Career Corner: Learning is the New Loyalty

If you are no longer growing in your current job it may be time to leave. - Courtesy photo / Nick Lee (CC BY 2.0)

By Angela Copeland

I recently heard a saying that stuck with me: “Learning is the new loyalty.” Hearing this phrase, it felt like the record stopped. Everything was quiet for a moment while I contemplated just how much I agree.

Often, I hear from young job seekers who are confused. Their parents have told them not to switch jobs. They’ve been advised to stay at one job for many years. It will offer stability. It will offer a retirement. Employers will respect you for staying at one place for a long period of time. Companies don’t want job hoppers.

This was true when your parents were starting their careers. But, for the most part, it’s not the case anymore. Employers are quick to lay off workers. They often don’t promote from within. And, many are happy to hire someone new from the outside that is more up to date on technology or industry trends.

So, what’s a job seeker to do? Companies value you being up to date on your work related skills more than they value you staying at a job for 10 or more years. It doesn’t mean you should change jobs every six months. But, don’t stay in a job for too long.

You may wonder how long is too long. Ask yourself these questions. Am I still learning? Am I still growing? If the answer to these questions is no, it may be time to start looking. Don’t stay in your current job for years after it becomes routine. If you’re no longer growing your skillset, you’re likely falling behind.

Think about this. When is the last time your company paid for you to attend a class or training? Sure, some companies are great about this. But, they aren’t the norm. Companies no longer prioritize education but they do still expect you to be learning.

A great way to keep growing and learning is to take on a new challenge at a new company, and a huge perk is pay. Companies rarely reward people who are loyal and stick around for years and years. They spend their money recruiting new talent. External hires are the ones who will make the current market rate.

The new hires they bring in are the people who are typically the most up to date; they stay up to date by not staying in any one job for too long.

Now, keep in mind that this advice is not one size fits all. But, when your parents or grandparents begin to give you a hard time about your career ambitions, ask yourself a few questions. Do they work in the same field as I do? Are they knowledgeable about my career field? If not, you may be talking to the wrong person. If this happens and you’re in search of advice, seek out mentors who are in your field. They may tell you, “Learning is the new loyalty.”

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at


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