Is Job Hopping Bad For Your Career and Finances?

Job Hopper

For most people, a common way to improve their wealth and finances is through the traditional 9-5 job.

However, being labeled a “job hopper” was (and can be) seen as a negative and many employers would see that as a red flag. After all, as  an employer why would you hire someone who will jump ship in a year or less? 

There can also be assumptions for those who move jobs quickly, that they are difficult to work with, unstable, or don’t respect or care about the company.

Yet, the concept is more common than ever before and not all employers view job hopping as a negative.

But if you are moving jobs frequently or considering this, you have to understand the pros and cons, how to approach this strategy effectively, and understand the potential drawbacks.

What Is Job Hopping?

A job hopper is someone who switches jobs every one or two years on their own accord. Before, most employees worked for the same employer throughout their entire career, and job hopping was seen as something negative. Nowadays, employees change jobs quite frequently, however job hoppers tend to switch jobs even more frequently. 

People enjoy changing cities and careers, and it’s more common for people to switch jobs several times throughout their career.

  • According to the US Labor of Statistics, an employee in the U.S. stays with their employer for an average of 4.6 years.
  • The majority of workers — 64% — favor job hopping, according staffing firm Robert Half.

Most people switch jobs because they are not too happy with their current position and are looking for another opportunity to help grow their career. 

Others switch jobs because they get bored very quickly and easily, and are looking for more challenging opportunities. Once they get good at their daily tasks, they soon want to switch to something that’s more engaging. 

There are also some job hoppers who switch jobs to gain specific new skills. This might involve an industry switch or going back to school in order to build a more unique skill set.

Unfortunately, most people job hop without planning — maybe it’s due to a bad day at work, a nasty boss or an annoying client, which can urge people to change jobs as soon as possible. 

This means they usually take a rash decision instead of planning and actively searching for a better job opportunity. Many people keep job hopping as a reaction to their present situation rather than a plan for the future. 

The Pros and Cons of Job Hopping

Naturally, there are benefits of job hopping but do it too frequently and it could impact you negatively as well. Below are some pros and cons, which can help you make a more informed decision about your career choices. 

Pros 

Good at adapting

A job hopper constantly needs to adapt to a new working environment, which involves developing important adaptation skills such as communication, managing relationships and quick learning.

Every time you switch jobs, you’re rebuilding relationships and learning how to do things all over again. Being able to adapt to a new work environment is a good soft skill to have.

Faster career development

In many industries, the fastest way to move up the ladder is to switch jobs. That’s because the more opportunities and environments you put yourself in, the more you can grow and learn about your industry.

This can increase the rate at which you develop your career, especially if you are put in positions of responsibility.

Higher salary

The higher up the ladder you go, the higher a salary you can ask for. Although you will generally get bonuses and annual raises if you stick to one job and one position, they may not be as high as if you were to switch jobs.

Job hopping can be a great way to increase your salary and boost your own personal finances. According to a report by Chime, changing jobs can nearly double your salary long term. 

Tips: Looking for other ways to make money? Try these gig economy apps, look at some under the table jobs, or negotiate your salary.

Life change

Changing your job can also give you the opportunity to change your life and start again. Maybe you’re tired with your current position or even your current city.

Switching jobs can be the reset button on both your career and personal life, and offer you a healthy change in scenery. 

Cons 

Cannot establish yourself

The main disadvantage of changing jobs is that it can be difficult to properly establish yourself. That includes your career, personal and professional relationships.

Every time you change jobs, you’re starting over with quite a few things. This means it may take longer to get your vacation time, your benefits will take longer to kick in and you’ll constantly need to change insurance plans.

You’ll also lose some of your 401(k) contributions, and you’ll keep getting waiting periods before being able to contribute to your retirement accounts.

Never stops

If you job hop too often, you may never be satisfied with where you land. You’ll keep finding a reason to leave your job, and will always believe that the grass is greener on the other side.

This can end up very frustrating, and you may end up with something called “job hopping syndrome.”

Job hopping itself can also take a large toll emotionally, financially and personally — a lot of admin is involved and it’s not particularly fun. This can also undermine your confidence in the long term.

Shorter track record

Many companies don’t like job hoppers because their track record is too short. If you only stay at a job for a year or less, it may not give you enough time to provide results and show off any accomplishments.

Job hopping too quickly may indicate that you have problems committing, and a future employer may not be too keen to take you on.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Job Hopping

Do’s

Take the planning seriously 

Many job hoppers change jobs because they are reacting too fast to a present situation. Instead of quitting a job out of dissatisfaction, start planning your future.

Take the time to evaluate and adjust what is currently working and not working, and build a picture of what you want your career to look like. 

On a piece of paper, write down what you like and don’t like about your current job, and then describe what your ideal job would look like. Evaluate your various talents and career options, and see what open positions are on the market.

Follow a job search methodology

Once you know what you want, you’ll want to follow a systematic process to secure your job. Instead of browsing online boards and dreaming about your ideal job, make a detailed plan with how you plan on securing the position.

You’ll want to personalize your resume accordingly, and then go serious on the networking. Reach out the people who have positions that you want to be in, and ask them out for coffee to see how they did it.

