Flitting from job to job, also known as job hopping, is traditionally said to be damaging for one’s CV and career opportunities. It suggests a number of possible personality and professional flaws: that you’re disloyal, that you get bored easily, that you have problems committing, that you cannot get along with people or that you’re directionless. Fortunately for some, it seems the tide has changed. Being a smart and strategic job hopper may now be the way to establish your dream career.
The former Chief Talent Officer for Netflix, Patty McCord, believes job hopping is something so positive that she urges people to change jobs every three or four years. “You build skills faster when changing companies because of the learning curve,” she states.
This higher learning curve is the idea that job hoppers work extremely hard knowing that they will only be at the company for a few years. They are keen to impress and learn new skills at a much faster rate than the employer who has been with the company for years on end. They are also more motivated, which translates into higher levels of productivity and better outcomes. Job hoppers, for this reason, tend to be overachievers.
Author and entrepreneur, Penelope Trunk, agrees with the premise of strategic job hopping and claims that staying with one company all your life is “career suicide”. Not only do you experience personal growth by working in a number of roles for various different companies, but you are also able to create a wide network of friends and influential people, which can be vital to making progress in your career.
She goes on to say, “I read a lot of research about what makes a good employee… and people used to think that the longer you kept an employee, the more worth they are to you, because you train them and they get used to their job and then they do it. But, in fact, an employee who stays on the job and isn’t learning at a really high rate is not as engaged, so they’re not doing as good work. So it turns out, the employee who stays longest, you get the least work out of, and the employees that job hunt are the most receptive of becoming extremely useful, very fast.”
In order to ensure that their job hopping is conducive however, people should think about carefully about their next career move. “Haphazard change, leaving job after job for frivolous reasons – like you want a cubicle near a window – is not going to get you far in terms of finding engaging work,” Trunk clarifies. “But switching jobs specifically to spark more engagement in your career is smart.”