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My client was discussing her thoughts as we worked on her career development plan. In her 5-year plan time graph, she put a spot after 2 years with a legend stating ‘job change’. When I enquired about this, pat came the reply ‘jobs need to be switched within 2 years’. It seems that promotions, salary increases work better with switching jobs and a job switch apparently reflects adaptability with different roles and organizations.

And this ‘job change’ after every 2-3 years is what is termed as job hopping. I really want to explore this concept and the thought process behind this concept. I spoke to a couple of people – Generation X, Millenials, GenZ and here is my overview.

Job-hopping is actually an easy path to a higher salary as it seems that loyalty based promotions and increments take longer and are lessor in value then those doled out for new hires. However, it also seems that bouncing from position to position can be a serious red flag to prospective employers.

On analysis, many people who job hopped were trying to get out of an adverse situation, to “escape” and get away from a seemingly unbearable environment. But at the same time, these people did not think of taking a step back to pause and reflect upon important career questions like, “What do I want to do?” or “What matters to me with respect to work and career?”

The way I see it, if you keep hopping jobs for better salary and money you are bound to end up spent and dissatisfied as you have no idea what you are going towards. And, somewhere in their 40’s these job hoppers hit a plateau. They get into a career rut because they get over-priced for the market and have had no credibility of a track record of stability or results and so in the end, they do not get sought after by anyone.

And, many people do not consider important aspects when they are presented with new positions. Aspects like marketability for themselves.  Is it possible to get paid exceedingly well and yet not gain relevant skills? The shocking answer is ‘yes’!

There are organizations that pay a huge amount of money – but they work with outdated technology, or have a toxic work environment etc. People who join these organizations for money will get burnt out in no time, have mental stress and possible be at the receiving end when these companies become obsolete.

However, if you work in a company which has a toxic work culture – the boss is insulting and demeaning or where people are encouraged to gossip and be political, it would certainly be a necessity to move on. Pay special attention if the company is consistently hiring from the outside rather than promoting from within – that’s a red flag how they value employees.

In today’s uncertain times, job-hopping is certainly more acceptable than before. Industry experts cite the plus points as agility and adaptability. This in no way takes away the fact that the depth of experience that comes only with tenure can be written off as a requirement.

A few recruiters also stated that serial job hopping sends negative signals – lack of commitment, absence of perseverance and possibly a perception that the job hopper tends to bail out when it starts getting tough. The question the job hopper needs to ask is whether the short term gain is worth the long term risk.

So when is job-hopping okay?

It could be okay depending on the stage of the career and the occupation of the person.

With a lot of the youth today, it is expected that they will experiment and go through different careers in the early stages as they will be focused on gaining different experiences and then zero in on the long term career and make a success out of it.  So, it is probably ok to job hop a bit as youngsters try to find their career match, but eventually, they will be expected to settle in.

And, then in some professions, job hopping is actually expected. Look at startups – with no guarantees of stability, people are expected to have a few job hops in their CV’s. And, then there are recruiters who often question professionals in advertising when they do not switch clients or companies every few years, as there’s a concern they’ll lose their edge.

So, hop the job if you are no longer challenged or are undervalued, if you are in a toxic environment or under a bad boss, if you want a more diverse or inclusive environment and if you want to future proof your job.

But before you jump into the job hop band wagon, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you are doing for the right reasons and that can sustain your career in the long run:

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Am I moving to a new opportunity or running away from a situation? If it is the latter, then is the situation/problem fixable?
  2. Are you moving up or just moving around? Is this in line with my long term goals?
  3. Am I looking for more money or greater challenge?
  4. What do I really need in my job to keep me happy?
  5. Is the hop going to add new skills and help me gain new experiences?

To summarize, ‘deliberate’ job hopping, which is well planned and congruent with a strategized career objective, has a positive impact on future career success along with employability quotient and income levels than ‘careless’ job-hopping. It is old fashioned to think of remaining in one job for a life-time, and the focus today is on gaining a versatile skill set, being agile and gaining different experiences. So job hopping is not something to condone, the success lies in doing it strategically. So make that move a planned move.

I am happy to assist any of my readers on queries regarding this and delighted to have a conversation on the subject too if it intrigues some of you. Do reach me through DM.

If you’re a professional / student / or simply someone who wants to achieve greater heights in their career, we provide customized & professional solutions that helps build your strong career growth path at workplace & you never have to look back in your career trajectory with regret. Talk to us – happy to help!

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