IT Employment

Is job hopping (of the voluntary kind) good for your career?

Is it better for your career to switch jobs every couple of years or to stay put?

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?

About

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.

133 comments
vp-hr
vp-hr

Job hopping used to be regarded by some employees and indeed some employers as a fast track way to gain both experience and promotion. Other employers regarded it as an inability to remain focused on a thought out career path. Whichever side one takes, the playing field has changed dramatically since the economic crash and so job hopping will be on the back burner for many years to come

fedm235
fedm235

Looking back at my career, job hopping would have benefited me. I did not do that, and when my career ended due to buyout and layoffs, I found my talents and experience were not recognized. My loyalty to the company did not result in nice benefits at the end. While this worked for my dad, in today's society it is no longer true, especially in the IT field.

PhilM
PhilM

Initially posted in the wrong place .. :-( At my previous employer, the head of HR was over from London and talking to one of our IT chaps in the back of a taxi. In conversation with him, she mentioned that people lose their effectiveness after 5 years at a company. This then made the IT member of staff feel rather uncomfortable as he had been there for 17 years!

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

I'm not exactly what some would call a job hopper. Considering that I spent 23 years in the US Navy, then 10 with a major international telecom, and now 10 with my current employer. But in that 23 years I was in the Navy, while all my paychecks came from them, I shifted geographical location from one command to another (like shifting around between departments and branches of a large corporation) on a routine and regular basis. Typically, every 2 to 5 years. Each time having the precise nature of my job and duties undergo some major changes. Not just because of increasing rank. It is traditional in the US Navy for career people, hoping to become SENIOR career people, to seek to broaden both the depth and scope of their knowledge, skills, and experience. At least, for the Black Shoe, haze gray and underway, fleet sailors. (The sea going types) This has come to be due to the nature of that sort of a career. Ocean going combat vessels are essentially cities at sea, often isolated from outside support, and often operate independently. That means that members of the crew often wear various hats, especially the senior ones. You might have a primary specialty. But commonly also have secondary specialties, one or more. Add so-called "collateral duties". For instance, I carried a general, broad technical job category description (Rating, as the Navy called it). And was trained and education in that broad classification. Knew at least the basics about a long list of things. I also carried, had earned, a number of sub-specialty classifications within that broad Rating. Specific, specialized, advanced training, AND EXPERIENCE, in those sub-specialties. Advantage to the organization? I could easily be put into any one of several positions that required very specific skills and knowledge. And, in a pinch I could likely be put into a job in any of those specialty areas that fell under the broader Rating category that I didn't have a specific specialty classification for ... and be expected to at least have a clue, and be able to quickly play catch up. So in a career, one who was career minded and wanting to advance would every couple to 5 years request transfer to another job, elsewhere (within the same organization, in this case the Navy) ... in some specialty not exactly the same as the one you'd just finished serving in. It was quite possible to repeatedly request assignments doing the same-same stuff, and get them. But it was discouraged. And your prospects for advancement would be limited. Because, YOU were limited. And not all of those experience broadening assignments need be specifically related to one's base Rating (general technical classification). In fact it was considered a "good thing" to apply for and get the occasional assignment to a 2 or 3 year job that was not Rating specific. This was to show your talents and abilities were not limited solely to a specific technical position. i.e. One might try to get duty as an instructor or curriculum writer/developer. This entailed being sent to the Navy's Instructor Training School. Which packed about 35 semester hours of college level credits (15 of them Upper Level) into 8 weeks of 40 hours a week training. Followed by being assigned as an instructor or curriculum developer. Or one could request, as I did, an assignment to a special law enforcement/security unit. Which had the advantage of your being able to go play at a very nice, and able shoot em up, bang-bang, school. Followed by a school teaching law, US and international. Etc and so forth. The list of possibilities was very long and varied. In a career, I not only picked up a list of technical related specialty classifications (and the successful performance of them), I picked up assorted other skills and classifications. Instructor, career counselor, inter-cultural and race relations specialist (I speak more than just English, and have a pretty good knowledge ... via both training and experience ... of a couple of countries/cultures outside of the US), etc. Add, that the Navy Way, for career personnel who hope to have added advantage come promotion time, is that one shows by whatever means possible that one is multi-talented, broadly knowledgeable, and has not reached the limits of one's abilities. i.e. While college diplomas, or college level course completion certificates, aren't required for enlisted personnel; accomplishing such in addition to one's other duties is considered a plus. As is such things as Scout Troop Leader, or volunteer organizer for charity events, picking up a second or third language, becoming a qualified diver or sky diver, on ... and on ... and on. The point being, one can exhibit a broad range of skills and experience and that one has obviously not reached one's own personal limits. And that you're ready and willing to accept new challenges. From a more practical point of view, Naval ship's skippers like having a rather broad pool of talent available amongst a necessarily limited number of crew members. Warships might look big, but they're also packed with a LOT of equipment and supplies. There is only so much room for actual numbers of crew. Several of the commands I served with (ships) had a system where they kept "talent cards" up to date and available. (now, probably kept in a computer database) The idea being that if something came up, and it wasn't obvious who might know the solution or answer. That "database" was checked to see if any member of the crew might be the "go to" guy or gal in this particular case. The larger the ship, the less likely it became that there wasn't somebody on board who knew more than just a little about whatever. This could be either a good thing, or a bad thing, for the person involved. Once I got "volunteered" to resolve a problem, and it was a good thing. In my past (Navy past) I'd been assigned duty to a particular country. And had learned to speak the language passably, and knew the local customs and such in that place pretty well. Was on board a ship that came up with the need for some extensive, unplanned for repairs ... NOW. Nearest spot with the abilities was that country. But the problem was we had no standing procedures, agreements, etc with the locals. So our onboard personnel department did the search of records at the skipper's request. And my name came up. So I became the Liason Officer and Project Coordinator for the repairs. Pretty cherry assignment. Spent all that time (weeks) ashore in an office and apartment at taxpayer expense. Spent the days explaining details to locals of exactly what and how things needed to be done, dealing to get needed parts and services priced and bought and agreed to, overseeing actual work crews, etc. And nights partying hardy with the locals. Who developed a liking for me as I understood them and their ways, treated them like equals, and besides I didn't dicker TOO hard over the prices. Didn't agree to first asking prices, but left em a nice profit. OTOH, at another time and place a little crisis occurred. Again my name popped up in that ship's talent search. And I found myself ducking bullets while retrieving some hostages (tourists) who'd been taken by some locals. Not a big deal or incident, wasn't just all that much shooting going on. Bad guys pretty much folded up and ran as soon as they figured out we weren't going to. But I hate being shot at. Never have liked it for some reason. Anyway, enough with old sea stories no one cares about anyway. The point being, I agree with you. Depends on the reasons one is job hopping. If one is seeking to broaden one's knowledge, skills, and experience and looking for more challenges, it can be a very good thing. Given that one can show evidence of actual success at accomplishing each of those jobs. As versus just "occupying" a position for a period of time.

