My first job was working as a floral assistant and cashier at a local flower shop. It was quite rewarding, engaging with consumers as they picked up bouquets and arrangements for various occasions. I kept that job for a year before transitioning into a completely different industry. From then up to today, I’ve had over 20-something jobs. Now, I know what you may be thinking: “How have you been able to have so many jobs and bypass the flood of questions that come with job hopping?”
Much of job hopping appropriately requires a clear strategy and understanding of what you are hoping to achieve. Leaving an organization preemptively because you are underpaid, undervalued, or treated poorly is a justifiable reason to job hop. Leaving an organization because you feel you have capped on growth opportunities, even if it's sooner than expected, is a justifiable reason to job hop.
You shouldn’t, however, job hop if you aren’t clear on the fundamentals of your job function. For example, leaving your well-paying role as Project Manager after four months because a TikTok video made you feel you could make more money elsewhere is not a good idea if you are still new to the responsibilities of a Project Manager.
There is a right and wrong way to job hop. To keep things easy as you navigate your corporate journey, here are the general steps you should follow:
Is Job Hopping Bad?? No, not inherently. BUT there is a right and wrong way to do it. If you have no idea what you are doing and just job hop to make more money, it will eventually catch up with you and somoone will without a doubt call you out on it. This could make it harder for you to get jobs in the future. The best practice for job hopping is to leave a role once you have mastered it. #corporatelife #corporatetiktok #corporateamerica #jobhopping #jobhopper #jobhop #howtojobhop
Step 1: Stick to the rule of 6 months for entry-level and 18 months for mid-level roles.
Entry-level jobs (0-2 years of experience) are not as challenging as corporations make them out to be. Depending on the industry, responsibilities for early career roles can be mastered in under one year as they tend to be more supporting roles than project-owning roles. Some people may even master their responsibilities within 3 to 6 months. Whether your reasoning is to make more money or have a higher title, you should start looking for new opportunities around the 6-month mark.
Mid-senior level roles are a little different as you’re more likely to own projects from inception to completion. It’s better to remain in these roles until a project completes which spans, on average, from 12 to 18 months. If you leave too many mid-senior roles after 6 months or so, future employers will question or ability to see a projection through completion. It will be a challenge for them to invest in you when you have not shown your ability to invest in a company project.
After this allotted amount of time, you should start to explore other opportunities for higher pay and/or a higher title. Another reason to remain in mid-senior roles for 12 to 18 months is to ensure at least a fraction of your equity vests if you are awarded any at the time of accepting your job offer.
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Step 2: Leave the job after you have mastered the role.
As mentioned above, it’s important to put a 'skill frame' on your job opportunities as opposed to a 'time frame.' The 6-month and 18-month rule in the first step is in regard to the minimum amount of time you should spend in a role. Many people will remain in a job, that does not serve them, for 5, 10, or even 15 years. They have mastered their role and won’t leave because they don’t think they have spent enough time with their organization.
To be frank, your allotted amount of time means nothing if you’re not growing. The reason a professional with 4 years of experience gets the role over the professional with 10 years of experience is that the person with 4 years (the job hopper) had robust experience. They left jobs that stunted their growth and matriculated into roles that diversified their skill set. Meanwhile, the person with 10 years of experience can only serve future employers in limited capacity. They lack a diverse skill set due to their stagnancy.
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Step 3: Address your “job hopping” when transitioning to new roles.
When you are interviewing for a new role, and they ask you why you left company a, b, and c, each after 1 year you explain that: (1) you outgrew your role and felt it was time to transition into a more challenging position or (2) you would have loved to continue growing with your previous organization(s), however, there were no opportunities for growth and no transparency as to when such opportunities may become available.
If you are wanting to job hop but fear what companies may say, don’t. I promise you, a good company will care less about the amount of time you spent and more about what you can bring to the table. Good companies will understand that leaving a toxic work environment or a place that stunts you professionally is a viable reason to job hop. Don’t let a company, recruiter, or colleague guilt you into staying in a role or at a company you’re not pleased with.
A recruiter once told me, “You’re going to ruin your career. You can’t just go hopping from job to job thinking companies will still hire you.” August 2022 marked my 9th year working within the pharmaceutical industry. I am gainfully employed, and content with my current employer. I turned out okay and you will too.
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