*Raises hand* “My name is WritingOne3583, and I am a job-hopper.” Job-hopping is typically defined as changing employers more often than every 1-2 years. We job-hoppers have a lot of negative stereotypes attached to us. We are assumed to be lazy, flighty, and undependable. But is this the reality? And are there any positives to job-hopping?
I’d like to start off by saying that it’s not true “Once a job-hopper, always a job-hopper”. There are many legitimate reasons for job- hopping, and people can find themselves in a position where they become a job-hopper when they’ve never been before. And they can find a dream position or employer where they end up staying the rest of their working career, although they’ve been a job-hopper in the past. In fact, most of the reasons people job-hop are due to situations outside of their control. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons workers job-hop.
People job-hop because companies no longer feel any kind of responsibility towards their employees, and corporate culture since the 80’s has been a “race to the bottom” to see just how much disrespect, abuse, and exploitation workers will take for the smallest amount of monetary compensation possible. Regulations and worker protections have been weakened and all but dismantled. Employees are no longer considered assets to a company, but instead liabilities. Pensions are only a reality in government jobs, with most Americans barely making enough to survive on, let alone being able to save for retirement, though working 40-60 hours a week. The only protections workers have nowadays are granted to those few lucky enough to work for the federal government or in unionized occupations. There are very few federal labor laws protecting private-sector employees. In most cases, employers can fire employees for any reason at all at any time except on the basis of certain federally-protected statuses (but even those protections are pretty much in name only considering it’s nearly impossible to prove when they’ve been violated). This can be a death sentence if unemployed for a while and in a state with few social safety nets. Unsurprisingly, workers who feel devalued are more likely to attempt to leave for elsewhere where they have a chance at being treated better.
We “working class heroes” (which, let’s be honest, with the disappearance of the middle class are pretty much all of us now except for the top ten percent) shouldn’t let ourselves be miserable for any length of time. This is not healthy mentally, emotionally, or physically. Working under a tyrannical boss or one who doesn’t appreciate you or who doesn’t take responsibility for their own shortcomings, will wear on you quickly. We all have one life, and if there are better opportunities available, we would be foolish not to take them.
Different roles/experiences will teach you what you enjoy and allow you to increase your skill set. By working in multiple positions, you are more likely to realize your own strengths and natural talents. Why waste years and years in a role that is a bad fit when you could be working somewhere that is more fulfilling? Developing your skill set could land you in a dream position somewhere you never thought possible.
You can make more money job-hopping. It is common knowledge nowadays that wages have not only stagnated for decades but actually fallen in some areas (especially taking inflation into account). Statistically, an employee’s wages will rise quicker and by a larger increment when that worker switches jobs than when they get a raise from their current employer. And many workers who have worked at the same place for years report not getting a raise at all or only getting a “cost of living” raise to make up for inflation. If you can immediately make more money elsewhere, perhaps even doing the same type of work, it makes good sense to “hop” on over to that new job.
There are some caveats to be aware of before making the decision to job-hop. You want to make sure you are in a position of strength when you leave your current job for a new one. Don’t be impulsive when you leave. Don’t let emotions sway you into making a rash decision. Plan. Make sure you don’t just assume the “grass is greener on the other side”. If so, circumstances might be the same at the new job and you might find yourself discontent once again. It might be wiser to apply for a different position or a promotion at your current employer than to “jump ship” completely. Of course, this probably won’t fix severe issues with communication or the ethics of a company. If the structure is rotten, it is definitely better to look for another employer, as foundational issues will infest the whole workplace at all levels, and you won’t be able to escape it. If possible, leave things amicable with your old employer. That way you can return in the future and won’t have any issues with references. Give a two-week notice.
Are you a job-hopper? If so, has it benefited you or harmed you?