In defence of the long tech tenure.

In 2006 Justin Timberlake was returning sexy to its original location, James Blunt was being creepy to someone on the tube, and the Devil spent up big on Prada. Also I joined Campaign Monitor for the next decade. In 2016 (Adele saying “Hello” a lot and eventually finding Dory) I joined Help Scout and have worked there remotely ever since.

Two jobs. 16 years. In software companies. I’m like a piece of built-in office furniture compared to most people, and when I tell them they tend to have one of three reactions:


I understand the incredulity. Prior to these two jobs I hadn’t stayed anywhere more than 3 years either.

Factors that lead to a longer tenure

So why do I stay? Here’s my list of desirable company traits:

Of course a long tenure is about me too. Specifically:

No job will hit 100% on every measure, every time. But to even find a company that scores well is not easy and takes a significant amount of time and effort. Of course, it’s not like staying where you are comes without costs either.

Costs of a long tenure

Being in the same company for years can mean missing out on bigger salary jumps, and a slower journey “up the ladder”. If that’s what you’re into. It might mean missed opportunities to learn new skills or to work with an incredible person elsewhere.

The critical factor, for me, is choice. I am not trapped in my job.

One reason I write articles and give conference talks is to keep a degree of visibility, so that if I did need to move it would be easier. When you feel stuck every small workplace indignity is twice as painful. When you’re staying by choice, and you know what really matters, then you can let the little things slide.

I don’t judge people who want to job hop every 18 months, but it’s not for me. Or at least, not for now. I’m happy being a reliable, well made piece of office furniture. Maybe a credenza. I think I know what they are.