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Thursday, April 29, 2010

the problem with job-hopping

Nick Corcodilos and Mark Suster take on the myth that "job hopping doesn't matter," and they're right. Read Nick's take and Mark's take -- both of which are excellent.


Anonymous said...

Suster writes that if you're 25 and have worked for 3 companies, you're borderline.

As someone who is 26 and fits this description, it makes me nervous. I would like to think my particular background/industry makes my own moves understandable, but I don't doubt that I could just be rationalizing.

AAM, I'm wondering if you could elaborate on situations where job hopping is/is not appropriate -- especially since we've often seen cases from your readers where the right advice was to start looking for a better management situation?

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! I'm 28 and I've worked for 10- I'm screwed! Except that every company I've worked for has benefited from me and refused to pay me close to what I'm worth. I'm close to my desired salary, but not quite there. If I have to leave your cheap company to pay my bills, I will. Chances are management will be better as well.

Anonymous said...

Well I think the problem is it's different for each individual. For example I'm 25 and have had 7 jobs in the last 6 years. Mind you they were all 4 month co-op terms and I'm currently on a 4 month contract. I would like nothing more than to stick it out with someone but that just isn't in the cards at the moment.

I do want to second the motion that Penelope Trunk should not be trusted. She's just way to full of the happy sauce to do anyone any good.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:38, by definition if you can't get paid what you're worth, it's because that's NOT what you're worth.

Anonymous said...

I'm 33 and I'm currently on my 4th job. First one was 8 months, Second one was 10 years, 3rd one 6 months and most recent, I've been there 2 weeks thus far. I don't think I'm a job hopper. I made the insanely and incredibly stupid move of actually believing what salary websites tell you about what you can make in a city and what the cost of living is and moved to a podunk midwest "city" that likes to pretend it's more than it is. Rhymes with Shmomaha. So I left a job of 10 years to strike it new in this town and things have not been good since. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. And we can't move back b/c the economy sucks balls back home. *sigh* I hope this job turns out to be more than it is currently and I can stick it out for a year or two until I finish my degree and then I can move back to civilization.

Bethany said...

This is such a relief for me. I'm 25 and have worked at the same company since college graduation (almost 3 years ago now) and see so many of my friends be on their 3rd and 4th job that I almost wondered if it would look lazy that I had stayed at the same place so long when I finally go get to the point where I decide to look elsewhere (admittedly, would be if I ever moved since my current boss is all about finding new things for me to learn and do)

A Bay Horse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm 34 and have worked for five companies, 4 of them in the last 7 years. In the last 7 years, I doubled my salary and picked up new skills that I think make me a more valuable employee. I know that if I stayed at two of my employers, I would never have moved forward -- salary, skills, knowledge, etc -- and that would have left me frustrated, unhappy, and ultimately, a miserable employee for my company.

I don't regret the job hopping and I'm aware that given that I'm looking for a new job after just 7 months may hurt me. I'm looking because my company has unexpectedly lost a significant amount of business and will be laying off 70 percent of the workforce by the end of the year. My previous company had layoffs every 3 months and after the first 6 rounds, it started to really, really suck and so I started looking. So sticking with the company to show loyalty when you have a family to support just doesn't compute for me. I think job hopping says as much about the company you left and the one that hired you as much as does about you (the job seeker).

So yes, I'm aware of the potential flags in my resume, aware that some employers may not consider me, but also, I don't regret the job hopping at all.

Anonymous said...

I disagree completely.

I'm more aligned with the person being insulted (and how immature is it to make such rude, nasty, personal comments about another writer in your niche?) who stated that job hoppers are the best employees.

Look, the days of working for one company for one's entire career and retiring with a gold watch and a pension are over. No company in the modern marketplace plans to stay loyal to their employees and provide for their retirement. It's every man and woman for him or herself now, and if you want people with skills, you want people who ARE in it for themselves, not the company. Because they will work their asses of for a company that can provide them with personal success and fulfillment... and if working for your company is drudgery that doesn't offer fulfillment or success, change that in order to attract and keep the best!