dan_odea
dan_odea

On the one hand, moving from company to company after some time (three or more years, perhaps?) has some monetary benefits, and definite benefits if you want wide experience (sometimes it's the only way to learn a new skill). On the other hand, if you're looking for a high-level management position (director of IT Security, for example), it can be a drawback. Directorships are between workers/management on the one hand and VP/CxOs on the other. Directorships are often political, and it's hard to break into a political position when you haven't established a loyalty base within the company. Further, you haven't had a chance to establish a reputation with the company, and that reputation is critical to moving from a worker/management level to a director level. In a way, directors are like lieutenants in the military; you get no respect from either senior officers or workers/sergeants. That respect comes primarily from working with a group of people for a long time, something you can't get from job hopping.

rlandeo
rlandeo

I think it definitely is a good idea, at least when you are in the beginning of your career, to job-hop. In 8 years, I changed jobs 4 times and each time the new job came with more challenges and better compensation. I do feel however, that you will want to stay longer at each position after a few changes. I look for longevity now, not an immediate raise, so I need to prove that I am here for the long-run.

silverglaze8108
silverglaze8108

i think it actually depends on how long you have been working in a company.. if you only worked for few months then move, they might as well think that you are not worth keeping because you are kinda choosy, and your skill/talent has not yet really been well used and improved from your previous company..

wrmahoney
wrmahoney

It depends. in the work my team does, it seems to take most new hires 2 to 3 years to become proficient. So someone with a history of changing jobs that often is unlikely to be a very good investment.

SKFee
SKFee

If you want to build long term interpersonal relations and take a system to heart like a loved one stay put. If you enjoy the challenge of a one night stand and want to keep trying new environments keep moving. In the current job market I personally would like to find place that appreciated my skill sets and set in for a long term relationship. As with any relationship you have to find ways to keep it new and exciting.

madan80
madan80

As an employer - I find it overly annoying when I see people who have jumped jobs often. Stability is the key. because if the person has stuck it out before with a single employer earlier, then there is a good chance that they will stick with me. However, changing roles often within the organization is something that we look at positively.

