kinda know that it’s this particular role that at the time may be filled. 

First, it’s just acknowledging, like, I think that’s my next step. Right? So, this would be a great opportunity for me, you know, should this person leave, or, perhaps, it’s in another location or another department, and, you know, your boss or supervisor could certainly help make those connections, if they’re able to, and sometimes it’s just worth the risk of staying to have that potential job, you know, and it’s not about trying to push anyone out, certainly, and it’s certainly not about waiting, you know, for years for this role to become open. 

It’s mostly just about that open communication that you can have with your supervisor, talking about what your next steps look like, talking about what that could look like in your current department or company, and then what it might look like outside of that department or company, which means having to find a new role. 

So, I used to work with alumni quite a bit in a previous role, and I can remember working with one candidate, and he had this conversation with his boss at the time, and his boss kind of let him know, like, I am thinking about, you know, getting this position posted, and I’ve really thought about you as a good fit. However, it will be an open process for everyone, of course. But I just wanted to kind of let you know. I don’t know when it will be posted. But I just wanted to kind of put this on your radar. 

Right at the time that this alum was also job searching. Because he kind of reached the level where he was wanting to pursue that next opportunity, and he and I had a great conversation about the pros and cons of staying and the pros and cons of going, and he actually decided to stay because he loved his boss. He loved the work that he did, and he really wanted to wait. And so, he waited it out about four months, and sure enough, that position opened up. He applied, he interviewed, and he got the position. So, it certainly worked out for him in that case. 

But I do think it’s important to weigh those options, weigh those pros and cons, know there’s a risk either way on either side. But mostly, it’s about that open communication with your supervisor. 

Mac Prichard:

It’s been a terrific conversation, Bethany. Now, tell us, what’s next for you? 

Bethany Mills: 

Sure. Well, what’s next for me is just continuing to do the work that I’m doing at Mississippi State’s Career Center. I love my job. I love connecting students with employers, and right now, we’re just building campus culture for being career advocates, basically. 

So, I just hope to continue to do this work for our campus community to know who the Career Center is and want to use our services, and ultimately to help students find their opportunities after college. 

Mac Prichard:

Well, I know listeners can learn more about you, the Career Center, and your graduates by visiting the Mississippi State University Career Center at, and we’ll be sure to include that URL in the show notes and the website as well. And I know, too, Bethany, you invite listeners to connect with you on LinkedIn, and if they do reach out to you, I hope they’ll mention that they hear you on the show. 

Now, Bethany, given all the great advice you’ve shared today, what’s the one thing you want a listener to remember about your top reasons to stay in your current job? 

Bethany Mills: 

I think the biggest piece of advice that I want our listeners to know is that you do have a choice, and you are your own best advocate. So, a lot of the things that I mentioned today- the continuing to stay because you want to learn more, because you want to make a difference ultimately, or because you want to stay for a potential promotion- all of those things are going to depend upon your ability to advocate for yourself. To speak with your manager or supervisor, and to really find those opportunities to make the most of those reasons. 

So, I hope that’s the advice that I leave you with; you know, feel empowered to have those conversations and be your best advocate. 

Mac Prichard:

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Next week, our guest will be María Granados. 

She’s a human resources professional at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. 

Systemic racial discrimination in hiring is real. And it happens every day. 

A recent study, for example, found that applications with distinctly black names were less likely to get a call back than those with distinctly white names.

Join us next Wednesday when María Granados and I talk about how to navigate a job search as a person of color. 

Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job.

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Our sound engineer is Matt Fiorillo.  Ryan Morrison at Podfly Productions edits the show. Dawn Mole creates our transcripts. And our music is by Freddy Trujillo.

This is Mac Prichard. See you next week.