Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Will Job Hopping Damage Your Career?

Will Job Hopping Damage Your Career?

Found some interesting facts on the above topic on various sites, consolidating here…

Ram's grandfather worked in the same company his whole life. His mother labored in the same industry until she retired, though for different employers. But that kind of longevity was not for Sam and his brother, who have worked in six different career fields during 30 combined years.

Muzio, president and CEO of Group Harmonics Inc., in Albuquerque, New Mexico, says accelerated movement -- often called job-hopping -- is becoming the norm.

"Not long ago we all said that the average person changes jobs about seven times in his or her lifetime; now we say it's probably more than 10 jobs over at least five different careers," he explains.

It's a generational trend, experts say. Generations X and Y are more comfortable switching jobs every few years than their predecessors were, and as they scale the ranks of the job market, such changes are increasingly accepted and understood. But some call it a lack of commitment that's damaging to workers and employers.

The New Style of Job Search?

Some experts say frequent job changes don't mean death to your career -- they're just part of work life.

"I don't think you can be judgmental [and say it's] good or bad -- it just is; it's a fact of life in today's workplace. It's fruitless to impose a judgment on it," explains Sally Haver, senior vice president of business development at the Ayers Group in New York. "If people don't move with change, they get left in the dust."

Rich Gee, an executive career coach based in Stamford, Connecticut, agrees, and suggests finding a new term for job-hopping.

"It's just the nature of the beast of employment: Expect people to leave after two to three years, and be happy if they stick around longer," Gee says.

Brooks Savage, CEO of the Executive Staffing Group in Raleigh, North Carolina, sees it differently.

"When you don't have someone stay in a post two to three years, how do you learn? To get a degree out of college at least takes four years," he says, noting neither he nor his clients are interested in resumes of job-hoppers (people who change positions every year or so). He'll also ask candidates about any jobs where they spent less than five years.

Savage questions the commitment of individuals who don't stick around long, and says the job market could change dramatically if commitment levels don't increase.

Job-Hopping Pros & Cons

Ultimately, it's important to plan carefully when evaluating a job change and not switch too often, experts say, citing the following pros and cons:

  • Pro: Pay increases. "The way you make a large jump in your pay scale is when you leave a company and go to another one. It's proven time and time again," Gee says.
  • Pro: Networking. Gee says different gigs expose you to new networks of people, which can be a real asset.
  • Pro: Learning new skills. New environments sometimes teach workers new skills and how to function more quickly, says Kathy Jeffery, vice president of human resources at Whitman Hart Consulting in Chicago.
  • Con: Landing in a worse situation. "You might jump into a new job that's worse than your old job," Gee explains.
  • Con: Moving too soon. "If you're really leaving places rather quickly you may not be extracting the full value from what that particular workplace has to offer you," notes Haver, of the Ayers Group.

The net result is, if you don't like your current job, move on! I have been there and done that! Cheers!

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