Job Hopping

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Here’s a question from my inbox.

Can you please comment on your views of candidates with “job hopping” experience on their resume? Solid, well-educated, candidates? Jobs that increase in responsibility and/or breadth of experience, but for whatever reason (lay off, family medical situations, bad management, etc.) find themselves with only 2 years’ average with any one employer? Is this necessarily a bad thing? From the candidate’s perspective, how would you recommend addressing this in an interview (or cover letter?)? From the recruiter/hiring manager perspective, why is this such a bad thing?

And hey, since I’m hoping you will anonymize my question if you do decide to post it, I’ll be blunt honest and confess that yes, I am the candidate in question. 10+ years in HR. SPHR cert. Masters in HR Mgmt. I’ve moved (within Los Angeles, but hey, it’s a large place), had to deal with personal health issues, and most recently, a shit-for-brains CFO that didn’t know the first thing about overseeing HR.

Any advice? Maybe Scrubby can help?

Okay, so I’m going to tell you something: employees are capitalists, too, and nobody works at a job forever. It’s okay to change jobs.

That being said, job hopping every two years looks weird if you are over the age of thirty.

Gen Xers and early Gen Yers are expected to have at least one entry on their resumes that’s longer than three years. The economy was in a different place between 1995-2005 and it wasn’t all that hard to keep a job for thirty-six months. You were expected to do it.

This new cohort of job seekers is different. They suffer from fewer job opportunities + depressed wages + lower test scores (fact). We expect less of them. Job hopping every two years is okay because they are dumb and lack options.

Now listen, bad luck is bad luck. I get it. And I’m the kind of woman who doesn’t do anything for more than 24 months — but I don’t have kids and I have a portfolio lifestyle that allows me to float around and earn my income in a non-traditional way. If you have a traditional lifestyle and you find yourself hopping around, you need to ask yourself some questions.

  • Why does this keep happening to me?
  • Why can’t I see the long-term implications of my choices?
  • Why do I keep falling into the same pattern of accepting crappy jobs?

I like to ask — what’s the worst thing that happens by working in a shitty job where no one respects you? Well, this is America, and the worst thing that happens is that you get paid to show up and no one fires you. That’s not too bad. And the best thing about sticking with a shitty job? You can do other things with your time while you’re supposed to be working. Look for another job, start a company, or get really good at Words With Friends.

Stop job hopping unless you are a dumb kid with shit-for-brains. Even your CFO knows better.

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