thinking of job hopping? think again.

Millennials are known for job hopping.

No seriously — Forbes said it so it must be true.

But besides a major news source saying it’s so, I’ve experienced it in my own life — through my own life choices and through watching my friends do the same.

Why Do We Do It?

We want to find purpose.  We want to make a difference.  We want to know where “this” is going.

In my case, I never intended on actually staying in business.  I was an actress for so many years — I just never thought I’d want to settle down with the right job.  Then I just couldn’t find the right job.  This resulted in a series of job hopping — and yes, even though I’ve learned a great deal in all my jobs, I regret job hopping.

Why Shouldn’t We Do It?

Seriously.  It does both the company and yourself a disservice.

You’ll cost the company a lot of time and money in training and investing in you.  This means that the year of experience you gained as a sales rep counts for nothing because you won’t even get a good recommendation out of it.

Future companies will be wary of hiring you.  Okay, if you leave a job in a year one time, maybe it won’t count against you.  But if your entire resume has a year here, a half year there, and so on, you just shot yourself in the foot.

What Should We Do Instead?

Stick with a job.  If you like the company, you like your manager, and you like the job okay (meaning it’s not killing your soul), try to find ways to enjoy it.  Sign up for development classes (your company will probably pay for them), volunteer to do new things you enjoy (and will help your department in some way), and show some team spirit (if you act like you like the job, you may actually start to like it).

Just ask.  If you’re really miserable, don’t just assume it’s time to leave.  Talk to your manager about it — in a very diplomatic way.  You may not be able to find a new job within the company immediately, but if it’s on both your radars, something could come up in the future.

Also – you’d be surprised how many jobs will let you telecommute, at least one day a week.  Working from home or from Starbucks can be a really nice break.  And honestly — I don’t know about you, but I get a heck of a lot done when I’m telecommuting.


I’ve had some really great responses on my Facebook page.  I wanted to share them and then add my own clarifying statements.

One friend said:

There’s a flip side to this. When used in moderation, changing companies can really juice your career. Staying where you are usually means that your average raise will be 1-5%, but by switching jobs, you can look at increases of 20 – 40%. If you get yourself into a different pay bracket relatively early, over the course of a career, between additional pay and the ability to save more, you’re likely looking at millions of dollars that you would’ve left on the table by being complacent.

Yes.  This is strategically job hopping.  Also — I’m not sure if he means he would stick with a job for three or four years and then search, or six months to a year and then hop.  Either way, it seems like it was a good choice for him.  I think future employers could see if you’re trying to build your career or if you’re just haphazardly switching jobs.  If you’re in sales for one year, retail the next, and are applying to a law firm, they might have some questions.  If you’ve been in financial planning all along, it’s a different story.

Another friend said:

There’s another point somewhat untouched here – the post is referring to job-hopping voluntarily; but for lots of folks, job hopping can become more of the norm because contracts end, temp-to-hire positions go with someone else, and people have to pay the bills. Id be hard-pressed to believe that hopping from a retail job to a temp to hire position that pays five dollars more, while a gamble, would be looked down upon in this economy.

Temp and seasonal positions are certainly out of your control.  Not much you can do there.  And I know the climate is hard in terms of finding employment, so people are under a certain amount of duress.   And like my first friend said, if you need to switch jobs to find something more steady that pays more, then that makes sense.  But certainly, this is a valid point.

Anything else I missed??  Leave it in the comments!  Let’s discuss!

  • Have you been a job hopper?  How has it hurt or helped your career?
  • Any other advice for those job hoppers out there?

4 thoughts on “thinking of job hopping? think again.

  1. Funny that your blog post pops up while I’m in the midst of looking at job postings. I realize that job hopping isn’t exactly putting your best foot forward. But what I’m in the midst of isn’t what I would consider job hopping, as much as it is gasping for air.

    Here’s what I mean. After working in ministry for four years, I’ve had a really hard time finding employment that fits. Certainly that involves what fits my personality, but a lot of it has to do with what fits my natural and learned skills. I worked a veterinary office for a year and a half as a receptionist, and got fired for job performance issues. I’ve been a sales assistant for just over a year (I was temping for a few months before getting officially hired) and a very similar pattern is happening that occurred at the veterinary office. Without going into the minutia, much of it seems to do with attention to detail and task-oriented work. Not only do I not really enjoy my current job, I’m evidently also not good at it. I’ve had several meetings with my supervisor about my performance and the last few times I thought I had been improving when actually the opposite was true. My confidence suffers, which causes my performance to suffer.

    I’m looking for new work now because if I don’t, I’m worried I’m going to get fired. My employer has tried to offer ways to help including some re-training, and it’s just a dismal downward spiral. How I can do well for several months at a job and plateau and then go downward… I don’t know. I can fake it up to a point but eventually the facade just crumbles to pieces. The learned skills fall off, never fully absorbed, and I end up questioning my whole identity and functionality as a human being, incapable of doing a job that I don’t like. My husband had some helpful words that I’m trying to hang onto: It’s one thing to not like a job and still do it well (skillset matches), but a very different thing to not like a job and not be good at it (skilset doesn’t match up).

    • Wow. Such good questions here. It’s especially hard to find your niche when you’re an artistic person, Yvonne. That’s a big reason why I kept switching from job to job. I have an artistic lean, but I wanted something steady. I ended up going to school for teaching, figuring that’s something I could see myself doing and liking long term (creative yet steady), but ended up taking a completely different route.

      It’s great that your boss is trying to help you. I have to say though – sales is really hard. Unless you have the personality for it or can see if leading to something else (marketing?), it’s just plain hard. But it’s one of the available steady jobs that are out there.

      Do you like writing? Have you tried your hand at picking up freelance writing gigs to see what you think? (This can be lucrative down the road and also be steady. Marketing is extremely creative and a pick part of it is writing.) Maybe look into non profits where — if you don’t necessarily enjoy the job — you can at least be excited about the vision? Or is your organization big enough where you could potentially see yourself filling another role?

  2. Thanks for your feedback!

    I’d also like to have something steady, but I seem to be finding it in the wrong places so far. The company that I work for currently is actually a huge corporation, but much of the other opportunities are ones that I have no interest in. Indeed, the position I have now is one that I don’t really have interest in, but took it up through a temp agency because it was the first one that showed interest. We were in a rough spot so I jumped at the first opportunity that popped up that paid what I was looking for. But as you can see, the sales world is not one I’m adept at.

    I like to write, but don’t have anything to really show for it. A job that I’m currently eyeing up has a bit to do with PR and Marketing, and they’re asking for a writing sample. I want to apply, but in that area I’m empty handed. What do I do? I also think I could and would work for a non-profit doing office work if it’s a non-profit I can stand behind…. the trouble is wondering how much the pay is. Thoughts?

    • Try working on some writing samples. Have a sample press release, blog post (approx 600 words or less), and something else that might be more industry-related. Just write things you like writing about. When they want samples, though, keep in mind that they are really only looking to see you can write well. You might have something you can rework — maybe even a short story of an essay from college.

      I think as far as other jobs go – you just won’t know until you start applying. Some non profits have more money than you’d think. You won’t know until you apply. Maybe just make a goal of applying to one place a month — and only jobs you are really interested in. That might make staying where you are easier for the time being – because you’ll feel like you’re working towards something else.

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