Job Hopping: Yea or Nay?

Job HoppingLadies, let’s talk about job hopping: Do you view it as the only way to get ahead? Do you worry about being viewed negatively if you’ve had too many jobs in too short a time? What do you think is the minimum time to stay in one job?  

In the recent past, job hopping was universally seen as negative. It was said to make employers question your commitment and reliability, and job hunters were often advised not to include short-term positions on their resumes and to stay a certain length of time at jobs they hated to avoid tarnishing their employment history.

The GenXers and Baby Boomers among us — especially those with parents who stayed at one company for their entire careers (can you imagine that today?) — may still have a negative impression of frequent job changers. In the last few years, though, the news has been full of headlines reflecting an evolution in how short-term jobs are viewed. Articles that wonder if job hopping is “losing its negative stigma” or “losing its bad rap” and those that give tips on how to change jobs “strategically”  are just a few examples. While job hopping isn’t exactly welcomed by employers, surveys and studies have shown a change in attitudes, especially among Millennials, about switching jobs more frequently. Check out these representative stats:

  • More than half (55 percent) of employers surveyed said they have hired a job-hopper and nearly one-third (32 percent) of all employers said they have come to expect workers to job-hop.” — CareerBuilder survey
  • “Ninety-one percent of Millennials … expect to stay in a job for less than three years.” — Future Workplace survey
  • “[T]he majority (57 percent) of young workers (ages 18-34) said they thought changing jobs every few years was the right strategy.” — Robert Half survey
  • “41% of baby boomers believe that people should stay in their jobs for at least five years before looking for a new role. Another 21% say between four and five years. But among people born between 1982 and 2002, a full 26% believe that you should start looking for something new before a year is up. Only 13% say more than five years.” — PayScale survey

A few more questions for the readers: Do you think your view on job hopping reflects your age? Are you planning to stay at your current employer for a long time, or are you looking for a new job right now? For those who are managers: Would you hire someone who has changed jobs a lot?

Psst: check out our previous discussions on how to resign gracefully, as well as our best tips on interviewing

Further reading


job hopping ramifications


  1. Yes, I think my own progression has reflected my age though I think I’m even more loyal than typical. I’ve worked for the same company for 20 years, and I only had two jobs before that, one for eight years. I hopped from my first job after only a year and a bit because they were underpaying me.

    I have a friend about 10 years younger than me who has a string of one- to four-year stints on his resume because he was always changing jobs to attain higher compensation/title. His most recent job was one where he thought he’d stay longer but was unfortunately let go in a sizeable round of layoffs having nothing to do with his performance. Unfortunately, he’s having a hard time finding a job now because potential employers look at his history and think there must be a problem. I’ve been giving references for him and it’s something I am always asked about.

  2. What the [email protected] is wrong about moving to a new job that offers better employment or working experiences??? If a company cannot offer you permanent employment, then why should you promise to work for them for the rest of your life? To the Anon above, it’s not like your friend is moving to a new job every six months, and there are many “Stepford Employees” who have loyally labored for their employer for decades, and when they are abruptly laid off they have problems because potential employers see them as people who many not deal with change well. You should counsel your friend to frame all of his job moves as strategic moves to get into another industry, be given more responsibility ect (tell him to not discuss the more money issue) and he will probably be ok. Additonally, if he has any skills transferrable to the tech sector, that is a sector that is more forgiving of job jumpers

    • Calm down. This is my friend. I’m giving him references so obviously I think highly of him.

      The REALITY of his situation (vs your opinion) is that he’s been unemployed for 6 months, has come on second or third on several opportunities and I know for a fact that his past job-hopping has been viewed unfavorably because that is mainly what I’ve been asked about in the reference conversations. He’s a 40 year old guy who has worked for 8 different companies.

      I’m not saying the companies are right to look at it that way, and agree that they have no loyalty to their employees, but this is real life. Unfortunately they hold all the cards when it’s time to find a new job.

      We work in finance, not tech.

    • As someone that built out and hired a whole team over the last 2 years, I wouldn’t interview someone if they had jumped around a lot, which I considered ~2 to 3 years as jumping around. There were plenty of qualified people that hadn’t jumped around (all millennials). I don’t want to spend time developing and training someone if I know they are likely going to leave in a year or 2. If I had received a strong personal recommendation from someone I trust, then I would interview them, but they would have to prove they are substantially better than the other candidates for me to consider them.