C.Daly
C.Daly

As a hiring manager I reject hopper resumes on first reading. My experience says hoppers are not a good value. 1. Hoppers never stop looking for a better job and are going to leave as soon as they find it. You just have to cross your fingers that they don't decide to leave at a critical juncture. 2. Some hoppers are good at interviewing and not much else. They rely on the fact that nobody gives an honest professional reference to hide the fact that they don't have any technical skills. After you invest in training and start expecting results, they hop. (I didn't always include skills tests as part of the interview process. Lesson learned.) 3. I've worked with two "superstar" hoppers who developed flashy prototypes and garnered the praise of senior management before they departed. Since they've never stayed with a job to experience the process of manufacturing, maintenance, customer feedback, product extensions and field failures, they didn't design for those contingencies. The non-hoppers were left a legacy of non-commented code and superficial designs. 3a. Superstar hoppers leave a legacy of unrealistic expectations, or Prototype Envy. Executives will nurture the belief that "Joe" finished 99% of the project in 9 months while the remaining inefficient team members waste months putting the project to bed. They don't want to believe that the flashy prototype had no substance. 4. I don't like hiring, and want someone who isn't going to make me go through the process again right away. Selfish? Sure. 5. There are times that a high-powered hired gun is just what I need. I don't consider that kind of consultant to be a hopper.

athought
athought

i've read almost all the comments & views posted under the article. Some of them are quite nice and some are nice with a sad tone in them. The main points those may be considered in changing a job at any stage of a persons career should be on a case by case basis. Since many of us Agree that loyalty has no value, well i believe it has, however not to a point where a person is being taken advantage of. On the other hand, sometimes its good to check a person's value in the market and may take necessary steps if the difference is too much or if a person is becoming miserable with him/herself at that job not necessarily because the person is bad at the job rather its not what s/he wants to do or be. On another note, some people are just lucky since maximum of the people here mentioned and/or indicated in some way about their not-so-soothing enperience with previous or existing employers (may relates to the person or someone they know) which, by the way, i totally agree since i myself have some bitter experience of my own with regards to this, however, i have found extraordinarily positive employers as well. Does that mean i can lable all employers like that? Absolutely not. I guess what i'm trying to say is this, "in general, it is good to change since extraordinary employers are rare these days and changing may also (hopefully) provide us with better and/or more in-depth skills, higher salary and above all, if you get to find a brilliant employer, then all of this would worth the effort.

IT Resume Writing Guru
IT Resume Writing Guru

I've written resumes for IT pros for over 5 years. None of the people who've I've written IT resumes for has had a problem finding an IT job after switching a job every 2 to 3 years and most of them get better paying one.

no1kilo
no1kilo

Switching jobs is a good thing is an old proposition. In todays greed fill environment the only good thing is having a job at all. All my education got tossed out with the bath water when my types of jobs got outsourced to mexico and china. I'd be lucky to be flippn burgers now. Greed and the loss of jobs makes this an employers market. It would be good to switch jobs from Burger King to McDonalds and again to Taco bell. Learn the ropes and then learn spanish and go illegal to Mexico for work.

fefbsas
fefbsas

The fact is that we all are mercenary, we all have our number. If the competition offers you a work paying 50% or double your current salary, you will switch the job. Even a 25% offer has to be considered. If your employer has to fire you, his/her hand won't shake at all. You can lie to yourself, you can think that it won't happen to you because you are loyal to the company, you gave all your best effort to the cause, you gave countless hours of your life to the company, you gave A, you gave B, you gave C. Facts: they take, they use, they get richer. It's first law of capitalism, produce more with less to get reach ! And i'm not against that! They want to earn more? hell yeah, we also want the same ! you can blame the system, you can whine all you want, nothing is gonna change the reality. Why do you have to threaten to leave in order to get a raise? If the company pays a good salary and give you benefits others don't, you will probably think at least twice to quit your job. If they don't pay a good salary, then bye bye kansas, who is next? Remember, there is no good and evil in life, just good or bad businnes. Just don't be frontal, if you quit don't tell the real reasson, you will only get into a dispute and waste time, they allready know if you quit your job that 90% of the times is for salary reassons. Nothing seems to change, so don't expect things to change if keep doing the same (dear Albert) Regards !!!

