Are you thinking about switching your job? You’re not alone. About 60% of millennials are currently open to a new job opportunity. And if you do end up switching, you’re likely to switch again. In fact, our generation switches jobs so much that we’re likely to have four or more jobs by the time we’re 32. This phenomenon of job-hopping gives us the freedom to build our career paths on our terms. It also comes with a healthy dose of skepticism from employers. So should you do it? Before you make your next “hop”, consider these pros and cons:
You’ll quickly figure out what you like and don’t like. College gave you a lot of things: a great degree, new friends, and life experiences. But it probably didn’t give you a sense of what to look for in a job or company after you graduate. Do you like big or small companies? What types of tasks do you like? What kind of job responsibilities make you want to pull your hair out? You’ll figure this all out through trial and error. Job-hopping will help speed up this process and give you a better sense of what your ideal job looks like.
You’ll diversify your background and skill set. Every time you job-hop, you’ll learn something new. Each company has different processes, software, cultures, and areas of expertise. You’ll gain new hard skills to highlight on your resume and learn how to work on different teams. This will be invaluable experience you’ll be able to draw on no matter what situation work throws your way.
You’ll build a dream team network. Networking is a numbers game. When you switch jobs, you’re going to meet more people. These people will become your mentors, future references, and the magical connections that land you your next job.
It can pay out. Literally. A new job has the potential to bump your salary up more than a small raise would get you at your current job. The average increase for a job change is around 8-10%. Before you get too excited by those dollar signs, remember that this stat assumes you’re switching into a similar role. If you switch up responsibilities or industries your salary can vary wildly.
First impressions matter. Job hoppers have a bit of a bad reputation. They’re known as being flaky, unreliable, and disloyal. If you job-hop so much, why should an employer want to hire you in the first place? They’ll put the time, effort, and resources into training you only to have you leave. If you decide to job-hop, you’ll likely encounter this attitude at some point during an interview. Just be prepared with a reason why you switched jobs that shows your genuine interest in advancing your career, not how much you may have disliked your previous job.
You can lose your path. Job-hopping can be addictive. Once you start, it’s easy to start thinking that the next job will be the ideal one. If only you switch one more time, everything will be perfect right? Be aware that there’s always going to be something small you don’t like about your job. You’re going to have to deal with that one annoying coworker or that one task that bores you. Whenever you job-hop, think about whether it makes sense for you and your career or if you’re just trying to escape. You don’t want to lose your career path in a never-ending quest for job perfection.
You may be expendable. There’s no easy way to put this. Since you may be viewed as the most likely to leave, you’ll probably be one of the first people to get laid off if the time comes. A perceived lack of loyalty and time at a company makes you more expendable in an employer’s eyes.
Bridges will burn. Not everyone will be on board with your job-hopping tendencies. Know that while you may build a network hopping around, it’s equally likely you’ll burn some bridges. Leaving a job is a decision not everyone will view favorably, especially if you’ve only been there a short period of time.
So what’s the answer to the perpetual job-hopping question? Always keep your mind open to job possibilities, but think before you hop. If you’re one of those rare millennials who has stayed in a job forever, don’t be closed off to the benefits of changing. If you’re already on your third job a few years out of college, just make sure you’re hopping for the right reasons. It may be a risk, but done correctly job-hopping can pay off for your career in a big way.