My Generation: Job-Hopping

August 30, 2016 Mary Ellen Pyle

I said a hip hop,

The hippie, the hippie,

To the hip, hip hop, and you don’t stop, rock it…

From “Rapper’s Delight”

In September 1979, when many of us were attempting to sing along with The Sugarhill Gang, career-long employment at a single company was still the rule. Leaving a job for after a year or less was a sign of inst

ability and lack of focus. Professional expectations (and Hip Hop) have evolved in the last 37 years; jumping from job to job is now a normal career path. Or is it? Studies show that job-hopping has more to do with life stage than generation; baby boomers were just as likely as millennials to job-hop

 in their 20s.*

We posed the question to a person from each generation to hear about their experiences with job-

hopping. Is one group more transient than the other? Here’s what they said.     

Image result for job hopping

OUR QUESTIONS

Career employees are becoming less of the norm as people more frequently move on to new jobs after a year or less of employment. What do you think are the pros and cons of job hopping? Is it a practice that you see your peers adopting?  

THE RESPONSES

The Millennial

Millennials, my peers, are definitely adopting the job-hopping trend. While employers may not be happy about training and time spent on these ‘job-hoppers’, it’s not always in the best interest of the employee and even the employer to stay with a company with whom they are not engaged. Staying could cause lower productivity and even a lower morale among co-workers.

Image result for goldfishPeople nowadays have shorter attention spans, which makes it harder to maintain interest in a job that’s not interesting, challenging or providing enough incentives/benefits. Employers aren’t catching on to this quickly enough, causing the younger generation to move on to bigger and better things, therefore job-hopping. Not to mention that people are more educated today making it easier to land a new role at a job that’s more desirable.

It’s not the sole responsibility of the employer to constantly make the job interesting, but if employees are bored of their work, they will move on. This allows the employee to broaden his/her work experience and discover what truly makes him/her happy. In return, when the employee actually does stay, you can bet he is putting his best foot forward and has the company’s best interest at heart.

Generation X

Image result for tortoiseIn the race of life, I’m a tortoise. I stuck with my first job for 25 years because, honestly, it never occurred to me to look for something different. I was able to move up within the organization and was continually learning. I recall many of my peers also stayed with their first jobs for extended periods, but as we have begun the downhill slide to 50, my fellow Gen Xers are on the move. My opinion is that the shake-up stems from the easing of the 2008 recession, retiring baby boomers creating job vacancies, and a universal case of mid-life crisis. It’s the perfect storm.

I took a new job six months ago, and it’s made me realize that staying in one place for too long limited my experiences, my cumulative income, and circle of professional contacts. However, as I mentioned I am a tortoise, so changing jobs willy-nilly seems fraught with perils: Newbies are bigger targets for layoffs, frequent moves prevent lasting connections and, even given the evolving culture, it just looks bad.   I believe it’s wiser to choose opportunities that align with a plan rather than make a change for the sake of making a change.  

Baby Boomer

My peers don’t move that much. I’ve been at my current job 11 years and my previous job, 28 years. I did, however, in my 20s, move often as I tried to find a job that not only offered more money but also gave me a sense of self-satisfaction for accomplishment.

Image result for new challengeThe pros to moving to new position include making more money, taking on more responsibility, tackling a new challenge and the satisfaction of being recruited. I see the possible cons as being more reflective: readjusting from a known routine, giving up relationships with co-workers, a concern that ability is equal to the new job and regret if the new job is no better than the old job. 

*Casselman B. (2015) Enough Already About The Job-Hopping Millennials. FiveThirtyEight.com. March 2015. Retrieved from http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/enough-already-about-the-job-hopping-millennials/  

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About the Author

Mary Ellen Pyle

Mary Ellen Pyle is a Marketing Manager and demand generation expert at Perks.com

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