We’re in the gig economy and its all jobs on jobs on jobs.
Today’s workforce sees a mix of boomers, generation X, generation Y, and millennials. With this diversity comes change. For example, job hopping. Switching jobs has less of a stigma today than it did years ago.
This is of course, partly due to the economic instability, but it’s also a change in mindset. The traditional, loyal employee is no longer the poster boy/girl in today’s offices. Employers are more open to contract hires, part-timers, outsourcing and even hiring professionals who are rejoining the workforce.
Moving on may be the new norm but as for how it’s perceived in the industry, you’re in? The jury is still split.
Discover your professional purpose
There are some of us who have our entire career mapped out even before we’ve signed that first employment letter. Some of us started on shaky ground (bad hiring season probably) and some of us don’t quite have that 5 years (or 10) all figured out. Enter the beauty of job hopping. As you spend more time in different environments, you’ll figure out what constitutes as meaningful work for you. It’s a process of self-discovery that happens with experience and time.
Diversify your skill set
Working in different companies not only exposes you to different work cultures, processes and people, it helps you build up your tolerance for change. For employers, that’s a good thing. It means you’ll be less likely to be caught saying something like, “but this is how it was always done” when they try to introduce a new process.
Today’s worker bee needs to wear different hats, you can’t just be good at sales, you’ve got be able to do marketing as well. You can’t just write good copy, you’ve got to able to take pictures or design or shoot videos. If you’ve grasped the basic understanding of HTML? All the better.
Job hopping enables you to pick up different skills, learn new (perhaps even better) processes and gain exposure in dealing with technology and people, even during a short stint. The point is, you’ll be able to apply these skills for your next job.
If you’ve got a solid explanation for your job hopping (how it’s all part of a clear career plan), then this shows potential employers that you are adaptable. The world today is moving faster than ever, and to keep up you’ve got to be open to change. The quicker you’re able to adapt and master new processes, the better you’ll look to your bosses.
Expand your network
Sometimes it’s not just what you know, it’s who you know that matters as well. In this case, job hopping helps you expand your professional network. It’s not just to increase the number of connections you have on LinkedIn, it’s more of a foundation of people you can count on should you need professional advice/insight or maybe even a heads up for a new gig.
Expanding your network not only widens your pool of people to learn from, it exposes you to different facets of your industry and/or other industries. This type of expansion doesn’t happen as fast when you’ve been in the same company for the last 5 years or so.
Keep things fresh
If you’ve got a case of the career blues (where everything feels monotonous), job hopping can be seen as an opportunity to add some variety or to rekindle your passion for what you do. We all want to be excited about the work that we do. The dream is to find something that’s meaningful, challenging, satisfying and exciting. While you’re in pursuit of that via job hopping, you’re learning what works for you (as far as job scope and culture goes) and what doesn’t.
Lack of loyalty
Job hopping is not without its setbacks. Spend too short of a time at a certain company and you’re more likely to raise a red flag. While employers are more open to part-time hires and a high turnover rate is normal in some industries, extensive job hopping shows a lack of loyalty. And this, in turn, makes potential employers question if they should invest their time and resources preparing you for the role if you’re going to leave a year down the line.
Lack of professionalism
Job hop too much (or for the wrong reasons) and you could be seen as unprofessional to certain recruiters and potential employers. This is about taking and not really giving back. While it’s important to look out for yourself, it’s also important to create value for the teams that you join.
When your contributions are merely on the surface, it makes you seem unqualified for the role. To avoid this, it’s important to demonstrate your ability to produce results no matter how long you decide to stay.
Tip: Don’t leave before you’ve gotten value.
Less likely to establish credibility
How can you develop a track record when you don’t stick around long enough? It may be harder for you to establish your credibility for certain positions when the only track record you have is for job hopping. This may be construed as indecisiveness by potential employers.
How do you tackle this? Be honest and offer an explanation for short work stints. Show the interviewer/recruiter that the skills and experience you’ve gained are relevant to your role and can be useful for the company.
Which side of the job hop fence do you relate to?
It is important to remember that people are paving their own path to career success. Just because some choose to start over (maybe more than once), it doesn’t mean that they aren’t as committed to professional excellence as the next candidate. Plus, “smooth seas don’t make skilful sailors.”
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