      I also work in finance and am on the cusp between Gen X and millennial.

      • Anonymous :

        Same here.

      • Anonymous Preggo :

        Would it matter to you what their reasons were for changing jobs? (See my post below.) Having changed jobs a lot, but mostly wishing I hadn’t had to, I’m wondering if it makes a difference.

        In my previous career, I would have stayed much longer at the job I was in if it were at all compatible with my personal life. But in the last 3 years, every team I’ve joined has had major flaws…almost all were reorganized and had leadership and mission changes; despite trying to create my own work or forging relationships across the company to try to get more work, I’ve ended up sitting idle a lot of the time; and now in two cases there have been major interpersonal issues. I know that when things like this happen, it seems sensible to look at the common denominator (i.e. me), but almost all the advice I got in the positions that I left (which were at a Fortune 10, a Fortune 250, and now a small company) was that the situation was unsalvageable.

        I’m starting to wonder if it’s my specialty, which is relatively new and there aren’t a lot of established processes for utilizing it.

        • anon-oh-no :

          this wouldn’t change my mind. How do I know this job you are now applying for will be “compatible with your personal life” or that there wont again be “interpersonal” problems. Certainly in law, but in a lot of fields, many people consider it too risky or too time consuming to hire someone who is a “job hopper”

          • +1, and I’m in specialized finance. Job hoppers often get passed over at the resume-review stage.

          • Anonymous Preggo :

            Makes sense to me, just wondering if the specifics mattered.

            Just for clarity, the career change due to my personal life was because my DH was on the opposite coast of me, and I got pregnant. We had been doing a LD marriage which was rough enough, but LD parenting was not an option we’d consider. I was able to find a job near him, he was not able to find one near me…in interviews I’ve focused on the career change (which was substantial) more than the personal issue, though. Regardless, it may or may not be obvious from my resume what happened aside from city of employment.

            I’ve never left a job due to interpersonal issues specifically, though in my current one it’s very tempting to do so. My last boss was basically abusive (acknowledged by a lot of people), and I was trying to get off of her team. Toward the end I was also asked by her to do something unethical, and possibly illegal, and I refused. Since it was around the time of restructuring and massive layoffs, I took a severance package instead of trying to find a new place to go. Boss was effectively fired, though they publicly allowed her to resign (she’s high profile in a particular sector of my current industry).

            From the comments, I’m doubtful if the above two things matter, but just pointing out the specific details.

  3. SA-litagor :

    I’m in my early 30’s and I’ve always worked for small to midsize law firms. I had a 3 year year stint, followed by two 1 year job stints on my resume and I was definitely worried about the stigma. It didn’t matter (although I’m a good job market) and I got a great job now, that I’ve been at for 2 years and counting. So I honestly think it depends on the market and the industry. This is not a question with a one size fits all answer.

    • I agree with SA litigator. I also am in my MID 30’s and have also worked in small places, tho the first place was not as a lawyer, tho I did have to sign affidavids that I served supeenies under the NYCPLR. I would gladly have left early if I had a better job, but had to wait and get my tuchus squeezed any number of times by the boss (who looked like Louis Depalma in Taxi) before I met the manageing partner in the building while I was on the job serveing supeenies. So I say move whenever there is a good opportunity b/c you NEVER know when OR IF there will be another one. I was lucky, b/c if not, I would STILL be serveing supeenies to this day, and would still be getting my tuchus pinched by the boss. DOUBEL FOOEY!

  4. If you want to be a partner in a law firm, don’t job hop.

    11-year associate on her 5th firm now working for partners who graduated from law school 2 years after her.

    • Really curious as to why, especially given that associate compensation tends to be lockstep. Care to share any details?

      • When you start at a new firm they typically bring you on at a “lower” class year. So a 2010 grad might be brought on as a 2011 or 2012 grad. Which means they get the level of work for the class year they’re in. If you do that enough, it makes it really hard to get work/responsibility in line with your actual experience because each firm consistently worked you like you were less experienced and you never move forward in terms of work/responsibility/project management.

