Why Top Performers Change Jobs Every 3 to 5 Years

Imagine not being concerned about losing your job.

When I was an Executive Recruiter, we used to have a process called CLAMS. It stood for Challenge, Location, Advancement, Money, and Security, and was one of the ways we shared with our internal colleagues what the job seeker was looking for before referring.

Over time, as I worked with people who were in a panic over being stuck in a toxic environment and afraid to make a change, I changed it to CALM, because today understanding your CALM score makes your job search more grounded.  

People used to assume that they would stay with the same company forever. Of course, now, that’s highly unusual. Even though the unemployment rate has dropped, it feels like job security no longer exists. Yet, many clients are ready to change jobs. Which means that Top Performers aren’t afraid of considering new opportunities.

This doesn’t mean they start looking for a new job as soon as they find one. Quite the opposite. They take every opportunity to dig into their new work, learn new skills, meet new people, and develop relationships. And, it’s exactly those skills that mean, when it’s time for a new challenge, or more money, or faster advancement, they aren’t starting the job search from scratch.

Job security today is knowing that you have options, and that starts with being clear about what motivates you.

  1. What is your motivating factor?

Are you always looking for a new challenge? Is your commute wearing you down? Have you been passed over for promotion? Has it been too long since you got a sizable raise?

Go ahead and rank them 1 through 4.

One being most important and 4 being least important. I know they’re all important, but which one is most important for you?

____ Challenge          ____ Location          ____ Advancement          ____ Money

Now go on to step two.

  1. Dig in to more clearly define your parameters

What are the minimum and maximum acceptable lengths for your commute? From your kitchen to your home office, or 10 minutes across town, or one hour to the really great company in the next county?

What do you define as a challenge? Is it learning new technology, or building teams, or marketing new brands?

You get the idea.

  1. Talk about your favorite challenges with people you know

This is a way to keep reminding yourself about the good parts of your job.

And it’s a great way to keep your network warm and engaged.

I was just talking to woman who came through WIND a few months ago. She’s now employed, and her company is restructuring, and she was grateful for the reminder that she has to keep her network warm. I encouraged her to talk about her most recent project with her network. That way if she doesn’t survive the restructuring, she isn’t starting her job search from scratch.

It’s never too early to start your plan. Ready to take the first step? Post your motivating factor and your favorite challenge in the comment box below.



Coach DQ
Coach DQ
Dawn Quesnel coaches sales, marketing, advertising and creative professionals through job changes, raises and promotions. In private practice for almost 15 years. Award Career Coach of the Year by her Peers and is a Professionally Certified Co-Active Coach, Certified Career Coach, Speaker, frequent Emcee for industry/Assn professional panels, and facilitator.


  1. David says:

    Another great article Dawn! A good resource for some of my clients,

  2. Coach DQ says:

    Thank you David. I appreciate you sharing.

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