Should Job Hopping Be Encouraged?

Am I old school?

No, really? Please let me know in the comments because this recent article from Fast Company makes no sense to me! Check this out:

“JOB HOPPERS ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE A HIGHER LEARNING CURVE, BE HIGHER PERFORMERS, AND EVEN TO BE MORE LOYAL…In terms of managing your own career, if you don’t change jobs every three years, you don’t develop the skills of getting a job quickly, so then you don’t have any career stability,” (Penelope) Trunk tells Fast Company. “You’re just completely dependent on the place that you work as if it’s 1950, and you’re going to get a gold watch at the end of a 50-year term at your company.”

Really? I’m not sure Talent Acquisition leaders, across the world, share Penelope’s philosophy on job hopping!

I don’t buy any of this.

In the minds of hiring managers, Job Hoppers are Job Hoppers for a reason. Which basically comes down to you weren’t good enough to stick with any one company you were with. Sure some of that hopping might be they were in a bad company who didn’t treat them like they should have been treated. At which point, a normal person, would learn from this bad fit and choice of employer, and make a better one.

I even job hopped a little in the early part of my career. I was chasing an executive title. In hindsight, it was the dumbest thing I ever did!

This is bad advice, plain and simple.

Don’t job hop. For every person that it helps, it will hurt ten others. Hiring managers still hate to see job hopping on a resume, and they’ll question what is wrong with you if your resume looks like you job hop.

Even in the tech sector, which I work in every day, hiring managers hate to see IT pros that have ten jobs in ten years. They’ll still hire you now, because the need is so great, but eventually the economy of the IT market, supply and demand, will catch up. At that point, your job hopping resume will not be desired.

So, how do you fix this, if you’re currently in this job hopper cycle?

I recommend to job seekers that they bundle many of their ‘projects’ into one consulting job, to make it, at least, appear to be under one umbrella of an employer. We see many IT pros doing this now as contingent workers and incorporating themselves. Work several projects at different companies, but all managed under one brand. It’s not perfect, but it looks a little better.

Job hopping should never be encouraged. Making a change because your career is stagnant is something completely different. Most careers don’t get stagnant in 2-3 years!

4 thoughts on “Should Job Hopping Be Encouraged?

  1. I don’t disagree with your position, Tim (I think in the *long* run staying one place will get you to the executive ranks faster).

    That said, what would you say to those that argue you can make more money and find the top of the market (from a wage perspective) faster by jumping every 24 months? For most employees, it’s easier to get a 10+% wage increase by jumping than it is to find one by staying put, yes? Thinking of this piece from Kris Dunn:

    • Rory,

      I don’t deny that you can get a salary jump by moving to another company. But, I do think that this jumping can be very career limiting as well, as executives and boards look for loyalty and tenure when filling top C level positions.

      It becomes a personal decision. Do you want some quick cash, or do you want to reach the highest levels of your organization. The money will eventually be there.


  2. I read the same article. Got about two paragraphs in and thought, “This is bullshit!” Job hopping is only good if they have a progressive upward mobility from one position to the next. Then, they might be money motivated and always have their eye on something else.

  3. I’m with you on this. Job hopping is defendable only in a select few scenarios, typically involving circumstances beyond the employee’s control. When I see a hopper’s resume, they typically read with a tone or subtext of: I can land a job, but lack the skills, depth or ambition to keep it; My chosen field is a bad match for me.

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