Why You Should Quit Your Job

A job-hopping resume does not mean a lack of dedication or loyalty

In a labor pool flush with baby boomers for so many years, many people looked down their noses at those who job-hopped. They saw the practice of moving from job to job as a sign of being non-committal, disloyal, and unreliable. The expectation used to be that when you got a decent job you could comfortably remain there until you retired in order to get benefits, decent annual raises, and a pension. On the flip side of this, an intern advisor once told me that in order to get a promotion I’d have to leave whatever job I was at. This unsavory stigma doesn’t ring quite as true today, with the exception of one caveat.

Job hopping among the 18- to 35-year-old population is, today, the workplace equivalent to “finding yourself.” It’s a way to test the waters of different markets and industries. How is a person supposed to know what they like if they don’t get an opportunity to try it? Having an employee that has had a lot of exposure to different things can bring a fresh perspective to an office environment that might otherwise be stuck in a rut of its own. A potential employee that has moved around within the same industry may also bring some sagacious knowledge of industry competitors. For a person lucky enough to have age on their side, some job-hopping at the beginning of his or her career can help solidify what and where they will be long-term once they have more pressing responsibilities like mortgages and families.

Gaining work experience is not the only reason the 18-35-year-old group moves around, however. Potential educational opportunities present another huge motivator to move on. Being on the cutting edge of new ideas is not only inspiring but ultimately builds a stronger skill set and a beefier, more marketable resume in the end. New technologies, products, and machinery that an employee would not otherwise have available to them, but gets to learn about and use, becomes an asset for future employers.

Of course the prospect of earning more money, be it cash or some form of additional benefits, is an obvious reason for leaving a position. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average annual salary increase for private industry workers in 2016 was 2.6 percent. The average salary increase when changing jobs entirely was between 10 percent and 20 percent. Unfortunately, those numbers show that tenured staff members of companies who are entrenched in their current positions are oftentimes missing out on their full earning potential. Over the lifetime of a career that is a lot of money left on the proverbial table that could have been put to work for that individual.

Frequent job changes may make some hiring managers question a potential candidate's loyalty to a position and company, which is understandable given data gathered by Gallup Poll that indicates that 55 percent of millennials are not engaged at work. Employee engagement is less about foosball tables in communal creative work areas and in-office European coffee bars and more about having good communication and a mutual respect and commitment between employer and employee. Individuals want to feel like a valuable team member and have their work be acknowledged and utilized towards a common goal. There is some evidence by Gallup that shows that engagement among millennials is at its highest during the first three years of employment at a given place, and then it drops off steeply. Companies don’t help themselves with issues of engagement with lack of promotions, upward movement, honest dialogue, layoffs and lack of benefits.

Here’s the caveat mentioned in the beginning – not every industry is as open-minded as others. Creative, tech, and sales jobs seem to be more tolerant and accepting of job hopping as high producers tend to move more frequently. Jobs that require a lot of invested time and money for training, like a medical office, are not going to be as quick to hire someone who has short-lived stints, even if they are adaptable and quick on their feet. An explanation of the valid reasons for leaving is going to be required by interviewers anywhere.

Career butterflies, floaters, masters of employerism – call them what you will, but today’s job hoppers are continuing to forge a career path that looks less and less like the traditional climb up the corporate ladder. Given enough time, recruiters and hiring managers will hopefully help to debunk the idea that millennials are impatient employees who are just looking for the next best thing, because an unconventional resume does not necessarily point to a lack of dedication or loyalty. 

Categories: Human Resources