I get job hopping; I’ve done it a few times myself. One particular career move of mine into a very niche, scientific industry proved disastrous. I was at my job for 5 months and fled back to my old position (I was lucky they welcomed me back!) Another place I worked for ran out of money, time, and patience, and the start-up effectively closed much more quickly than I expected.
Job-hopping seems to be the new norm, especially in our current economic climate: businesses shut down or are acquired, jobs are consolidated and lost, and new opportunities arise daily. Brazen Careerist, makes a good point when they challenge us to rethink our definition of job hopping:
[Job hopping] ends up being the best way to propel…careers forward. [Hoppers] switch frequently because it’s fairly easy to move around when you’re young, and they want to make sure they’re in a job that challenges them and rewards their talents. To achieve that, you have to try things out and learn about yourself and different work environments.
These people who’ve had four different jobs over six years — or whatever the case may be — aren’t carelessly “job hopping,” they’ve elected to undergo a “professional pivot.” So we should call it that.
There are certainly a variety of reasons to look for a new job, many of which are completely justified. As much as I agree with the above statement, I’d like to make a case for longevity, which I define as 3-5 years with a company. Longevity allows for many things to happen including deeper growth and development that doesn’t always happen in the first two years at a role. As we rise through our careers, our responsibilities oftentimes become more complicated, and it can take some time to grasp politics, personalities, expectations, and industry standards that aren’t always immediately evident after the initial 1-2 years at a company.
Longevity at a job can also feel like it’s based on generational demographics. Our parents were fiercely loyal to their companies, and with good reason. They were provided significant incentives and pensions for sticking with a job for a long period of time. Today, the average worker stays in a job 4.6 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which still feels like quite awhile to those of us who are regularly seeking something new.
In reflecting on your job, consider your learning curve and how long it took you to actually learn your role and get comfortable with your position. Now consider if you still have room to continue that learning, and get even better at your job. Chances are, after 1-2 years, there is still room for growth and improvement. During this time, we develop in our maturity, grow our network and bumble through ever crucial trials, mistakes, obstacles. Leaving a company before we’ve had time to confront these and many other issues may sometimes mean cutting short our full experience.
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