cbader
cbader

I think early on in your career job hopping is essential. It gives you a broader range of experience and more opportunity for growth than sitting in the same office doing the same old thing does. In fact people I went to school with are still languishing in tech support jobs because they refused to job hop, they thought sticking it out with one company was better in the long run. Also, twice now I have gotten a 20k (35 to 55, then 55 to 75) increase in annual salary by switching jobs.

rosskr
rosskr

NO.. I started as a Intern.. now I got three promotion in 3 year. Ya, Well I like my company and I am proud of my company,"I own my company." I guess person who switch companies can not be consisered loyal. I would not trust them and would not hire them. Seriously if a person has knowledge and is hard working .. .there is always a way for progress... Just show your passion.

john3347
john3347

I would have been classified as a job hopper during my career. I stayed at one job 9 years and one for 7 years. Other than those two jobs, I typically stayed at any one job for 2 to 5 years. I gained a lot of varied experience by these job changes and made myself significantly more valuable to a new employer through this varied experience - and experiences. I was fired from one job early in my career and laid off and hired back a couple of times on a couple of other jobs - also early in my career. Almost without fail, I received either a pay raise or better benefits and working conditions as a result of each job change. Even tho you only use a certain number of competencies 99% of your time on any given job, the fact that you have experience and some degree of competence on other operations makes you worth more to a company. Sometimes job changes is the only way to both gain these varied competencies and leverage them to your advantage.

Tarras
Tarras

Not only is job hopping is beneficial but so is changing your career path. But you have to work hard, learn quickly, and be really interested in what you are doing I started work as a deck hand in the British Merchant Navy and worked my way up to Third Officer within five years then switched companies and almost immediately was promoted to Second Officer and have no doubt that I could have reached Master (Captain). I gave up the sea going career because of marriage and starting a family and took the first clerical job available. Five jobs and seven years later I was a branch manager of a large national wholesaling company. I then switched career paths to the electrical utility industry as a linesman and got a tertiary qualification in electrical engineering. after five jobs and 20 years I was General Manager, operations, reporting to the CEO of one of the larger electricity utilities in New Zealand. In between jobs and careers I worked as a truck driver, warehouseman, bus driver, tourist launch operator, and I even owned and operated my own lobster fishing boat. I have now been retired for fifteen years and can look back on an interesting and rewarding working life.

Ph03nixSA
Ph03nixSA

so I did this. Started out as a designer, went into development because of better cash opportunities, become a guru at development then moved to being a technical lead and in a weeks time I join another company as their technical director at the tender age of 28. Think I moved to fast? I think I might have gone a tad overboard but then again look at Mark Zuckerberg .. millionaire at the age of 26 .. only way I will get to where I want to be is if my titles change and become more involved with the company...

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

Job hopping as a young enthusiastic employee is, in my opinion, fairly normal for anyone who has any sort of drive/ambition. I typically spent around 18 months - 2 years in my first 9 jobs then I was laid off for the second time and it was 13 months before I found another job. I then thought that when I got another job I'd stay with it but 5 years on I was again laid off. 6 months later I received two job offers within an hour and I'm still with one of them, 12 years on and content. The work is challenging, forever changing and I like the environment, the people and the location and the salary's acceptable too. I could be on a much higher salary had I been prepared to go into management or sales but I like doing the job, not organizing other people or selling so I'm 'stuck' at my present level. I think it's crazy that a good engineer can't keep progressing up the salary scale without going into sales or management and thus wasting his skills. Whereas you can get stuck salary-wise by staying in one company, job hopping does not guarantee an nincrease in salary.

richard.artes
richard.artes

That shows your value to the company increases faster than your pay rises. You need to leave and come back for them to show thier real apreciation! Of course that's a risky step, especilly if company policy is not to re-hire a leaver....

dba88
dba88

I'd say let's stop trying to manufacture a "rule of thumb," or a suggested measurement for this. Couple thoughts; 1. Businesses are no longer loyal to employees and I think the allegiances to a company are long gone. When there's cost cutting, who or what is the first to be cut?? Employees, of course!! 2. Different environments expand your horizons and build on your skills and professional abilities. When the gig is over, on to your next challenges. It's fun and interesting!

ranandg
ranandg

As they say it. Keep moving its definately positive as you get to know of the different work cultures...right from yeah yeah will do it some day.....to GFD... Get The F Done right now!

