How often do people change their job

Job cycle: You should leave after 7 years

Patchwork résumés are becoming more and more commonplace and industrial officials have long been a thing of the past. A development that scares many people because they primarily long for financial security and routine. Experts rate this trend positively, however, because they recommend: After five to seven years at the latest, you should change your job, preferably even your employer. Because every job is subject to a cycle that runs in seven phases.

German employees stay in one job for around 10 years

German employees spend an average of 10.8 years in the same job (source: IAB). Because of insecure work situation and “generation internship”? Not really!

The statistics hide the fact that it is becoming more and more difficult, especially for young professionals, to get hold of a permanent employment contract. There are also major industry differences. While fixed-term employment contracts are becoming obsolete again in areas with a shortage of skilled workers, employees in overcrowded industries, such as marketing or advertising agencies, often have impressive patchwork résumés with a considerable number of short-term jobs, internships, internships or trainee positions. In addition, the statistics only represent an average of those long-established industrial officials of yore, who are now close to retirement, and the young generation who are having difficulties establishing themselves in the labor market.

In order to get a more precise picture of the current labor market situation in Germany, we therefore need further figures: A survey published on Statista reveals that around 55 percent of Germans occasionally think about changing jobs. Around 16 percent are already actively looking for a new job.

Experts recommend changing jobs after 7 years at the latest

Ten years - that is by no means a professional life, but according to experts, that is already too much. To three to five, but no later than seven years they recommend a job change instead. There are many possible reasons for wanting a new professional challenge:

  • Desire for new perspectives
  • Lack of recognition
  • Restructuring
  • Bad working atmosphere
  • and much more m.

Experts advocate changing employers after seven years at the latest. Otherwise, sooner or later, employees are often involuntarily forced to make a career change anyway. Also the Businesses continue to develop, shift their focus, change internal structures or cut staff.

The faster the industry moves, the more important it is to change jobs frequently. While around three years are recommended for IT or marketing professionals, accountants like to feel comfortable in their job for ten years. When exactly the right time has come for you to change jobs, you must therefore always decide according to your individual situation. All in all, according to, experts observe the following seven phases in every employment relationship:

Phase 1: enthusiasm

Finally a new job. Regardless of whether you have been looking for a job for a long time or have been poached by a headhunter: There is magic in every beginning and therefore you usually start your new job highly motivated, full of anticipation and also a little excited. You first have to arrive, orientate yourself and maybe replace one or the other dream with reality.

Phase 2: sadness

If after the first one or two months that reality finds its way and your high expectations may not have been (fully) met, many people are first of all thinking about the past. They doubt whether changing jobs was the right decision and tend to romanticize their previous job. Somehow the colleagues were nicer, the tasks more demanding and the boss wasn't all that bad. Melancholy is normal - don't let it blow you away!

Phase 3: settling in

At some point yours will commute Mood between enthusiasm and sadness one and you begin to settle in your new professional home. They make new friendships, familiarize themselves with their areas of activity and take on a little more responsibility. At this point the motivation sets in again and you want to present yourself from your best side. According to Jörg Stegemann, this third phase lasts for about a year. A year full of top performance and success.

Phase 4: stability

After the first year you are finally properly trained and have already earned respect from your colleagues and superiors thanks to your excellent performance. You are at a good, but not an outstanding level. After the exhausting first year and the numerous changes it is time to take a deep breath and find stability.

Phase 5: best performance

Things are looking up again in the fifth phase, which, according to Stegemann, begins around the third year. You are now established in the company, feel at home and are routinely doing your job. Now you want more and you are in top form. This fifth phase lasts for several months to years and often means advancement in the hierarchy. According to the expert, however, the “best performance” phase is rarely observed for more than five years.

Phase 6: turning point

And then? The job cycle is comparable to a classic drama: After the climax comes the retardation. Your performance declines, the first doubts arise or conflicts arise with teammates or superiors. You no longer feel 100% comfortable in your job, long for change or feel trapped in stagnation and there is a lack of new challenges. Now would have been the best time to change jobs. However, many people still shy away from this change out of fear of the uncertainty or see the sixth phase as a temporary hangover.

Phase 7: downward spiral

But that's not the case, says Jörg Stegemann. Who in the sixth phase does not pull the emergency brake and make the jump, embarks on a dangerous downward spiral. This often leads to psychological and physical problems, a decline in performance, burnout or other stress-related illnesses. At the end of the seventh phase, you will be forced to change jobs, be it due to illness or termination by the employer.

Seeing a job change as an opportunity instead of a risk

You should therefore take the courage to change jobs every three to five years, but no later than after seven years. Check regularly Which phase of the job cycle you are currently in and pull the emergency brake in time in the sixth phase before you really end up in disaster, as in the classic drama. However, many people lack the necessary self-confidence to change jobs or the fear of the risk of “insecurity” outweighs the numerous positive aspects that such a professional step brings with it. Such a change of job also harbors numerous opportunities:

  • You will develop professionally and personally.
  • The operational blindness gives way to new points of view and perspectives.
  • You will stay up-to-date and always gain new know-how in your specialist area.
  • You will be faced with new challenges and can thus train both your hard and soft skills.
  • As a result, you will not become too specialized or bogged down, but will train your comprehension, willingness to learn and the openness to new perspectives and problem-solving approaches.
  • Your résumé will be upgraded by changing jobs, as long as you can see a common thread and at least survive the probationary period.
  • You make new contacts and expand your professional network. After all, “Vitamin B” is the most important success factor for your career, as we already explained to you in the article “If you don't perform, you get promoted. But ...? "Have explained.

Don't leave your job cycle to chance

Seize this opportunity and always be one (career) step ahead of your competition. If you no longer leave your job cycle to chance, but actively plan your career, you will climb the career ladder faster and higher. Therefore, always keep an eye on which phase you are currently in and look around for a new job from phase 6 onwards.

Danger: If you are looking for a job even though you are still employed by another company, it is essential that you keep the application secret from your employer. Otherwise it can become a reason for termination. However, you want to avoid such gaps in your résumé if possible. The smoother the transition from one job to the next, the better. You can either ask for confidentiality in your application, or you can directly choose an anonymous application method, such as the target group short application.

Extra tip: Make sure to request an interim certificate at regular intervals. This means that you are always ready to apply as soon as you enter phase 6 of the job cycle. In addition, it can happen that you do not always leave your previous company on good terms. Perhaps there will be a change in management shortly before your job change and the testimony suggests that the new boss is not at all good on you. It's good if you can then present several interim reports from better times.

What other tips and experiences do you have on the subject of the job cycle and job change? Do you see the development towards a patchwork resume positively or do you long for the days of industrial officials?

Photo credit:


For everyone who always wants to be UP-TO-DATE in a JOB. From career planning and salary negotiations to exciting studies and valuable expert tips. Once a week, free of charge and straight to your mailbox.

You have successfully registered!

Also interesting and worth reading