When you do find a position you like, go the extra mile to show that you’ve done your research. 

Focus on developing skills

Try to develop essential skills before leaving your current job. You want to make the most of what you currently have, so try to leverage your network and maximize your potential in the company.

You’ll be able to add this to your resume and will have something to discuss in your next interview with your potential new job. 

Don’ts

Don’t do it just for the salary

Salary is important but it’s also good to evaluate your entire package before leaving — make sure your next job also has benefits, vacation time, retirement accounts and a short commute.

If your next job has a lower salary but better benefits and work culture, it may still be worth switching jobs. 

Increasing your income is certainly important and there are a few things you can do if salary is your only reason you are considering job hopping. Start side hustling or freelancing on the side.

  • Sign-up for Flexjobs to get access to the best freelance and consulting gigs.
  • Use gig economy apps to make some cash like Doordash, Postmates, Instacart, Uber, or Rover.
  • Ask for a raise or see how you can increase your salary.

Don’t leave on a bad note

Leaving your current job in good standing, is the best move you can make when preparing to switch jobs. If colleagues or a boss feels offended with the way you leave your job, it may cause problems down the road.

It’s always best to leave on a positive note, so you always have the opportunity to ask for recommendations or leverage your network in the future. If you develop a bad reputation amongst colleagues, this can follow you throughout your career.

Don’t leave too soon

Less than a year at a job is a very short period of time. Unless you are seriously struggling or suffering, it’s best to try and stay at least a year at your current position.

If you leave too soon, this can raise red flags for future employers and also cause even more emotional and personal stress when changing jobs. 

Signs That You Should Job Hop

Not every job is perfect and you shouldn’t just quit when things get tough. You need to be resilient and find a plan to alleviate any work troubles. However, there are some clear signs that it might be time to job hop.

You don’t like your boss

Having a nasty boss can seriously impact your everyday mood. It’s likely your boss doesn’t like you either, which may influence your own work career and situation.

If you dread every chat with your boss and wish they weren’t there, then that’s can be the first sign it’s time to job hop. A toxic workplace is a good indication it’s time to leave.

You can’t handle the stress

If you’ve got too much work to do and you’re dealing with some other personal issues as well, the stress can quickly become unmanageable.

Even if your salary is high, it may not be worth the stress and you may want to consider leaving your position and finding something less stressful. 

You despise Monday mornings

If you absolutely dread Monday mornings on Sunday night, it may be a sign you strongly dislike your job.

However, it’s important to understand exactly what is causing the knot in your stomach, so you know what to look out for in your new job.

If you write down the negatives of your current job, you’ll be able to look out for them in your next job and maybe even realize which aspects of your current job you actually like. 

You don’t feel challenged

Even if you haven’t been in your position for that long, you may still get the feeling that you aren’t advancing your career and aren’t being challenged enough.

If after asking for new projects, skill building and training, you still feel a lack of challenge, it may be time to look for a new position. 

Asking for a raise isn’t working

If asking for more money was easy, we’d all being doing it constantly! Everyone wants to make more money. Before jumping to a new gig or become fed up with your work, ask for a raise first. 

If you are underpaid and valuable to the company, ask for more money. And if f you are unsure where you stand, connect with your manager and see what you can do and deliver to earn a good raise.

Good managers will work with you and build a plan. And if they don’t or are playing games with a potential raise, then job hopping might be an option. 

How to Explain Job Hopping To Employers 

While job hopping can be smart for your career, finances, and overall work happiness — you still need to approach it strategically.

If you have been working for eight years and you have eight jobs, pretty much any employer would view that negatively. 

There are some instances where maybe your job history with each position is shortened due to toxic work environments, career changes, or layoffs — but generally you wouldn’t want to job hop a year or less constantly. 

So how do you explain to new potential employers about your reasons for job hopping? 

It’s how well and confident you are when you explain your choices. If your only reasons to a potential employer for leaving a previous job was because it was boring or you weren’t getting what you wanted, it’s not going to end well for you. 

But if you can own your work history, talk about the positive experiences, what you’ve learned and improved from each position, and why you are looking for a change — you’ll have better respect from the hiring manager. 

Additionally, you want to show your enthusiasm for your career and industry. Having a passion — regardless if you left past employers — shows your love for the work and your interest in growing in your career. 

Some Job Hopping FAQs

Why do people do job hopping?

Many people job hop because they’re making reactive decisions. They experience some kind of dissatisfaction at work – a bad week, an annoying client, an irritating co-worker – and they quickly determine it’s not the right fit. … They get anxious to move and inevitably make another bad decision.

Is 2 years considered job hopping?

Jobhopping” is generally defined as spending less than two years in a position. That said, two years isn’t particularly a long time either, considering a new hire takes an average of 6 months to be fully up and running in a position.

How long should I stay at a job I hate?

Although a job might not be what you expected and you currently hate it, don’t quit too soon. In order to not raise any red flags on your resume, you’ll want to try and stay at your job for at least a year for making any career moves. Certainly there are some very toxic situations you might want to remove yourself from sooner, but otherwise stick it out a bit longer.

What do you think of job hopping? Has it positively or negatively affected you during your work career? What do you think the future holds for resumes with more job hopping? Let me know in the comments below.