      • It takes time to build the kind of relationships you need to make partner. Partnership typically boils down to three things you can sort of control*: substantive experience, ability to develop a book, and whether the current partners want to be business partners with you. All of these things require a bunch of strong mentors who trust you and are willing to put their reputations on the line to help you advance.

        *The fourth is the financial strength of the firm that year, which isn’t something you can remotely control.

      • At my firm, if you’re a lateral associate hire you can’t even be considered for partner without having been here for at least 2 years (maybe even three, but that seems like a bit much). Part of it is that they really value the firm’s culture and want to be sure that someone understands what that culture means before being asked to join the partnership.

      • Sorry, should have clarified – I was more curious about why so many firms, since there’s not really much of a compensation difference that could draw you from one to the other. Was it because of location changes, fit, different opportunity, etc.? I am just wondering because I’ve made one move for lifestyle reasons and that was hard enough!

        • I’m at my fourth firm and in the same shoes as the OP. Switched from Biglaw1 to Biglaw2 because I changed practice areas and Biglaw1 (a smaller satellite office) did not have the practice area I was switching into. Switched from Biglaw2 to In-house because it was in-house. Got laid off from in-house position so went to Midlaw1 because I couldn’t get a Biglaw position duing the rescession. Midlaw1 was supposed to put me up in 2-3 years, but their best clients either went belly up or merged out of existence, which left the group extremely slow and when things are slow, no one wants to make someone partner and further split the pie. Now, I’m at Midlaw2 as a super senior associate.

  5. Millennial Falcon :

    I am a millennial who believes that companies that show zero loyalty to their employees deserve zero loyalty from their employees. If companies want to treat their employees like fungible products, than they should recognize that they are also replaceable.

    My husband (a gen X-er) loves his company. Worked there for 10 years. Then they started bringing on new grads into his position/title for a higher salary. He unsuccessfully tried to negotiate raises for 3 years to catch him up to the entry level salary they were paying new grads. What ended up working? He left. Went to a competitor. Spent a couple years there. And then came back. His re-hire salary is 50% more than he was making 2 y ears ago. But in those interim years the company lost his institutional knowledge, leadership and productivity.

    Situations like this are why millennials don’t see their employment situation as being for-life. Because companies don’t see their employees are being for-life.

    • ScoobySnax :

      This how I trend and without any background knowledge, a look at my full resume would paint me as a job hopper. Two years at a large firm out of LS, two years in government, a move to a new state where I didn’t work for a while, worked somewhere that was a terrible fit for 6 months, then did some odd jobs, then worked at a company for under a year that I discovered has serious ethical and legal issues (which is what caused me to jump), then a move back to my previous state. I’ve been at my current place of employment over a year and I have no plans to move in the near term. I didn’t have a problem explaining my job moves in my interviews and apparently, it wasn’t so much of a big deal to the people interviewing me here (I received an offer for two different positions within the company).

      I will say however, that the company horrifically low-balled me salary-wise, which made me feel less than appreciated (I had already worked here prior to being extended a FT perm position). I negotiated a higher starting salary, but it’s still under market. That has been confirmed by the data HR was not supposed to send to me and by folks in the legal department who know what my salary is (I am not in the legal department). I received a small raise after 6 months (I did not ask for that one) and I plan to ask for another one at the end of this FY. I’ve only had excellent reviews and supposedly, “[I] have a bright future at XYZ company.”

      TLDR – my company under pays when they can get away with it, they pay a lot of lip service to investing in employees on webcasts and such but it’s really only for certain employees, they have no issue laying off people who are a year or two away from retirement and who have been with the company for 20+ years, so while I enjoy my job and like the immediate people I work with, I would have no issue taking a position that pays better (after advocating for and not receiving a raise here) and offers advancements that my current position doesn’t. I know the company won’t protect me at the end of the day, so I have to protect myself and do what’s best for me.

      • Likewise, if it’s clear that you are putting your own self interest ahead of the company’s, it kind of makes sense for them to take that into consideration when hiring: this person might be the best candidate but always seems to jump ship in a year or two, or this person who is not quite as good but also very qualified and seems to stay at a job for at least 3-5 years.

