Updated April 21, 2023
Introduction to Job Hopping
“Job hopping” is something every professional should avoid, right? Wrong. If you think job hopping is bad for your career and reputation, here’s our take on job hopping. If you can do job hopping strategically, you can create a better reputation, earn more money, get promoted faster, and eventually earn the title of an expert generalist.
Job hopping seems bad to so many people (especially those who run companies) because when one or more people transition from one company to another, they have to pay the price. No one likes increasing attrition rates. However, as the company owners think about their organizations’ growth, you need to think about your growth as well.
No, it’s not cool to stay at a job for more than a few years and do the same things repeatedly. Two research reports prove 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 a maximum of 2 years. In 2013, Millennial Branding and Beyond.com published a survey that 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 sizes, which doesn’t always portray an accurate picture. But these surveys are being done by considering hundreds of companies and their employees. Even if we cannot conclude that the job market is full of job hoppers, there’s no harm in saying that the market is trending toward a situation where “job hopping” seems the right option for millennials. Now you are a job hopping employee who believes in staying in a company, learning skills, getting promotions, and progressing your career. But what if this is not the case? What would you do then?
Have a close look at the pointers we’re about to discuss now, and you will get why being the most experienced job hopping employee of the company is reducing your chances of building a successful professional.
Best Ways of Job Hopping
Below are some of the best ways how job hopping can help you to make more money:
1. Repetition is not always noble
Ask any seasoned professional about what is the secret of their success! They will tell you they worked hard, 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’ve been here in your organization for a few years now and thinking of change because you want to grow, hold that thought for a minute. 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 good pay-cheque and security and status. But are you growing? If not, you need to consider transitioning even when it feels like job hopping. If you’re here for two years and thinking that if you change, you will be called a job hopper, forget that. It is better to change and grow than just waiting to get stigmatized.
2. 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 of it as a strategy for growth. To be exceptionally well at something, you need a structure, a system, an established methodology, a lot of studies, and someone/people who can help you learn half a dozen skills. Now, you can study independently; 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 needed to make yourself exceptional? No, we’re not promoting job hopping; we’re just talking about the 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 for more than a year? 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 in 10 words, you can think of this strategy. Job hopping can be a boon for your career.
3. You would earn great money
It’s given. If you change jobs quite often, you will earn more than people who want to stay 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. You are expected only to leave a job when you get another opportunity that seems better for learning. And maybe this situation of getting interviewed in a stop-gap would not arise. Still, if you think of changing jobs to make your learning curve upward, 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 costs. So, you get why job hopping will teach you all the skills you need to have to be the smartest professional in your organization.
4. Leave on good terms
It’s often not easy to say goodbye to the company you’re currently working for. 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 the CEO will resist leaving this organization if you’re a smart employee. But as you already know in your heart that you want to change because your growth in this organization is stalled, you need to create a tactic to help you say goodbye easier. Sit with each of your colleagues and tell them why you want to leave. If they don’t understand the 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 are valid job hopping reasons to stay in one organization for a long time. But what you want in a job hopping career may differ greatly from others. Maybe all you want is growth, 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 you have something else in your mind, and don’t try to explain. Even if top job hopping executives are great humanitarians, it’s better not to tell the exact reason as it may harm your relationship with them.
5. 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 adds 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 about 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 will realize why job hopping is really not a bad thing. It reduces your opportunity cost and makes you grow.
6. 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 don’t make that move if you’re job hopping just because you want to earn more. We’re prescribing the positive sides of job hopping as it helps you learn much more than you would if you stay in one job for a long time. But what if another opportunity knocks on your door when you know 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 to 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.
7. 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 new organization’s reality is often the same as the previous one. Be aware of this. The best way to ensure that you’re not going for an organization that talks big and acts little is to do research beforehand. Don’t just be happy with secondary research 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. Then make a concrete decision.
Job hopping is a noble task. No, not to companies who hire you, train you, invest in you, and make you a better professional than you were a year or two before. So before you think about job hopping, consider a few ethical aspects:
- Never leave a project in between. If you want to change, change after the project is 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 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 but rather a resource. So make good use of yourself by helping more customers, not exploiting the previous organizations.
- Act and say the same things. Don’t promise the top management something you know you can’t carry forward in your heart. 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.
Here are some further articles to learn more: