Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Job Hopping May Have Consequences

It’s not uncommon these days for an employee to leave a current job for greener pastures. No one faults a person for taking another position that offers more money, greater prestige or bigger opportunities.

But what if this same employee takes the new job after being in a current position for only six months? Does the move still sound reasonable? Or, does it perhaps seem unprofessional, selfish and ungrateful?

That’s the fine line that many workers must walk when they receive another job offer soon after taking a new job. While no one would probably fault the worker who left after two years of employment, leaving a new position after less than a year may have long-term consequences.

For example, say you have three jobs within a two-year span. Somewhere in that job-hopping scenario, a boss or co-workers may begin to wonder why you aren't more committed to a job. Could you be difficult to work with? Only focused on your own goals instead of those of the company or the team? Are you switching jobs because you can’t (or won’t) do the work assigned?

While jumping to any conclusions may be unfair, if you switch jobs too quickly and too often, you can risk looking unstable professionally and personally. Further, leaving a new job too soon also may not be of any benefit to you at all.

Specifically, jumping ship without giving a current employer a chance to show you what’s available career-wise may put you in a worse position down the road. Maybe you're not getting a promotion simply because you haven't been with the company long enough. But instead of giving it more time to see what the future holds, you leave for another position.

Again, the opportunities you want don’t materialize right away because you're new and must earn your stripes. If you had stayed with the former job, might the boss now be ready to give you those new opportunities you so keenly desired?

Further, keep in mind that even if you are not completely satisfied with a current position, it doesn’t mean an exit from the job is necessary in order to be happy. If you can prove to the boss that you are a hard worker and dedicated to improving the company’s bottom line, then that boss might be much more willing to work with you on getting the desired job within the company. By showing your loyalty and commitment in staying put, you can make the boss an ally in helping create a job that fulfills everyone’s expectations.

If you're contemplating leaving a job after only a short time, here are some other things to consider:

• Focus on long-term goals. If a current position doesn’t help in any way to meet future career plans, then it may be time to simply move on. If you want to someday be a veterinarian, it doesn’t make much sense to stay in a job selling advertising if you've been offered a job in a vet’s office.
• Understand your passion. Sometimes people job hop because they don’t understand that the reason they’re unhappy is not the employer – it’s the job. If you love working outside, but continue to accept jobs that keep you indoors all day, then you're going to be unhappy.
• Absolute deal-breakers. If you're working at any company where there is something illegal going on, or feel that the boss or the business environment is unethical, then don't hesitate to look for another job as soon as possible.



Anonymous said...

I wonder what the leading cause of Job Hopping is right now. Salary Negotiation? Bosses that are hard to agree with? What are your thoughts?

~Kylie, Web Producer

thomsinger said...

Good points, but sometimes people just get into a situation where they are not a good fit for job or the culture. Over three years ago I left a job I loved for a better opportunity financially. The new boss was a disaster who would gladly throw others under the bus to save himself. The whole place was dysfunctional. It took me three years and three other jobs to find a place where I fit in and loved going to work.

The curse was that I had previously worked in a great job where I excelled. Having had a job like that meant that I could never settle for employment that was not a good fit.

I know many people who have never had a "dream job". Once you have experienced that know it is out there and you cant just ride out a crummy situation.

I happily now work for an amazingly dynamic company with people I respect.