  6. Diana Barry :

    Totally depends on industry. I am in a small firm and we don’t look kindly on job hopping (or, more commonly, positions as contract attorneys). My younger relatives in tech take new jobs every year, it seems, with no consequences. They also often hold more than one job at a time, esp if at startups.

    • There’s a big difference between job hopping and working as a contract attorney, no?

      • Diana Barry :

        I guess we usually see both – like contract attorney for 1 year after working someplace else for 2 years. Management likes to see people who worked for firms for 2+ years not as a contract attorney. This holds even if the firm at which the person worked as a contract attorney is way more prestigious (like biglaw vs 2 person shop around town). It is odd.

        • I see that as a function of the legal profession’s snobbery more than a bias against job-hopping though. It was widely accepted at the big (prestigious) firm where I worked that coming in as a contract or staff attorney basically black listed you from ever becoming an associate there. Even though if you had worked at a markedly less prestigious firm, or even a two person shop, but as an associate, you’d at least have a shot.

  7. Anonymous Preggo :

    I’m in my late 30s, so predisposed to think that job-hopping is bad…but situationally it’s what I’ve ended up doing. I have a STEM PhD, but transitioned to a very different line of work via a fellowship a bit over a year into my post-doctoral research position (this transition doesn’t seem to raise too many flags, though). For personal reasons, I’ve moved back into doing technical work, but over the last 3 years I’ve had a rough time finding a good fit and am now on my third job in 3 years…which is really frustrating to me! Not to mention, my time in my previous “career” was less than 5 years and involved a job change (fellowship to a permanent position) as well.

    I could frame my first transition in my current “career” jobs as strategic, since it was a huge title and salary bump…but then I got laid off. That job had become unbearable due to a basically abusive boss, but I was trying to transition to another team rather than leaving when the company basically fell apart. I probably could have managed to stay, but accepting 6 mos severance felt like the better option. After that was the first time I got asked about my job hops, and even though the employer seemed okay with my answers, I didn’t get the job…so who knows. I really regret taking my current job, which is absolutely awful…seriously, my only teammate/colleague refuses now to even speak/email with me, and we are remote employees so I can’t go to his office or anything. I don’t see how I can salvage this situation since my boss is not interested in helping out, which means I’ll now have a less than 1 year job on my resume after having had a 1.5 yr and not quite 1 yr stint.

    I honestly don’t know what to do…so it’s a little relieving to hear the above statistics. For myself, though, I would like to find a job where I can stay for a while just because to me that’s more pleasant. But since moving to my current industry, this just seems impossible to do :( My only saving grace is that I’m in silicon valley, so job hopping is more the norm here.

  8. I think that much of this is industry-specific as well. I work in insurance and see individuals at all seniority levels/ages switching companies pretty regularly. Some leave to follow a senior leader that they respect, to create career opportunities, because they’ve lost faith in management or just for more cash. In contrast, my husband works for a large equipment manufacturer. He has changed roles inside the same company multiple times, but jumping from company to company is pretty rare among his colleagues.

  9. Young Lawyer :

    I think it depends on profession and area, as others have said. I’ve actually been thinking about this a bit lately, as I am coming up on one year at my first job as an attorney. My midsized firm is the best in the region for what we do but very, very much underpays. I love my job other than a couple things (other than overworked/lack of admin, which we’re working on, nothing major) but it’d be nice to be paid appropriately. To give context, other firms do pay more in this specialty, just aren’t as well respected.

    I think law and finance tend to be fields where jumping is not a good thing other than at certain points.

  10. Wildkitten :

    My white male domestic partner changes jobs at least once per year and significantly increases his compensation and responsibility each time. So, n=1, it’s worked well for him. He’s not a lawyer.

    I’ve never even had the opportunity to make this decision.

    • I may be verging on having changed jobs too often… but I make $20-30k more than the friends who joined the same organization in 2011 and stayed put. I left, went private sector, and came back into a related government org at a much better salary.

      A lot of baby boomers aren’t retiring (aging better, lost portfolios, etc, etc.) and I think the job-hopping issue is leveraged to punish/diminish people who notice there’s not as much upward mobility within certain organizations as there used to be.

    • MissDisplaced :

      Unfortunately, I do think sexism rears its ugly head with regard to job hopping.
      With men, this is seen as being ambitious, with women… flighty. Sad but true.