mentora03
mentora03

I was at my old job for 5 years. I started off with peanuts for salary and I wanted to leave after my first year but they gave me a 25% increase because I wanted to leave which was good. I tried to leave two other times and they gave me a good increase and would always match the offer I got from the new job offer. But at the end I grew tired of the place and had to leave. Have been at my new job just over a year now. Want to leave already :( Don't like the hassle of looking for jobs. Takes time away from other important things like playing games ;)

tseals8
tseals8

I would not recommend frequent job hopping in this economy, because the last one hired is usually the first one out the door when it comes to cutting costs. I prefer to put at least 3 years in on a job before leaving unless it is not a good fit. My past few jobs tenures included 5 years, 3 years, and 4 years (my present job). I will probably start looking again soon, but I will take my time and make sure it is a win / win situation for me.

Yourtech01
Yourtech01

I am seening some of this now. I have been in the IT world for about 5 years now and I have had 3 different jobs. all because of down sizing and lack of work after 2 years. at my current position after 2 years I am running out of work and projects because the company is not buying or upgrading. I think you should start working when an IT person see these signs and not just for more money and experience.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Do not dismiss regional attitudes (and opportunities). Coming from tech Fortune 500 bellwethers in the Northern California Tech Triangle, it was conventional wisdom that the most talented, skilled, and upwardly mobile employees seldom stayed at a position for more than 2 or 3 years. In fact, at Intel, this kind of internal behavior is encouraged - to the point that most *groups* have such dramatic reorgs every few years that they do not resemble their former roles within the corporation. This generally forces people who have found a level of complacency into new roles and positions, even if they "stay" with a group that they feel comfortable with. Often, those who are complacent and have developed a comfort zone in a particular group either leave the group or leave the organization after their group goes through one of these dramatic reorganizations. So, on the West Coast, in tech in particular, the majority of organizations I worked with embrace constantly evolving roles at a cultural level. Imagine my shock when I moved to conservative, traditional North East Ohio. One of the things I was grilled on was the frequency with which I moved from job to job in California. My direct report really had a difficult time reconciling himself with that. To him, it was a red flag that I was either a bad employee constantly jumping jobs to avoid being fired - or an undedicated employee always looking for a better opportunity. And the truth of the matter is, the second one was true to a certain extent - but the corporate culture I grew up in taught me that there is no shame in that. In fact, it is the prudent decision to make. Employment (even at-will) is an unspoken contract between the employer and the employee. I will provide services to your firm in return for financial compensation. As long as there is a balance and both parties benefit from that relationship, then the relationship should continue to produce positive results. The problem arises when one side or the other lets down the unspoken terms of the contract. Mergers that create redundant positions are one example. Pay grades that cannot be crossed are another trigger. The market condition for job-seekers has a great impact. If I am at your firm and you have a 2.5% annual wage increase policy - but there is a shortage for my skill-set and your competitors are willing to pay much more than my salary plus additional perks to attract me - well, your firm must be negotiable. If not, there is really no alternative for me. On the other hand, if my industry is slowing down and there are a glut of available workers who are desperate - and you're increasing my responsibilities and tightening the belt on perks, I have some tough decisions to contemplate. It isn't rocket science, really - it is common sense and logic. Personally, I started off in retail sales at a used PC store. In '94 I was making $24,000 a year and the owner of the shop was dangling a $6,000 bonus that I would never get as a carrot. I left for MCI and saw my salary increase considerably beyond that $6,000 bonus instantly - and they rewarded me generously with raises during my work there. Eventually, I hit a wall with a manager who would not promote me into her group, which was a NOC. At that point I left for Qualix/Fulltime (which later became Legato/EMC - we'll get to that in a moment). I saw my salary jump again - considerably, plus I had the opportunity to work from home and I was working with enterprise class software support. When Legato acquired the company I stuck it out - but EMC came in with their Networker support staff and there was too much redundancy in the employee pool. I jumped for Intel and an actual forward engineering role in IT. At this point, my salary was that $24,000 a year I made in retail PC sales, with a 1 in front of it. And I was very happy until the dot.com implosion and Intel's drastic domestic cost cutting in 2003. Should have I made these aggressive moves? The *only* one I has misgivings about was Intel. I actually had a great gig with EMC/Legato, and they ended up keeping our specialized support group on to this day. But helpdesk support, even 3rd level enterprise class IT support, was getting kind of long-in-the-tooth for me by my early 30s. I could have stayed with EMC and they could have laid off our department - and I would have been trying to break through to IT without a job during the dot.com meltdown. Now, here I am in Ohio, doing IT management - with a career history that goes from PC sales through end user and enterprise helpdesk support to IT forward engineering and systems architecture - and my salary has fallen tremendously from the highs I enjoyed. I'm with a medium sized privately owned organization instead of a Fortune 500 giant. And I'm going on year 4 and I'm still engaged and enjoying the position, and I haven't *really* gotten the bug to look elsewhere, for any reason, this entire time. My priorities have changed - but the culture out here is different, as well. Job hopping is a gamble. When you're young and can start over, you're supposed to take more risks with your investments - and the *most* important financial investment in your life is your career. You need to weigh all of your options, the risks, the rewards, and the sacrifices you may need to make to achieve your goals, and decide based on all of that data. If you live in a small area with a tight community and you don't ever want to move, you probably don't want to establish a reputation as a mercenary worker willing to jump at the first opportunity. If you're not tied to your geographic area and you see an opportunity that you can't pass by that is likely to take you where you want to be, then you would be foolish to pass the opportunity up. I don't think there is any other way to look at this other than on a case-by-case basis.

