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Underemployment & Job Hopping

January 24th, 2011

Friday I read an interesting article in local newspaper titled Should you look for a job even if you already have a good one? (disclaimer: I know both the reporter (in person) and the person he interviewed (by email)).

One snippet:

It used to be that staying with one company for your entire career was looked upon as a sign of strength and loyalty. These days, most companies look at it as a bad thing.

What?  Why??

Because “most companies” are idiots.

Seriously, can’t “most companies make up their minds about this?  Is it okay, or not okay, to have multiple jobs??

Maybe they are catching up with the times and realizing that in today’s world people tend to have a varied work history (as opposed to, say, 50 years ago!).

I want to pull more out of the article, and what Hilbig is saying (he’s just the messenger), but I am to fired up (annoyed) at his conclusion and I’ll just sound like a big whiner/ranter.  You can read his thoughts here.

Here are the three takeaways from the article:

Don’t overdo it. Hilbig says the best period to stay in one place is 5 to 7 years.  (he’s been in his current role for 16ish years :p). That sounds nice, if you can plan it that way, but what about people who work at companies that have major issues and a transition is forced upon them (aka layoffs)?  I know people who have worked at a new company every year… they take a risk on a company that turns out to fail, or downsize an entire department… it’s not a personal thing anymore, it’s how companies operate.

You have to socialize. This is called “networking.”  I’m not sure if “socialize” was Paul’s word or Dave’s word but personally I think there is a significant difference between networking and socializing.  Socializing, to me, is like hanging out.  It’s casual and should be fun, or a time to unwind.  Networking has more of a purpose and a strategy.  It doesn’t just happen to me, I have to prepare for it and follow-up from it.

Don’t burn a bridge. Dave says:

… there are still some bosses that will take it personally if you leave their company. Those few will likely never consider hiring you back. Hilbig says you will have to judge for yourself what kind of temperament your current boss has.

A few thoughts here.  First, if the boss is that petty then you probably won’t want to work for them anyway.  This is not 6th grade!

Another thought, though, as a boss/employer/owner, is that I’m emotionally involved in this, putting 200% into my business, and if you walk away on me I take it personally.  It’s an emotional breakup and you are essentially dumping me.  So of course there are going to be feelings.  (I’m not saying that totally reflects me but I am saying there are feelings about this breakup, and there might be a good way and a bad way to break up!).

Here’s my question:

If you are doing things wrong (like “job hopping” too often), HOW CAN YOU COMMUNICATE THAT ON A RESUME OR IN AN INTERVIEW?  There has to be a good way!

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One response to “Underemployment & Job Hopping”

  1. Lew Sauder says:

    How often one changes a job depends on the situation. If you are in a job where growth opportunities are limited, it may be time to move on. I wouldn’t want to hire someone who changes jobs whenever the going gets tough, but I also wouldn’t want to hire someone whose 10 years of experience were really 1 year of experience 10 times over. I always ask why someone left their job. If they were laid off that can be verified. If they left for better growth opportunties, I dig deeper to understand how moving on helped them grow.
    Lew Sauder, Author, Consulting 101: 101 Tips For Success in Consulting (www.Consulting101Book.com)