Changing careers or jobs is often deemed pathological or bad but this article highlights how it can be beneficial and even necessary for your career advancement. Maybe you’ve been told to put your financial needs and holistic vision you have for yourself aside, or your organization is not interested in promoting or fast tracking you. You may even think “I need to be patient” in order to get promoted. But this approach can keep you in a lower income bracket and ultimately, have you earn less over a lifetime.
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of negative connotations associated with job hopping but it can be key in propelling you forward professionally. Let’s debunk 4 myths associated with this practice:
Myth #1: YOU’RE UNCOMMITTED OR LAZY
There is still a fallacy floating around that if you’re job hopping, you’re not developing enough skills to warrant a decent salary. Or that you’re lazy and uncommitted and therefore professionally doomed.
Lazy? Job hopping is extremely hard. Moving to a new organization where you must learn new skills, systems and social dynamics takes dedication, time, and energy. It’s not fun!
Of course, if you’re leaving a job every 3 months this raises red flags and people won’t take you as seriously. But I am sure you or someone you know has worked for about 3 organizations in 5 or 6 years. This is not uncommon. A lot of people job hop out of necessity, especially in the 21st-century gig economy where work is often contract-based.
Whether it’s out of necessity or not, you’ve earned new skills and bring added value from job hopping that you hadn’t had before. Own your story and know how to tell your story to a prospective employer. In other words, identify the new skills & knowledge and credentials you’ve acquired in your previous jobs, whether it’s operating software or learning how to navigate an industry culture or taking on projects or leadership roles. Certain jobs can be used as a stepping stone to learn and build confidence so that you can raise your earning power and move on to a higher-paying job.
Myth #2: YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF DEBT
“I want to be debt free,” you tell yourself. Well, you can’t pay off your debts with certain salaries. It’s not always possible. And if it is, it can be incredibly difficult to do so, especially if you’re a single woman and have 3 children to take care of.
Go to competitors. Network. Learn about industry standards for your job. I had a client who was a product manager and learnt through her network that her skills were worth double her current salary in a different industry, just by doing some focused research and information interviews with other product managers and recruiters on LinkedIn (check out our blog on how to network on LinkedIn). You don’t have as much negotiating power when you start a new position, so job hopping allows you to start fresh and negotiate a new income bracket.
Myth #3: MY LOYALTY WILL BE REWARDED
You don’t necessarily need to wait until you’re a director or have X number of years of experience to earn a promotion. The age-old attitude that you need to move up the ladder and stick to a job for the rest of your life is a narrow approach and becoming a thing of the past. You may think “I need to be patient” or “If I put in the time, they will see my accomplishments and give me a promotion.” If a company is not loyal to you, you need to be loyal to yourself. Even if the organization does treat you well, they sometimes are forced to lay you off. You need to realize this.
Employers won’t voluntarily roll out raises when their #1 concern is revenue. There may still be a status quo of who fits the mould of what success looks like in your organization and, if you don’t look and feel that way it doesn’t matter how accomplished you are, there is still a glass ceiling for you and a promotion may not be in the cards. Especially in old school institutions like universities, government or even corporate traditional 9-5 spaces and, especially if you are on the margins (ie. BIPOC or a woman in a male-dominated area).
Listen to your gut. You may get sick of being breadcrumbed and want to take a calculated risk knowing that it’s not a guarantee that things will work out 100% on the other side, but having more money, more flexibility and freedom, and doing work in an environment that’s a better fit is always a better option.
Obviously, don’t just quit your job (unless you must). At least go out and have conversations with people to optimize your options. Put yourself out there and meet with a Career Counsellor to make an informed decision.
Myth #4: IT’S SELFISH
It’s not selfish to job hop, it’s smart. Why NOT want more for yourself?
Maybe you’re telling yourself “I shouldn’t be talking to recruiters” but you are allowed to and should find something better. It takes more courage sometimes to leave a situation than to stay in it. It may take 6 months or 3 years. But you’ll eventually get there.
If you have an increased chance to earn more long-term with job hopping by owning your story and negotiating properly, versus staying in the same job and waiting 10 years for a raise (that may or may not come), job hopping may be your ticket to success.