mattohare
mattohare

Where employers only seem to want cheep recent graduates.

dave.g.johnson
dave.g.johnson

Job hopping probably is not a good strategy for advancement, but it may be a good tactic, if needed. I've been with one company for 35 years, albeit in six different, progressive positions. if that hadn't happened, of course I would have considered a move, but if things are progressing, I don't see any reward in a jump for jump's sake. It seems to me that talent is usually rewarded. If not, move on.

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

Does that mean reassignments? If it does, it could mean he's being handed of to the next gut at every opportunity, because they can't find a place where he fits. Typical experience of a hopper who screws thing up and runs before he's caught. I've worked with a number of these, one was in fact a Lt. Col., USAF Res. He would have a set of orders cut for him to leave town for a few weeks when things were going baldly. We failed to renew 50 FCC net licences. He said he was "handling that as a military matter for you

john3347
john3347

Mexico actively seeks out any illegals and sends them packing.

gharlow
gharlow

I think this question really depends on your personal and psycological makeup. I for one would be bored out of my skull if I had the same job more than a year or so, and thus work as a software contractor, hopping from gig to gig. I am definitely a hare in the hare and tortoise story. Others like my younger sister have infinite patience and are dependable and stable. For her a stable government like job makes a lot more sense and allows her to manage everything.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I look round for the complete idiot they must be talking to. If there's only me in view, I figure they must be talking to themselves. Loyalty, to get it, you have to be seen to give it... Onky a total halfwit is loyal to something that won't and quite often can't return it. Get your head on straight man.

magic8ball
magic8ball

You would not hire anyone with any previous employment history? Sounds kinda flawed to me.