Skills are in high demand, especially when they're attached to young professionals who can replace retiring baby boomers. And those young professionals are already seasoned cynics who, in this economy, have probably already worked for at least one company that either went bust or abused their employees to try to stay afloat.

Not every job hopper will be a good employee, but the idiots who toss their resumes are missing out. Besides, what self-actualized, smart career seeker wants to work for someone who can't even speak politely of a colleague?

De Minimis said...

My first job was a blue-collar type job in a specialized business that isn't all that directly applicable to anything else. But I had that job for nearly seven years. I left that job quite some time ago, but I still have it on my resume even though it isn't related to what I'm doing now, and I've had a lot of positive comments on it.

I think a lot of the conventional thinking may be somewhat relaxed right now due to the economy, but someone who at least has one job lasting of a few years duration or more may have somewhat of an advantage, but probably only as far as getting that first interview.

Anonymous said...

"Job hopping" depends on your career path. A good friend of mine might qualify as a "job hopper" but he is a project guy (big construction). He goes project to project with different employers. But, his resume shows that he stays until his part of a project is complete before moving elsewhere.

The last anon. talks about skills. These are vital, but ultimately your employer wants things done. If your job needs a significant amount of ramp up time before you can handle everything - knowledge transfer, etc...- the last thing I want is a 6 month employee. A couple of stints is one thing, but a new job every 12 to 18 months will make me really question do I want you on-board to handle permanent work rather than just a particular project? The risk of me being left in the lurch by a sudden departure starts making Candidate #2 with 3 to 5 years between jobs looking significantly better.

If you really do like project work, then do like my friend - ensure you can demonstrate that you follow the project to completion (or your stage) - on time, on budget, and with quality. You'll be fine. But if I check references and hear about broken projects because of your sudden departure, then that person becomes very risky to hire.

Kathy said...

i totally agree that job hopping depends on your career path. my dad is always starting new companies and selling them. or working for companies who need him and then leaving when they no longer do.

it has always been the case that by the time i think i know who he works for he is two jobs ahead.

but he also never needs to go to interviews because people seek him out.

Liz said...

I think their take fails to recognize the changed labor market - in the last decade a LOT of talented people have had to take temporary jobs, jobs that pay less than living expenses, jobs that aren't a good fit, and so on.

It's also a fact that loyalty to an employer is no longer rewarded. Employers have made it CRYSTAL clear that all employees are at-will, and any consideration is a favor that the employer feels free to discard if it is ever at all inconvenient.

I think the advice is true - people definitely judge job hoppers - but I think that judgment is a failure to adjust to new realities.

I say this as someone who worked longer than usual for my industry at all my jobs, but my industry died and a lot of good people were not rewarded for their loyalty or talent. I'm luckier than a lot of my talented, hard-working former coworkers. I do temp work because it's the only thing that pays the bills (many are relying on spouse or parents, but I don't have that option) I know no one views temp work favorably and I don't expect to change their minds. Honestly, I don't think I want to work for people that can't recognize the changing market anyway.

I expect I'll have to start my own company if I ever want to get ahead, because after three years of temp work, I'm pretty much un-hirable. That's ok, but it's weird to see how different people refuse to see what seems very obvious: the labor market has changed drastically and I don't think it's going to change back. Judging each other and fighting over the "right" way to be an employee at this point, is just redistributing crumbs from a shrinking pie.

Anonymous said...

I agree with AAM and I wish people would have enough judgment to figure out what kind of job-hopping is being addressed here. No, not the contract work; no, not the consulting. We're talking about people who seem to systematically take off after a couple of years due to repeated poor choice of employers, inability to successfully integrate an environment or just plain greediness. Moral of the story: choose your employer carefully, and don't job-hop unless it's a significant advancement opportunity.

As an IT executive I am quite weary of the endless resumes, people repeatedly making poor employer choices (after the 3rd-4th failed start-up you'd think they would get a clue) or people jumping ship for essentially the same thing somewhere else. I have to invest a non-trivial amount of time and money training a new employee, and I'm much less likely to do it with a job-hopper. Show me a history of loyalty and discernment regarding employer changes, and I will be more than happy to invest in developing your career.