There are some career experts out there who recommend you switch a job every two to three years to keep your career from getting stagnant. I think that can work out in some instances, but I also think job changing shouldn't be done for that reason alone.
A TechRepublic member wrote to me describing his (successful) experience at job-hopping:
I have no way of measuring how much my frequent job moves have benefited (or hurt me) but I know I've avoided the downsizing axe at least once and every time I moved I felt an immediate bump in salary. Not only that, new challenges are always welcome and I have rarely felt restless in a role for very long.
In fact, I had previously left my current employer back in 2006 after two years because I was told that due to HR policies I would see my miniscule salary continue to inch up 2.5% at most per year, and there were no other job opportunities within the department. When I returned at the end of 2008 after three different jobs since my departure, my salary jumped almost 35% and the role itself was more interesting and challenging.
His purpose in writing was to find out if this experience was a typical one. I'd say the writer was probably destined for job success not because he switched often but because he had a good reason to switch -- he desired a bigger challenge. People who like to be challenged are often successful as a byproduct of their need to do and learn more.
I told him I'd give a shout out to our audience and find out what your experience has been with switching jobs. Do you think it puts you in a more marketable position to (voluntarily) switch jobs often?
Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.