Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Job Hopping isn't Always Good

I am 22 years old, two years out of college and almost arriving at my 2 year at my current job. As I read about how unique and original my generation is, I find it disconcerting. We are supposed to be unique and original, yet we are all following similar paths to one another. Maybe its time to not follow the 'trend'...

Gen-Y started a trend. They started to job hop about every 18 months. Then Everyone who enjoys Gen-Y said, "This is different." "This is the new norm."

I beg to differ. I haven't job hopped, and although I have thought about it and sent out a few applications here and there, I'm still at my current job. And I honestly plan to be here for a while. Maybe you should consider staying put yourself. Let me explain why:

1. Staying at your first job for a substantial length in time can give you experience, and portray on your resume that you do want to find a company that you can see a future in.

One of the reasons the company hired me and I 'hired' the company was because they wanted someone that can grow with the company and I wanted a company that can give me the hours, pay and benefits that I wanted. More recently, I discovered that my resume can continue to grow and provide substantial experience if I stay at the company.

2. Job-hopping does not provide stability.

In our twenties, no one can be sure they know exactly what they want in a career. This is why job-hopping may be good for you. Job-hopping may allow you to 'gain experience' in several different areas, but it doesn't necessarily provide stability like some may say. For example; you left a company that was growing, but wasn't quite big enough to give you the opportunities you needed, so you left. You went to a company that was able to provide what you needed, but given the economy they were suffering. Suffering to the point of needing to lay off some of their 'extra' employees. Being the newbie, that most likely means you. Now you don't have a job, or stability.

3. Investing in a company makes the company want to invest in you.

Staying with a company for more than 2-4 years shows the company that you are invested in them. You work hard their the companies success, which in turn provides you success. With this hard work and returned success, you get reward. Staying with the company provides you the opportunity to ask for the raise, or the promotion. Or even to ask the company if they can meet your career goals, if they want to invest in you, they will do everything in their power to meet those goals. Though you have worked for everything you've gained, you also didn't have to send out applications and go through the interview process to get to where you want to be.

4. Over time, it will pay off or you will leave.

Although I don't think consistent job-hopping is 'healthy' for your career, I do understand that it has to be done. But I think it is absolutely necessary for a person to do the best they can to find a company worth investing in. If it turns out that two years later, it just doesn't work out-then changing jobs would be worth your time. It is selfish and immoral to think that once a job runs dry on experience and your 'growth' flat lines that its time to move on. Consider the possibility: When you interview for a job, you should have your long-term and short-term career goals in mind. Don't take a job with a company that you know won't be able to provide what you need to accomplish your goals. Not only would it be a waste of time and money for the company, it takes away time you could've used to pursue your goals faster and more efficiently. If gaining experience is your goal, be a contractor. If you want to be promoted to Snr. Manager, you need to stick around long enough to get the reputation you need to be promoted or hired to that position. If you don't want to be promoted, and have experience under your belt, find a company that will pay off.

Now, I could ramble on about work ethic and commitment to a bigger cause than your career in terms of staying with a company, but I do believe that is outdated. I do believe that job-hopping doesn't necessarily mean you have a weak work ethic. It is absurd for anyone to think that we go to work everyday and think, "Today I'm going to serve a greater purpose than crossing off my to-do list and keeping my boss happy." It just doesn't happen.

Recently, I did ask my company if they can meet my career goals. I work in an office that doesn't have ladders to climb or departments to rotate through. Our job openings are few and far between. I know they can't meet my goals unless a certain position opens up, but I was told that they would do everything they could to provide the experience I want. Of course, if it turns out that isn't enough and I can't wait for that job-opening, than leaving will become more of an option.

So, without job-hopping, I have a stable, growing career with a company that agrees with my ethics and morals AND they want to invest in me. By them telling me they would do everything they could to allow me to continue to grow, I know they want to make an investment in me. In return, I will continue to invest my time, energy and work ethic into them.


  1. I found the most compelling part of this post to be part 4 because at that point you're 'unpacking' the notion that different people fit with different jobs, and that there are nearly always an entirely different set of circumstances.

    You shouldn't stay at your current job for the sake of it, if you're not happy and satisfied just so you can have a more stable resume. Great companies will find a way to satisfy their employers, and as a result their employers will work harder and stay put longer.

    In most cases, there's no such thing as a 'stable job' anyway in this economy. Tenure probably works in SOME cases, but there's many others where they'll keep the young, new employee and fire the old guard b/c they can justify paying the newbie less.

    Some of my most successful friends have job-hopped, A LOT. I suspect most uber successful people know when the time is right to make the break for the benefit of their career, but most of Gen Y still doesn't know what the hell they want (hence the job-hopping sometimes.)

    I think you have good advice to offer on the subject, but may be potentially short-selling yourself with a couple of blanket statements.

    Thanks for sharing Liza!

  2. The problem with writing a post like this if you haven't job-hopped is it's difficult to know what the benefits are. But I completely agree that different things work for different people. I've been on both sides - I've had a job for four years straight in college and I've job-hopped since then. Depending on your goals, personality and life-stage, you may choose one or the other.

  3. I'm the guy who you commented on over at Penelope's site. I like your blog, and this was worth reading. Thank you.