Alibaba’s Jack Ma offers advice on how long to stay in your first job

Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba, had some unambiguous advice for young people attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, last week. Asked for his thoughts on what’s often described as a millennial habit of job-hopping early in one’s career, with the goal of scrambling up the ranks, Ma was blunt: Just don’t.

Your first job is your most important job, he said, and your priority for it ought to be finding the right mentor. “You should find a good boss that can teach you how to be a human being, how to do things right, how to do things properly,” he instructed, also arguing that the company’s size or prestige is less important.

“And stay there,” at that first job, he emphasized. “Give yourself a promise: ‘I will stay for three years.’”

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