  11. Amberwitch :

    The sweet spot for me is 3-5 years. In general, I prefer to change every 2-3 years, but to cultivate a good looking CV, I usually hang in there at least to the three year mark.
    Staying a lot longer than 5 years in a firm – unless you can show that your role has changed substantially – makes you seem stagnated.
    I’m in IT, and I am transitioning into a new job pretty much om the three year mark this summer.

    When I hire, I will overlook some short jobs, but unless there are some longer stretches as well, I will dig into it during the interview.

    • “Staying a lot longer than 5 years in a firm – unless you can show that your role has changed substantially – makes you seem stagnated.”

      THIS. I stayed at one place for 11 years, & it’s become a black mark on my resume that I’m struggling to overcome.

  12. This conversation is useless without a definition of “job hopping.” My grandfather would have considered *any* move “job hopping.” My mother would probably consider it job hopping to move after less than 5-6 yrs. I’ve been in each of my jobs about 2-3 yrs and never considered myself a job hopper. But I think it also depends on the norms in the industry/city you’re in. As an attorney in DC, I think moving every 3-5 yrs is totally, 100% normal, with more moves and shorter stints early in your career.

    As an aside, I remember seeing the resume of a 60ish attorney awhile back and being stunned. She had her college, law school, government agency junior position, and same agency same position but no longer “junior” and that was it. A 40 year career with essentially one job title. No one in my cohort (just shy of 40 yrs old, so cusp of Xers/Millenials) has a resume like that.

    • I am afraid of this mentality. I like to stick around, and have one longish (3-5 years) stint in a related job pre-LS, and one longish stint (3-5) as my current job (in-house attorney). I would be here for 5-10 years, ideally, but I feel like this will come across as unambitious or stagnant to any future employer (if I decide to go from industry to government or firm). I *hate* job-hopping/changing jobs because I have always worked for really complex organizations and enjoy the opportunity to gain institutional knowledge, become invaluable to an organization, and cultivate long-lasting professional relationships with mentors, underlings, etc. Unfortunately I see this quality as a negative, especially among my peers who will likely be hiring me one day.

      • Anonymous Preggo :

        I posted above, and your ideal is certainly not my reality…but I actually agree with you. I would love to find a place I could stay for 5-10 years. I can say for myself, when I’ve been involved on the recruiting end, I don’t look at that as an issue unless there was no career advancement. My DH has been with his company just shy of 9 yrs, and he’s probably been promoted faster than anyone who started with him. Now, his industry isn’t very large, so there aren’t too many places he could go anyway…but he’s gotten a substantial title bump every 1-2 years, and he’s one of the youngest Managing Directors in the company (and on the highest profile team). I can’t see this hurting him if he ever wants to move jobs.

        I’ve heard that for women, advancement is easier when you stay in the same place.

        • I see a difference between having several positions of increasing responsibility within the same organization and having the same job for 10+ years. Also, it’s often the case that an organization just doesn’t have room for a person to grow. I know plenty of people who moved because the people above them weren’t going anywhere and moving to a new employer was the only way to progress in their careers.

          • Anonymous Preggo :

            Yeah, this makes a lot of sense…and I agree. I might not reject a resume out-of-hand, though, because sometimes roles/responsibilities grow while your title doesn’t change. This was the case with the government agency I used to work at. People could hold that job title for 30 years+, but they would’ve had several grade level promotions as well as increased responsibilities. I don’t think this is the norm, though.

          • Agree with you both, TBK and Preggo – I would generally look at their list of achievements/responsibilities and see if that lines up with what I would expect for someone with their years of experience.

  13. Anonymous :

    It really depends on the reason for the move. If you’re in big- or midlaw, one lateral move is sort of expected. Two lateral moves starts to raise eyebrows. I don’t know any associates who’ve successfully made more than two purely lateral moves. Even at the partnership level, it’s frowned upon to move more than once every 5 years.

    But if you’re switching practice areas or types of firms, that seems to be viewed differently. Lots of people move to boutique firms or in house. That’s not really lateral so much as a mini-career change.

