Have You Changed Jobs Too Many Times?
April 28, 2016

Have You Changed Jobs Too Many Times?

by Brian de Haaff

Change is a normal part of life. There is no avoiding it. And some people seem to thrive on change. They are always open to new ideas and better ways to do anything. They are quick with their decisions, and rarely second-guess the ones they do make. And once they decide on a course of action, they never look back.

A willingness to change is an admirable quality in many areas — but not always when it comes to your professional career.

A recent study shows an interesting trend about millennials and job hopping. Those who graduated between 2006-2010 averaged 2.85 jobs in their first five years in the workforce, compared to their Generation X cohorts, who averaged 1.6 job moves. That is almost twice as many jobs.

Some leap from one entire industry to another when they realize their college major is not meant to be their life’s work. Others say that frequently changing jobs is the only way they can progressively earn more money, as their employers drag their feet on pay raises. And some career blogs actually seem to be encouraging the practice.

I understand — you certainly do not want to spend your life in a career that does not make you happy. But here is why I think frequent job hopping can be a problem:

Prevents learning

It takes a year to just learn what you are doing in a new job. But if you are changing jobs every one or two years, you do not have time to learn anything meaningful or mature in your role by taking on additional responsibilities. This may hurt your career growth in the long run.

Shortchanges relationships

One of the most rewarding aspects of work is building camaraderie with a team. But a short tenure at each job will prevent you from developing meaningful relationships with your colleagues. You may grow your list of connections, but forge fewer lasting friendships.

Keeps you shallow

If your eyes are always watching out for the next opportunity, you are not aligned to your employer’s goals, but simply focusing on your own. And when you are always headed for the door, you forfeit the reward of working with a team toward fulfilling a larger vision.

Raises red flags

A resume that lists many jobs within a short time period is bound to raise questions from potential employers. It can be a sign of someone whose career is on fire — or a sign of instability and poor judgment. So, be prepared to explain the job moves and share what you have learned from the experiences.

It is smart to keep an eye on your career and evaluate where you are headed.

So, what is the right number of moves? Well, that depends on who you are and what you are trying to achieve. But if you are constantly jumping from one opportunity to the next, you are potentially missing out on good opportunities right where you are.

There is something to be said for staying put, learning everything you can, and giving your absolute best. If you stick around at one place for long enough, you may be surprised to discover that the work is its own reward.

What is your opinion of job hopping?

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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