Job Hopping

The Pros And Cons Of Job Hopping

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Out of everyone in my group of college friends, I was the only one who still had the same job two years after graduation. Everyone else had changed jobs once, twice, or even three times. So, I felt somewhat smug—as if I knew something they didn’t.

Related: 4 Steps To Break Your Job Hopping Habit

It wasn’t until many years later that I understood the positive side of job hopping. It hit me when I suddenly discovered I had forced myself to stay in a job I hated for five years. If only I had just left at the very beginning when I realized it wasn’t for me… maybe I wouldn’t have wasted all that time being miserable.

Of course, job hopping also involves a few pretty serious downsides. In order to make the best decisions in your career, it’s helpful to understand both the positive and negative aspects of bouncing around from one job to the next, and how it can impact your long-term goals.

Self-Discovery

Clearly, no one expects you to know exactly what you want from your career the minute you graduate from college. But, as you gain experience, you should become more astutely aware of what your idea of “the right” job looks like. If you find yourself stuck, feeling like nothing will ever make you happy, it’s time to do some self-reflection.

If you need help, download my FREE mini-workbook, which will walk you through a process to determine what’s working (and what’s not) in your current career so you can begin pinpointing the things that may provide (or detract from) career fulfillment the future. Once you know more about yourself, you can be more discerning in the job search process.

Proactively searching for a job that matches your unique career wants and needs should help prevent job hopping, but there’s no guarantee. Sometimes, the only way to really learn what works for you and what doesn’t is to simply step in there and give it a try. I always recommend that, unless things are really unbearable, it’s a good idea to stick with a new job for at least a year. This gives you enough time to really get a feel for it and make an informed decision.

Variety

Most of us enjoy routine… up to a point. Then, it becomes monotonous. Job hopping certainly provides variety. You end up learning about many different businesses and industries; you gain a variety of skills and meet a wide range of people. This is what many job hoppers crave when they bounce around. They just want to escape the boring everyday routine. Be cautious of this! While it’s nice to experience new things, most jobs will have some degree of monotony. When you’re being paid, it won’t always be exciting and new.

Shallow Experience

If you’re a job hopper, or if you end up being one, you can always frame your scattered experience as being a good thing: you have a wide range of capabilities and broad point-of-view. However, in reality, your experience in each area is rather shallow. If you only stay somewhere for a short period of time, you’re not getting a deep understanding of what’s going on. That usually takes several years to accomplish and prospective employers may be concerned about your skill level.

Lack Of Loyalty

Inevitably, once you’ve job hopped a few times in a row, employers will start seeing it as a red flag. They’ll wonder about your loyalty. They’ll worry that it’s not worth the time, money, and energy needed to train you because, in a year or so, you’ll be gone. This can be a hard stigma to shake so you better have some strong justification for why you left each position and proactively address it in your cover letter. Don’t try to ignore it and hope they won’t notice.

You Don’t Know What You Want (‘Till It’s Gone!)

The other thing prospective employers will assume is you don’t really know what you want. When you tell them why you’d be perfect for the job and why it’s a position you’ll be thrilled to have, they’ll doubt your motives. Your past doesn’t indicate that you really know what will please you. Again, with a little clever maneuvering, you can frame it in such a way that your past actually proves that you know exactly what you want—and DON’T want.

But, ultimately, many job hoppers end up regretting their decisions. They fall into the “grass is always greener” syndrome. Once they’ve moved on and fallen into another monotonous routine somewhere else, they realize that the last job wasn’t so bad after all.

If you ever find yourself labeled as a “serial job hopper,” take some time to evaluate why it’s happening and how it’s affecting your long-term career objectives. Create strategies to overcome this issue so you can settle into a job that feels right and keeps your interest. Working with a career coach or participating in a group coaching program may also be helpful.

Related Posts

Are You A Job Hopper? 3 Reasons Why You Can’t Stick It Out
4 Ways To Avoid Looking Like A Job Hopper On Your Resume
How To Handle Career Gaps On Your Resume

 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Chrissy Scivicque

Chrissy Scivicque is the founder of EatYourCareer.com. She's a certified career coach, corporate trainer, and public speaker.

8 comments

  1. Thank you for this article. I am no longer “fresh out of college” but I did find myself doing a version of job-hopping until the crash of the economy. For me, the issue was employers not being truthful with what they expected and resources available during the interview and on-boarding process. I really want to work for an organization that values me as an employee so I can respect their leadership. When I interview now, I almost always get asked about it. It is not that I can’t commit but that I want to make sure I know what I am getting into. Is there a label for a person in that predicament? I know that no job is perfect but I feel I stumble upon the bad apples more than average.

  2. Sometimes circumstances happen that are out of your control that make it look like you are a job hopper. I’ve worked for 5 companies that went out of business for various reasons in the past 18 years. This alone makes it look like I am a job hopper. I am 56 years old so I want to find a stable company where I can enjoy supporting the company while working towards my retirement. Unfortunately some industries make this wish rather difficult to fulfill.

  3. Great article, especially regarding the shallow experience part. My history contains some very brief positions, but the reason for this is because I was internally promoted, I make sure I list this on my Linkedin.

  4. I know a person who seems to have a new employer every 6 months to 2 years. Yes, it’s along this person’s career path. Yes, there seems to be growth and increased responsibility. But why would I hire this person if it looks like the person will leave in 3 to 12 months?

    • Dave,
      If someone is growing, accepting more responsibility and progressing in their field, I’d be wanting to hire them and even if they didn’t remain in that position- retain them in house for promotion.

      As people move they typically get a clearer picture of what the want/dont want.The first question I’d be asking them is where do you see yourself in 2-3 years, if it’s a really vague response, I’d say they’re just seeking variety.

      Keep in mind people often move for one of 2 reasons- which are typically polar opposite.
      They’re above and beyond the job so they move/ progress, or theyre struggling and not cutting it, so they get culled.

  5. you are fantastic! I am not a fan of blogs but your articles are written with so much thought, experience and in such a professional, pleasant, accessible yet entertaining language! over several weeks this website has become a source of lots of relevant, interesting and valuable information. Thank you so much!

  6. you are fantastic! I am not a fan of blogs but your articles are written with so much thought, experience and in such a professional, pleasant, accessible yet entertaining language! over several weeks this website has become a source of lots of relevant, interesting and valuable information. Thank you so much!

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