  14. It really does depend on industry. I’m 45 and I work in IT. I’ve been laid off multiple times. Companies don’t value me so I need to keep moving.

    I’ve been in the workforce for 21 years. I’ve worked for 10 different companies. I’ve been with my current employer for almost 4 years, but I was at my last employer for only 4 months because they decided to close their North American offices…

    It’s the nature of the industry. Not only are there layoffs, but companies fold…

  15. I’m started off in government contracting, where job-hopping could have a couple definitions (loyalty to the government agency vs loyalty to the company). There was a major generational difference in that many of the older folks had been either supporting the same customer or with the company for 10+ years, but the under-30 set was a lot more fluid. I worked for the same company for 8 years, but for a couple of different customers, one for 3 years, one for 5. In the 5-year stint, I went through about 4 different roles in different departments. I struggled with how to represent this on my resume so that it doesn’t look like job-hopping at a glance, but ultimately I moved to a more traditional private sector role. I’ve been here 2 years, am happy with it, and there’s good growth potential within the company, so I’ll probably stay until there’s a reason to leave.

    I actually switched companies a year into supporting the second customer, but ended up hating the new job/company, and came right back within a couple months. I leave that off my resume, although I obviously would include it in a more formal employment history. I got a huge raise that was matched when I returned but not before I left, even though I did give them the opportunity, so I’m convinced that “hop” was crucial to getting fairly compensated.

    I think 3-5 years is totally normal. Even less is typical in my industry (IT), but I would have questions about a long string of 1-year stints.

  16. WestCoast Lawyer :

    I recently interviewed a candidate for a role in APAC. On her resume, after each position, she had a line that indicated the “reason for leaving.” I don’t know if this is typical in that region (I’ve never seen it in the US), but it helped put a number of her moves in context, which I really appreciated.

    • Anonymous :

      Putting a reason for leaving is the norm in Japan at least. Most people just write something generic like ‘left to pursue next opportunity.’

    • MissDisplaced :

      I use it to explain if the company went out of business (layoff due to company close) and/or a series of short-term or part-time jobs while in school.
      I’ve worked for a number of startups. Layoff due to company close sounds a hell of a lot better than just being let go.

  17. My DH made one lateral move 3 years after graduation, and he went in-house 2 years after that. I think if the in-house opportunity hadn’t come up, he would have stayed and (hopefully) made partner at that firm because he liked it a lot.

    I (non-attorney) have been with the same company for 6 years, but have held 3 different job titles. I actually do feel a sense of loyalty toward my current employer. It’s a huge company, so if I wanted to take my career in a different direction, I would prefer to look inside first. However, I agree with some previous comments regarding salary. I have a few coworkers who left for other opportunities, got big pay increases, and ended up coming back at a higher pay grade than myself despite less overall experience.

  18. I think the number of hops matters as well as circumstances. I have seen people switch jobs for a practice group they’d like better but then switch again within 2 years or so because the person they ended up working for is a “special” personality (very common in law). Or, could be that the person switched jobs and the second firm doesn’t have a great partnership path for that person’s practice group. Or maybe the comp isn’t lock step and the switch is to improve comp. Not all law firms are lock step. Similarly, working at 2 firms then moving to an in-house or government position seems normal to me. Finally, if the person got a job, then lateraled and then had a spouse get transferred all within a short window, that also doesn’t raise eyebrows.

    I start to get suspicious if I see 3+ job changes with each job lasting less than 3 years. I begin to think that the hopping is due to less than stellar performance. The person switches to get ahead of poor performance. But 2 jobs lasting less than 3 years each followed by a third move is normal in the DC law market.

  19. I am still within three years of graduating law school and I had to job hop to find the right firm/practice group for me. I’m going to be starting at my third firm next month, one I targeted and hope to work for for the long haul. So I’m obviously in favor of hopping.

    My logic is, if you do it strategically, and gain responsibilities/pay with each move (more than lateral), then if you hit a point where you have too many short term positions on your resume and you’re not as hire-able (assuming you’re not laid off) you are still in the most optimal job possible. Obviously this theory has its risks, but as I said if you’re strategic and do it carefully, I see no reason why you shouldn’t job hop up up up with as much alacrity as possible.

