Is Job Hopping Always A Bad Thing?

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Back in the day, a kitchen toaster could be counted on to last for at least 10 years. If something went wrong with it, you could have it repaired. Today, you’re lucky if your toaster even works the way you’d like it to right out of the box, much less lasts for a decade. You can forget about finding someone to fix your toaster; it would cost more than the whole toaster is worth, and the appliance would likely stop working again in a few months, anyway. The same goes for a lot of things we buy today. When was the last time you tried to get something repaired instead of buying a new one?

It isn’t that great of a leap to realize that having grown up in a world where almost everything is disposable, millennials are much less likely to stay with a job than previous generations were. A recent survey by PayScale, Inc. shows that 41 percent of baby boomers believed that the minimum time you should spend on a job before looking for a new one is five years.

Only 13 percent of millennials think you need to hang on that long before looking for something new. 26 percent of millennials think that a year in one position is enough experience to secure something better.

Who is right?

Does job hopping result in poorer-quality positions and less job security? Does it accelerate your career, ensuring higher pay and greater responsibility sooner?

The Downsides of Job Hopping

As previous generations expected, a history of job hopping isn’t always looked on favorably by hiring managers. If your resume shows a change in employment every year or two, prospective employers will assume that you won’t be committed to them for more than that length of time.

Because recruiting, courting, hiring, and training takes time, effort, and money, employers are hesitant to invest in candidates who don’t scream loyalty.

For similar reasons, you might be the first on the chopping block during a round of layoffs. Job hopping in your past indicates a flightiness that might make you jump ship for a new position as soon as the going gets tough. Even if you don’t demonstrate disloyalty to your current employer, your past makes you less trustworthy during times of crisis.

Job hopping can provide less job satisfaction. Because you don’t stay around long enough to watch your employer grow and change, you won’t feel much connection to the small successes you achieve while employed their. When you job hop, you sacrifice short-term fulfilment for the hope of long-term success.

The Advantages of Job Hopping

There is evidence that job hopping does produce that sought-after long-term success. Studies have found that job hopping allows workers to gain more experience in less time, helping them advance to higher positions and better pay at a faster rate than workers who remain at the same position for years on end. If you stay at one employer for more than two years, you are likely earning 50 percent less than a peer who job hopped during that period. If you combine job hopping with education, perhaps earning your AACSB online MBA, you can boost your earning potential even higher.

While hiring managers might not appreciate the disloyalty shown by job hopping, they do welcome the experience that typically accompanies the practice.

In a relatively brief span of time, job hoppers encounter a variety of challenges, such as:

  • Working for different sized companies
  • Working in different industries
  • Taking on different responsibilities

They often use different resources and information — not to mention an impressively large network of professionals — to accomplish their goals. Job hoppers potentially bring new ideas, methods, tools, and connections that can improve a business.

What Can You Learn From Job Hopping?

Toasters may break down more often these days, but you can also buy a brand-new one for about $5. You need to decide whether you value the qualities of your old toaster enough to get it repaired, or whether you’d be happier with the excitement and innovation of a new toaster.

The same is true of job hopping. If your current job fulfills your career needs for the foreseeable future, you might not find any benefit by looking for a new position.

Many young professionals are finding that they gain little by remaining at their current position, and as so many hop jobs, they are altering how employers perceive a job-hopping history. You must decide for yourself whether job hopping is bad for your career — but it probably won’t be.

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