Let's talk about SEO jobs and careers for a moment
The other day I got asked why am I gonna spend this weekend working for my own business even if I do have (well-paying) full time job at the moment.
The answer is.... complicated. I think a big part of it falls down to understanding there are things I control and things I do not control.
My own business has been supporting me and my family for 20+ years. What kind of customers I take, how much do I charge, when do I work.... it is all in my own control.
With jobs.... The number of jobs (especially in field of SEO ) that last for decades is REALLY non-existing. Losing a job, losing a company... they both happen a lot in digital careers. For example in addition of running my own company I have had 5 jobs in thirty years (and apart of one none of those companies exist anymore). After a quick runthrough of my LinkedIn network I came to conclusion that the average career length in SEO field is in the ballpark of 2-3 years with exception of those who run their own business/agency.
I may be a bit rude (pardon), but It REALLY sucks. Of course when you are young and starting out a career, it is easy and fun to do some job hopping for a while. But when you get to level of being senior, finding a new job and going through recruit process takes anywhere between 6-12 months (at least in Finland). If playing with math, an average SEO with 40 year working career goes through 12-20 jobs in his/her lifetime, and they likely spend 6-12 years of their life looking for the next job, and somewhere around 4-8 years on probation. On worst case half of the working life gets consumed with job hunting. Does it sound like a good life? IMHO it is very much the opposite of it (especially if you have got things like family). Is it normal life? It depends on the scope. If you look at SEO jobs then it is normal. If you look at all the careers outside tech industry, then switching jobs every few years is far from normal.
True, change is something that makes people grow.... But I have never seen anything good come out of life filled with constant change. If your focus is constantly on the fact that you need to secure your new job or find a new one, then the "zen of SEO" is never being reached. And you never truly grow from apprentice to professional. Imagine you are a doctor and you have a patient with some potentially deadly condition that takes years and years to treat. If you always exit and find a new patient before the old patient is fully recovered, then do you really become a master at your profession? That is equal to what is happening at SEO jobs and careers.
I know some, potentially many, HR professionals and business sharks may disagree with me. That changing jobs frequently gives you better pay, or it makes you work harder as you have to stay street hungry, or it makes you more creative. Here is a newsflash. One size advice does not fit all lines of jobs. If thinking what SEO work is all about, what the expectations and goals and facts are, then the timelines of careers need to match the timelines of SEO.
The best advice to anyone reading this is...
If you are SEO professional and the above is your life... You only have one life to live. You cannot change the outside world. But what you control is your own actions. If you know you will be spending 25-50% of your working career in uncertainty, then create a plan-B that not only helps you pass the financially unstable times, but also helps you to grow professionally.
If you are an employer who has trouble keeping inhouse SEO professionals for less than a year, then you really should not hire new SEO people, but a business consultant to rethink what is wrong with your expectations and strategy.
If you are an employer who has trouble keeping inhouse SEO professional for less than 5 years, then you really should review what you are offering.
If you are nailing it... then good job. Give yourself a big pat on the back.
That's all folks.
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