Job hopping has been the topic of many conversations in the professional world. Some employers see it as a red flag while others see job hopping as a positive sign that professionals are proactively taking control of their career path. At the core of job hopping is one burning question: How long should I stay on a job if I don’t like it? Many people tend to job hop when they don’t know what to do when they are experiencing job dissatisfaction.
How long should you stay on a job if you don’t like it?
Job dissatisfaction can be caused by a myriad of things from pay, location, burnout, poor management, lack of work-life balance, little interest in the work, and even conflict amongst employees. This is not an exhaustive list, but the aforementioned things are common reasons why professionals may be less than satisfied with their job. If you’re currently unhappy at your place of work but unsure if it is reason enough to leave, then ask yourself the following questions before resigning:
- What is the cause of my job dissatisfaction?
- Have I exhausted all of my options for finding a resolution?
- What is my plan after I resign? (Have you secured another job or determined your next steps?)
Job dissatisfaction can cause a lot of tension in one’s career and as a result may lead to job hopping for some. If you think you may be a job hopper, then here’s some patterns to look for.
You change jobs frequently and voluntarily. A job hopper is defined as a professional who changes jobs frequently and voluntarily. However, this is not always a bad thing. In some cases, such as being a part of a military family or being a caregiver for an elderly or sickly family member, job hopping is simply out of one’s control. Parents may also see a pattern of job hopping if their jobs conflict with their children’s schedules. These are all valid reasons to change jobs and therefore if you find yourself in any of these situations, then don’t be ashamed. Most employers will be understanding if you are open and honest about your circumstances. Being transparent about these things upfront gives employers the opportunity to work with you and provide resources that could help you gain more work-life balance.
You stay at jobs for two years or less. The consensus in the professional world is that leaving a job in two years or less is a characteristic of job hopping. But times are changing. Young professionals are no longer interested in dedicating 30 years of their lives to a job, and that’s okay. The time you commit to a job depends on your professional values. It requires intentional goal setting and reflection to determine the amount of time that is appropriate to stay on a job. If your career goals involve professional development, advancement, and swift progression, then job hopping could be a strategic way to gain more experience and enhance your skill sets. On the other hand, if you’re looking to increase your pay, then it may behoove you to change jobs if your pay has been stagnated for some time. Further, if you value family time or personal travel, then committing an extensive number of years to a job may not align with your values. As long as you can communicate your choices to employers, then a pattern of job hopping on your resume isn’t automatically a bad thing.
You’ve held jobs in various fields or industries. Another sign of job hopping is frequent industry changes. Job hopping within the same industry could be a cause of relocation or promotions. However, if you have a pattern of job hopping from one field to another then it could be a sign that you’re not sure which career path is right for you. In this case, the best thing to do is change your approach. It is unlikely to get a different result when continually doing the same thing over and over again. This will require some soul searching and reflection. Think about who you want to be and what you want out of your life rather than what you want to do for a living. When you know who you are and what you want, it’s a lot easier to find a career that fits you. Focus less on trying to be right for the job and focus more on making sure that the job is right for YOU.
Job hopping is one of the many things in the professional world that people are torn on. But job seekers are not to be dismayed because just like anything else on your resume, as long as you can explain it then you should be fine with employers. The most important thing to remember is to be intentional about your career choices and communicate them confidently.
This article was written by Infini Kimbrough
Infini Kimbrough is a writer and eclectic artist who draws inspiration from a wealth of sources. When she’s not writing she’s at AMC theaters with a large bucket of popcorn, catching up on the latest Marvel premiere.