Both in- and outside academia it seems a good thing to move around. A good thing job-wise, but not necessarily personal life-wise because it means having to transport yourself and your family all over the place for a next job. The #academicnomad hashtag exemplifies many of these struggles in academia, but similarly, when I interviewed for my current job one of the first things they said was that moving within the company was deemed important*.
So why is moving around a good thing? I can really only talk about around as an academic because I've only been in industry for a couple months now. In academia, I think it is mostly a good thing because it gives you fresh eyes. It gives you a different perspective and teaches you new ways to approach a problem. For example, in grad school most of the labs in my university focussed on synapses - the connections between two neurons - and how those were affected in different diseases. Many of the projects had a similar layout, which basically came down to: study synapses and their content in relation to a particular question or disease model. When I moved to do my post-doc all of a sudden people weren't talking about synapses but about circuits of neurons. Kind of the same thing but in practice a very different approach. And then I haven't even talked about how the perspective on grant writing and paper writing was different in the different places. And now that I've moved to industry I also bring a set of fresh eyes to most of the projects I work on.
But to come back to the question in the title of this post: when do these fresh eyes expire, how do you notice they have expired and how do you keep them fresh? I guess it's difficult to realize that you've been somewhere so long that you don't realize you do the same trick every time. So how do you prevent this? How can you stay creative if you don't move to a new place every so many years? Some of the things I can think of are to move around on a smaller scale: collaborate outside your own department, go to meetings you normally don't go to, etc. What about you, how do you make sure your eyes stay fresh?
*this of course does mean you have a stable job, and when having to move abroad the company handles things for you. Which is of course MUCH different than doing an eleventh post-doc in a far-away country.