Each year, our organization hires a group of recent college graduates into our human resources intern program. The interns spend the next two years traveling throughout the Department learning the ins and outs of processing HR actions, the culture and a bit about themselves. The program culminates with graduation and an honest Q&A session with our SESers in Washington, DC. During the most recent class’s graduation, one of the interns asked our executives how long should she stay in one position? One executive said ideally 2 to 3 years and another said 5 to 6 years.
As I sat there listening, I briefly reflected on my own career. It is a mosaic of experiences. I spent a year in the private sector as a data analyst; a year as a statistician and researcher with a non-profit; two years as a grant analyst with a different non-profit; two years in the retail sector; and, a handful of internships lasting from 6 weeks to 9 months in the public sector. Even now, I am just two years into my current position in the federal sector.
I love my job and what I do, however, I have begun to passively look for opportunities to move into other sections of my Department and organization to round out my skills and development. I am also actively looking for rotational opportunities outside of the standard day-to-day HR work. I am not in a rush to leave, looking carefully for opportunities as they come may way, but not ignoring looking for them too. As I do this though, I have a few questions.
First, for those more experienced in the federal sector: How long should someone in the federal sector stay in one position?
Second, for those who are newer to the federal sector: Does your resume resemble mine with continual job hopping? How long do you plan to stay where you currently are?