    I have worked with some amazing co-workers and I have felt emotional leaving them, but the company? No. My employment is at-will. By definition they can fire me with almost no regard. They don’t give me a pension, or a contract. I consider that a two way street. Jobs are a business agreement, not a personal relationship.

  20. I wanted to add too, that the other end of the spectrum is just as bad if not worse. Skills become outdated and stale. People get complacent and settle for stable instead of pursuing something greater. And that is fine, careers and climbing the ladder are more important to some than others. But I’ve seen people who hated a job stay in it way too long, and that is not a pretty picture and reflects that you may not be very marketable.

  21. I’m in management of technically oriented/chemical related businesses. While I see a lot of people moving after 2-3 years, recently I’ve seen a number of friends who move to new jobs and arrest either fired or decide the fit is bad and move on in a few months. The most recent was the person lasting 3 weeks-seems to me a symptom of something very wrong in the hiring process.

    • MissDisplaced :

      Well I did that! I accepted a job I thought I really wanted. After 2 weeks in, I realized the job was not at all as described, and the manager was a jerk who micromanaged while giving the old doublespeak about how he wanted someone to be independent. When another job I had interviewed for called me at the 3 week mark with an offer that was DOUBLE the salary, I jumped out of that job quickly and with little notice.
      Bridge burned, but do I care? Not really.

      The thing I don’t get is this. Companies do this ALL THE TIME. They are always looking for bigger, better, deal with employees. They fire at will. But when employees have the audacity to do the same, they are dammed for it? WHY? Isn’t this supposed to be free market capitalism?

  22. gingersnap :

    Ugh. I worry about being perceived as a jobhopper, even though I’m a fresh doctoral grad. I held a variety of 1 semester-1.5 year research study coordinator/research assistant/evaluation assistant positions in grad school, depending on what projects had money. And I worry that I don’t fit into midlevel or entrylevel positions, and that I’m never going to find a job that will let me use that shiny new (public health) degree. Because of too much moving around in grad school, or going to grad school in the first place, or who knows.

    • Profesora :

      This is totally normal for anyone doing PhD hiring. Don’t be concerned.

      As usual, Academia is also very different in norms re: job hopping.

  23. MissDisplaced :

    I’m a serial job hopper.
    I feel I would have NEVER advanced in my career if I hadn’t job hopped. I do not feel this hurts me.
    My overall feeling is that life is too short to stay somewhere you hate, HOP if you must. However, not all my bounces were great and the grass is not always greener. Live and learn. Also, some of my bounces were forced by layoffs, downsizing and a cross-country move.

    What I have noticed is that the negative view of job hopping is directly influenced by where you live. When I was in a large West coast city, a negative view of hopping was minimal, in fact, in my field it was pretty darn normal to change jobs within 2-3 years. But after moving to a smaller East coast city, being a job hopper has a more negative impact with the hiring managers as people tend to stay in jobs for 5-10 years or more! I can only imagine that the more conservative the region, the more negative job hopping is perceived.

    It is also still sad but true that sexism still reigns. Men who job hop and move up the ladder are seen as being “ambitious,” while women who do so are perceived as being “flighty” or “unstable.” If you do tend to job hop, make sure it is always for bigger and better and increased duties and advancement, and never for lateral moves.

  24. I stayed at my first professional job for 5 years and had no intention of leaving. It was a big OEM with great benefits. Unfortunately the industry ranked in 2008. I left that job and ever since then have stayed at places 2 years max. I really don’t want to job hop that often but unfortunately in manufacturing companies that are not big OEMs women have no advancement opportunities and are treated like crap. I would love to stay somewhere a long time, but companies just don’t treat employees that great in this industry so you see a lot of turnover.

  25. I was a serial job hopper in my 20s. I think it both helped and hindered my career. I was able to transition from museum curator to a senior roll at a tech start-up (with some rough spots in between). When I hire for my department, I’m cautious about hiring job hoppers (people with less shorter than 3 year stints, especially with no internal promotions). When candidates say that the job they hopped from wasn’t what the expected or that there were deep organizational issues or personal reasons for their changes, I can be persuaded. I will give a hard pass on candidates who say that they learned everything that there was to learn on the job in less than 2 years. Even if your job is watching paint dry, I need to see some interest in personal advancement.

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