Introduction to Job-Hopping
“Job-hopping” is something every professional should avoid, right? Wrong. If you’re thinking that job-hopping is bad for your career and reputation, here’s our take on job-hopping. If you can do job-hopping strategically, you will be able to create a better reputation, earn more money, get promoted faster and eventually earn a title of an expert generalist.
The reason job-hopping seems bad to so many people (especially those who run companies) because when one or more people make a transition from one company to another, they have to pay the price. No-one likes increasing attrition rates. But this is the scenario – as the company owners think about the growth of their organizations, you need to think about the growth of YOU Inc. as well.
No, it’s not cool to stay at a job for more than a few years and doing the same things again, again and again. There are two research reports which prove that how the recent workforce uses job-hopping to shift and make a transition in their career.
In 2012, PayScale published a report which says that the median tenure of millennials in companies is maximum 2 years.
In 2013, Millennial Branding and Beyond.com published a survey which says that 30% of companies lose 15% of millennials in a matter of a year.
We can understand that surveys are being done on small sample size and that doesn’t always portray the accurate picture. But these surveys are being done by taking into account hundreds of companies and their employees. Even if we cannot conclude that the job market is full of job hoppers, still there’s no harm in saying that the market is trending toward a situation where “job-hopping” seems the right options for millennials.
Now you are a job-hopping employee and you believe in staying in a company, learning skills, getting promotion and making your career graph upward. But what if this is not the case? What would you do then?
Have a close look on the pointers we’re about to discuss now and you would get why being the most experienced job-hopping employee of the company is reducing your chances of building a successful professional.
Below are the some best ways of how job-hopping can help you make more money
Repetition is not always noble
Ask any seasoned professional about what is the secret of their success! They will tell you they worked hard and they stayed late and came early and did every day what their mentors asked them to do. These are the fundamentals. It’s okay to follow them. But what if the game of success has changed over the years? What if the same things that brought success then don’t work now? Yes, it’s said that what brings you here will not take you there. If you’re here in your organization for a few years now and thinking of change because you want to grow, hold that thought for a minute. Let’s look deeper. Think about your job responsibilities. Do they help you grow? Do checking emails, structuring excel sheets and long duration calls make you expand? Yes, they often result in a good pay-cheque and security and status. But are you growing? If not, you need to think of making a transition even when it feels like job-hopping. If you’re here for two years and thinking that if you change you would be called as a job hopper, forget that. If you change and grow, it’s better than just waiting not to get stigmatized.
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You would grow exponentially
job-hopping is bad for those who value security more than growth. Here’s what will happen if you throw the stigma of ‘job-hopping’ from your head and think it as a strategy for growth. To be exceptionally well in something, you need a structure, a system, an established methodology, a lot of study and someone/people who can help you learn half a dozen skills. Now, you can study on your own; but the rest of the things are not guaranteed in one job. So, if you stay with a company for 10 years, how would you learn everything that’s needed to make you exceptional? No, we’re not promoting job-hopping; we’re just talking about good sides of it.
If you stay in one company and see that you can master one skill in a matter of a year, why stay there more than a year? Now, to be able to use job-hopping effectively, you need to know where you want to go, what you want to do and what your career ambitions are. If you know and can articulate your career goal under 10 words, you can think of this strategy. job-hopping can really be a boon for your career.
You would earn great money
It’s given. If you change jobs quite often, you would earn more money than people who want to stay put in one organization for a long time. But now, when you work for a year in one organization and then do another one and a half in other and go for an interview, the interviewer may frown and can tell you something like – “Well, you have changed too many jobs in too less time. You don’t seem to be a candidate who has focus.” But don’t listen to the interviewer. It’s expected that you will only leave a job when you will get another opportunity that seems better for learning. And maybe this situation of getting interviewed in stop-gap would not arise. Still, if you think of changing jobs because you want to make your learning curve upward, then you may need to hear a lot of stigma about job-hopping.
Leadership guru Robin Sharma says – “As you learn more, you will earn more.” So when you take a strategy to make learning the first measuring grid of career success, earning great money would just be a by-product. It’s always better to earn more money if you don’t want to get trapped by a security mindset. Look ahead. Companies need generalists more than ever. They need people who know how to solve a problem, how to present, how to write exciting copy, how to maintain cordial relationships with clients, how to read complex financial charts and how to increase profits & reduce the cost. So, you get the idea why job-hopping will teach you all the skills you need to have to be the smartest professional in your organization.
