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  1. #1

    How long do you have to stay at a job before it’s considered “Job Hopping?”

    How long do you have to stay at a job before it’s considered “Job Hopping?”

    I have heard so many opinions on this. Some people say 6 months, some people say two years. What do most employers think about this?

    Honestly, if you want to leave a job after 6 months and start applying for a new one, you have nothing to lose because if employers think that you are job hopping they simply won’t give you any interviews. And if they call you up for and interview but question why you want a new job, you can simply say “the job I took was not as it was described to me at my interview” or “I learned everything and felt that I needed to have a position that was more challenging.” This seems to work just fine for me.

    Also, in my job, I have been here 9 months and have totally mastered everything that I do. I can do my entire job in my sleep. I am ready to take the next step and get a more respected, more challenging job (the company that I work for has no interest in promoting me, so I have to leave to get ahead). I don’t think that I should stay where I am at for 2 years just so I can’t be deemed a “job hopper.” That would be stupid. I can make $15,000 more a year if I switch jobs and also have a job that I actually enjoy. Yet, people have been cautioning me to not job hop.

    So, what is the deal with job hopping? What do you have to do to become classified as a job hopper? Some people, like me with a master degree but not real world experience, had to start out way down at the bottom of the barrel with very simple entry level jobs. Yet I quickly moved up the ladder because my master’s skills made me very capable at these simple positions. But that also means I am flying through the bottom rungs of entry level jobs. After six months, these jobs can be mastered and I am ready for the next more difficult position. That’s not job hopping, that just moving up the ladder more quickly than normal.

    What do you all think is considered job hopping, and under what circumstances is it a bad idea?

  2. #2
    A year is the norm, I'd say.

    Although, in some industries 'job hopping' is to be expected. Think sales, advertising, clerical, call center, manufacturing, etc.

    I have had 4 different jobs in 5 years since college and I've yet to be denied an interview because of being viewed as disloyal or a 'job hopper'.

    As long as there are sensible reasons for leaving the jobs one has had in the past, I don't think it's as much of a stigma as most might suggest. Just be prepared to explain EACH and EVERY job change you've underwent.

    Another thing -

    In today's day and age, HR people almost expect to see twenty-something college graduates bounce from place to place in the years following graduation. People don't just get out of college and find themselves in their dream job. It takes some trial and error to get to what fits well for both the employee and the employer.

  3. #3
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    Job hopping is more about a pattern of it than anything else.

    I tend to have a personal rule that I won't apply for/consider/accept a position unless I can be reasonably sure up front that I'm willing to commit to the workplace AND location for a three-year minimum. I've had two jobs since graduating with my BA in 1999.

    Part of this is because changing jobs for me has generally always necessitated a move, and I really just refuse to move unless I'm gonna be somewhere a few years.
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

  4. #4
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    I just completed my first year of true work experience after getting my master's in 2005. I think a two-three year minimum for me in part because I don't have enough experience under my belt to say that I want something different because I'm still learning the ropes.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by beeblebrox
    I just completed my first year of true work experience after getting my master's in 2005. I think a two-three year minimum for me in part because I don't have enough experience under my belt to say that I want something different because I'm still learning the ropes.
    Good point. I know, for myself, it takes time to get through the "being new" feeling and really get to the meat of learning the job, and sinking the time and practice into the duties and tasks. Except for those gut-level certainties you sometimes get (I knew within a month of student teaching that it was NOT the gig for me), I generally feel that I have to give something a fair shot before I can make a really level-headed decision about whether or not it's for me. Being new at something is ALWAYS sucky and stressful for me...I hated being a sixth grader and beginning junior high, I hated being a high school freshman and not knowing the ropes, and I hated being a college freshman and not knowing everything going in. I'm not good at being new at things, it makes me uneasy to know the trial and error/tons of mistakes that await me. So experience has taught me that I have to allow myself to get through that before I judge something as a good or not good fit.
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

  6. #6
    I struggle with this myself. I have only been at my ft job for 7 months, but I'm ready to move on. This is my second job in my industry, but first in my career path. I stayed at the first job for a year and then got this one. I'm trying to make it here a year also, but I do have 2 other jobs which are wearing me down. I don't feel like I'm growing or have learned anything new. I'm ready to move to a friendlier place with a lower cost of living and hopefully a small pay raise.
    From my observances, it seems employers are more accepting of job hoppers. My employer here realizes that people jump ship often even mentioning to me during my interview that they offer a substantial raise if you make it to the three year point because that's when people start looking around. I have no intention of making it three years. I'm already looking around but not actively applying yet. As soon as that year hits I will though and hope to find something within 6 months after that.

  7. #7
    I think "job-hopping" is a label applied when you leave several gigs after less than a year... if you made a bad choice right off the bat, leaving your first job before the end of a year won't destroy your career. But if you keep on doing it, that sends up red flags to employers (at least in my mind)
    That being said, it varies by industry. Attorneys with less than 3 years of experience are treated like new law school grads... so I am stuck here for another year and a half before I can be a serious contender for a better gig in my field.

    It can't hurt to look, though, right?

  8. #8
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    The job I am currently looking into specifies the willingness to make a two-year commitment on the part of any applicant.
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

  9. #9
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    I think in my field (social work) it's actually pretty common for people not to stay in a job longer than 2 years. However, it's the ONLY having "6 months here, 3 months there" jobs listed on a resume that raises an eye for an employer in my field. Like was mentioned already, "pattern behavior".

  10. #10
    I’m not in the HR sect so I don’t know how many jobs kept for how sort a duration makes you a "job-hopper" or how detrimental that label is. I do know switching jobs has becoming more common, especially for young workers. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that anyone in school now will have 10-14 jobs by age 38, that 1 in every 4 workers today is with a company they have been employed under for less than a year and 1 in every 2 is with a company they have been employed under for less than 5 years.

    "Job-hoppers" are becoming more normal. I see it as the result of two things 1) An economy and labor market in transition and 2) Downsizing and outsourcing. With all the American workforce has been though, loyalty is something that’s hard to expect and somewhat hypocritical for employers to ask for.
    "It was as though day-to-day twentieth century living had become an unsolvable algebraic equation." - Douglas Coupland

  11. #11
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    You bring up a good point; however, job-hopping because you are forced out by downsizing/outsourcing looks a tad bit different than job-hopping by personal choice because you get bored easily.
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

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