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

My supervisor with the city, Jack Miller. He was a man for all seasons such as yourself, and could speak knowledgeably about almost anything and made not only an excellent supervisor but an entertaining one. He started out working on gofast boats (To compete with the famous Cigarette boats) for his father's company. His father also owned a string of hotels in Miami Beach, and had been Organist for one of the theaters in the silent film era. Jack had helped in all these business ventures. Jack took a job with Florida Power as a lineman, dropped to go with NASA as a capsule technician during the Apollo program, doing everything from acceptance testing of the capsule to assisting the Astronauts to enter prior to launch. When the Apollo program wound down, Jack took a position with a business telecom company outside Birmingham, Managed the installation of the phone system in City Hall, was hired to stay on as phone system manager, was replaced by a political appointee (Mr. "B") and transferred to the cities' Radio Shop. He took a pay cut, but he was also moonlighting as founder of the rescue squad in his area, and was a fully certified Paramedic as well. He was also was Chief of Police for a small nearby town. Jack and I got hold of the Purchasing Department leased phone line records and identified over 100 out-of-use lines for which we were still paying. We turned this info over to the new telecom director "M", who immediately took all credit for the work, even getting a commendation from the city council with full press coverage. This was water off a duck's back to Jack, He and I, who had formed a pretty good team, took on the unaddressed problems at the radio shop which was being run by a man who never believed in change. Within six months we had a usable and accurate inventory database (In DOSSHELL) of all parts, tools and equipment. We set up a work order system for the very first time. We got the assignment to draw up the RFP for a new APCO 16 radio system for all city departments, providing interoperability with other communities in our area. This would be the first such attempt in the state. We hit the books, talked with salesmen, talked with The Police, Fire and EMS Chiefs, Studied the APCO 16 specs (for which I had been on committee)and and worked with the City purchasing officer (an Extra Class Ham himself)and the Law Department. On getting the proposals, we worked as hard getting out the hard bid specs. Company "M" came in with highest bid and did not meet specs, Company "G" came in with lowest bid and met or exceeded all specs. In step the politicians. The newly appointed "Communications Director", (the former Telecom Director) and says we will accept Company "M"'s bid (costing about $3.5 Million more) To shorten this far too long story, We objected publicly to the decision, and according to to "B",were no longer welcome to work for the city. We had rights, We can't be fired without just cause, so "B" said (and I recorded this) he would drive us to quit by makes our jobs unbearable. We both tried to bear his illegal tricks (and this is one field "B" excelled in) for almost a year, but I finally walked out one day ready to commit suicide. I went to a Psychiatrist who within three minutes declared that I was in no shape to work anywhere, and after further talking wrote me a 30% disability. I'm still stretching this out. Nobody is going t read it now. I sued the city and won moderately big. I'm on double retirement now, and wish I could work. Sitting around is really not what I want to do, but the incredible mental stress was too much. I have permanent brain damage. On top of that arthritis has me slowed down something awful, but I'm 65. It hits some harder than others. My point? Success is fleeting, enjoy it while your can. Treat your great job like a newborn baby. And let the damn crooked politicians have their "cut".

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

I left a good company for a big bad one, to fill pressing contracts. I completed the contracts, so now I'm on the "block". I went back to the good company who incidentally had a "no-hire-back" policy for years. They hired me back, because not only had I been a devoted employee before. but now I had added training with a top-line communications system for which we were dealers. I was warmly welcomed by my new/former co-workers, one of who actually said "We never realized how much you had done for us until you left. It's been a madhouse without you." Having the genuine appreciation and respect of my peers. I stayed there as long as I could, I had an obligation to another employer. That move I regret, More money but bad personal interrelations.

Tony_Scarpelli
Tony_Scarpelli

Good point. Employment in highly technical environments are almost fluid where stodgy rust belt cling to old rhetoric which only helps them (stick with the job/loyalty to the company and other BS) and not the emloyee family they claim you are or become. BS,BS,BS meter should be bouncing. Get yourself to Technology triangle in NC, or Denver, or California or even Texas before you get wasted away in OHIO.

sissy sue
sissy sue

I've been a contractor for over 22 years, and I don't regret it. When I was in my late 30s, I came to the conclusion that loyalty between the employer and employee is a one-way street: you give the employer loyalty and they give you the shaft. After working 8 years at a major corporation, I requested redundancy and was making more as a contractor than I had as an employee in just over a year. Employers nowadays don't deserve loyalty. The smart person knows that you get greater increases in income and more respect when you interview for a new position elsewhere than when you work your butt off for the same employer who takes advantage of you and purposely puts you in dead-end positions so that you go nowhere. The politics in most businesses are such that "yes" men and women who brown-nose the right people are fast-tracked while the brilliant maverick is shafted. Most of us have got to get into the fact that your employer is not your mommy or daddy. Their paternalistic treatment of you is not a sign of love; it's a sign of their control over you. Take the bull by the horns and shape your own destiny. By and large, that means that you make a move before you hit that dead end at your present place of employment. Sorry for being cynical; that is the realism of work life today.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

but if you find one of those rare places where it is, and you have it, you'd have to be an eejit to move. The real problem with job hopping is, it doesn't indicate whether you are doing it to try to move onwards and upwards, or to avoid being found wanting.

BradTD
BradTD

Loyalty is a myth in today's working world as a whole. I've seen friends, family, and colleages burned by it in the form of job loss in various fields. It almost happened to me recently as well, and for sure it has changed my perspective on the environment I've slaved away in the past 16 years. What a wake-up call!

JamesRL
JamesRL

Employees would leave for greener pastures, and then when things weren't as expected, they came back. We even had a name for it - boomerangs. So it wasn't a mark against them to leave, unless of course they went to a competitor. It was hoped by senior management, that experience somewhere else might bring some new ideas and approaches back to the company. Of course they would only rehire someone that was a valued employee when they left....