Leave on good terms
It’s often not easy to say goodbye to the company you’re currently working. If you have worked in the organization for a year and want to shift, often there would be a lot of resistance. From your colleagues, peers, and teammates to top management even CEO will resist you leaving this organization if you’re a really smart employee. But as you already know in your heart that you want to change because your growth in this organization is stalled, then you need to create a tactic which will help you saying goodbye easier. Sit with each of your colleagues and tell them why you want to leave. If they don’t understand the exact reason, talk to them in their language. Ask them – what’s most important to you in a job? If they’re like most people, they would say something like – “Money” or “Security” or “Stability” or “Good working environment”.
These all are valid job-hopping reasons to stay in one organization for a long time. But what you want in a job-hopping career may be much different than others. Maybe all you want is growth or learning or more responsibilities which will not be possible in this organization. Express that to your colleagues. While talking to the top management, never say that you want to grow far beyond your current role and that’s why you’re leaving. Simply say that you have something else in your mind and don’t try to explain. Even if the top job-hopping executives are great humanitarian, still it’s better not to tell the exact reason as it may harm your relationship with them.
Understand opportunity costs
Job-hopping helps you understand the value of opportunity costs. Job-hopping is subjective. What would you call job-hopping – a period of one year or two years or maybe every five years? So, understand that job-hopping is adding value by making you aware of opportunity costs in the market. You’re getting aware by signals that you’re doing repetitive jobs every day and you understand that you’re not growing anymore in this job. But have you ever thought that what you would lose if you still stay in the same job for another year? Here’s the math – if you do not change the job that means you would do the same things again the next year plus you will not learn any new skills plus you will need to invest thousands of hours in the work you don’t love plus you’re not able to invest that amount of time in other fruitful activities plus your efficiency will get reduced day by day. Now combine all that and you would realize that why job-hopping is really not a bad thing. It reduces your opportunity cost and makes you grow.
Learn before you change
Job-hopping often seems very exciting as it gives you an opportunity to earn much more than you’re currently earning. But if you’re job-hopping just because you want to earn more, don’t make that move. We’re prescribing the positive sides of job-hopping as it helps you learn much more than you would learn if you stay in one job for a long time. But what if another opportunity knocks on your door when you know that you’re still learning in your current organization? The easy and simplistic answer is – Don’t change the job yet. You’re in this company to learn one or more skills. If your learning is not yet done in the existing organization, what would you do go to a different company? This one wrong move can annihilate your career aspiration. If you strategize to become more valuable, don’t do job-hopping simply for money or status. Do it for learning. And you would be okay.
Plan of learning in the next organization matches with reality
It’s often seen that even when professionals change to learn better and learn more, the reality in the new organization is often as same as the previous one. Be aware of this. The best way to ensure that you’re not going for an organization which talks big and acts little is to do research beforehand. Don’t just be happy with secondary researches like browsing websites, Wikipedia and other online forums. Do primary research. The most effective way to do a primary search is to go to its clients and talk to them about the company. Go as a researcher. Ask them that you’re coming from a research company and request them to tell a few words about the company you have applied for. Do it in such a way that you don’t get caught. If you think that going in person is too risky, send your friends. Then make a concrete decision.
Job-hopping is a noble task. No, not to companies who hire you, train you, invest you and make you a better professional than you were a year or two before. So before you think on the terms of job-hopping, have a glance at few things which may seem to be ethical if you do.
- Never leave a project in between. If you want to change, change after the project is being done. If you need to increase your notice period, do that.
- Never leave the organization without finding a replacement. It’s ethical to think about your growth. But if you hold an important position, when you leave it will cost the organization a lot of money. So, don’t do it. Find someone who is as capable as you and train him/her for a month and then leave without worry.
- Don’t share the information you got from your existing company with the next company. You’re not a medium of information, rather a resource. So make good use of you by helping more customers, not exploiting the previous organizations.
- Act and say the same things. Don’t promise the top management something that you know in your heart you can’t carry forward. Better yet, don’t say anything. When the time comes, just act.
This article is a comprehensive read on the good sides of job-hopping. But remember if your first goal is to learn, you would automatically earn better, yes by job-hopping.