Tony_Scarpelli
Tony_Scarpelli

I couldn't make sense, thought I ended in the wrong thread? You might start with your point and then illestrate it.

richard.artes
richard.artes

it shows how policies can be "circumvented" if they really want you... also nice to hear you do get some appreciation sometimes!

joeller
joeller

Mark Twain once said, "No generalization is true. Not even this one." You statement about companies only taking advantage of employees makes me feel sorry for you. There are companies and companies. Also there are bosses and bosses. I have worked for some of the best and worse bosses around. I have worked for big mega companies that provide you with incredible health care, on premise day care, automatic paid life insurance, and a great pension plan. I have worked for some small companies that would lay you off in a heartbeat, gave you minimal health care and leave and were constantly trying to reduce that. Yet some of my best bosses were with the worse companies and vice versa. So basically it depends on where you work and who you work for.

dcolbert
dcolbert

With your assessment. HR and business leadership, by necessity, invokes a lot of this discussion about employee loyalty, about the importance of staff as a #1 resource, almost on the level of patriotic propaganda. But ultimately, companies act as independent entities looking out for their best interests. It is important for employees to understand this, and adjust their behavior and outlook appropriately.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Being a long term tech, I've no desire to be a manager instead. The ideal employer is one who values your skill and your abiity to apply it enough to let you keep up to date with the tools. One's who believe that that because you can code in version 1 you can do as well or better with version 2. If you find yourself being square pegged as an XXX developer as opposed to a developer, then up sticks and get the heck out. Otherwise you end up on the job market with 15 years of batch file processing in cobol or some such and a very limited set of opportunities. That was the choice of the gits who employed you. Don't work for gits for two days never mind two to twenty years. While I agree wholeheartedly with you about domain experience, very few employers do when looking at tech roles. Compelled to stay or compelled to move, is more perception than reality.

Tony_Scarpelli
Tony_Scarpelli

It is not a matter of opinion - Study after study finds that people who change jobs every 2-3 years advance much faster than those who try and stay and be loyal. Are there exceptions yes both ways are extreme exceptions. But for most of us here is what the factors are: Only a very few of us are lucky enough to find the right employer, job, corporation with the right mix of mentoring, OJT, advancing challenges to keep us happy and well trained and well prepared for the future in IT. These things are often very deficent in small companies but not always. Sometimes you get better mentoring in a smaller company with less politics but less upward opportunity to shine. The top IT guy at a small company might earn an entry level salary at a very large Corporation. I remember a day when knowledge and experience in basic hardware diagnostic, Dos and Novel was enough to get you in the door at most IT departments. Companies the size of Cessna, Beechcraft, Learjet would hire you as well as many others. Of course you would have to keep up with Windows 3, 3.11, 95, 98, NT, 2000, XP, Vista and 7, as well as Exchange Server...., as well as IE....., as well as Office Suites....and now you probably need at least one programing language and a good working knowledge of Websight design and development. You may have 20 technologies listed on an updated resume to get in front of a decision maker. Even in smaller organizations you might have kept up with the workstation, server, hardware, office suites stuff and you might even have gotten exchange, iis, site server and terminal server....but not every small company would have rounded out your IT skills. Not only withiin the field of IT would you get more experience across multiple organizations but in Business process, control, service, marketing and function is experienced gained across multiple jobs. If you truly feel compelled to stay in one place you might consider volunteering at the local Rescue Union, BoyScotts, UnitedWay, RedCross to help them implement and manage their projects. This gives you wider skills without taking you off your current job. It is true that motivated, knowledgable and intelligent talent will always flow to the top of the pile but if that pile is only 1-2 or even 3 deep that is pretty limiting as far as life prosects. Lateral moves are also helpful to stay with one company but very risky in my opinion as if the company does let you go you are now behind on your skills while you were in shipping for 12 months.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

in a newly privatised ex-nationalised industry. In fact I worked for the bits no one else wanted. Never knew whether I had a job from one week to the next, everything was cost reduction, downsizing, resizing, do we need it, etc. Halved the workforce in two years, kept my job because I was cheap and useful, certainly wasn't noblesse oblige on manager's part, they were playing musical chairs to a thrash metal back beat on fast forward.

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

Obviously I don't have a talent for composition. I tend to drag that story out at any opportunity, and probably wasted your time. My point was to be that signing on for a long-term, permanent position can start out great, but wind up disastrously. I could be easily convinced that job-hopping has it's benefits, but keep that retirement account up-to date.

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