According to a recent Business Insider article, employees at big technology companies tend to frequently switch jobs. People working for Uber usually stay about a year, whereas employees for Airbnb, Twitter, Snap, and Apple stay almost two years on average. But is switching jobs in the tech industry a “thing”? Some argue that job hopping is a losing game. From the outside, it looks like you can’t stay in a job for very long, but from an inside perspective, it’s not a good long-term strategy. These are the reasons why some believe it’s not good to job hop. But I slightly disagree.
Their argument: Relationships are, in many ways, how we land jobs. They’re also how we can make connections and figure out what is important to us from a professional perspective. The argument for not job hopping is also that you need to build trust, and you can’t do that unless you stay in a job for a lengthy period of time.
My argument: Yes, we build relationships, but those should be about quality not quantity in terms of how long we’re with a company. Further, I would argue that we should also be landing these jobs on merit. I understand if you’ve switched your job five times in the last year – that doesn’t look good. But switching from Airbnb to Twitter after two years shouldn’t make you a pariah. You’re building a portfolio and learning what you want to do with your life.
Their argument: If you’re only staying with a company for a year or two, you’re cheating yourself out of real learning opportunities. When you start a new role, a lot of those initial months are really just figuring things out. If you leave after a few months you haven’t given yourself a chance to grow into the job.
My argument: I agree with this – if you leave after a few months. But the report suggests that on average people are staying a year or more. Which means you’ve had enough time for those learning opportunities. In fact, I am in the process of changing jobs after five years and I can tell you how little learning actually took place. Not because I didn’t want to learn, but because there was no opportunity to do so. I think it’s unfair to put people in the “unlearnable” box if they only stay with a company for a year or two.
Their argument: One or two short stints on your resume is ok. But if you’re moving in and out of jobs after one or two years, you look like you have no loyalty. This becomes a commitment issue. Especially since employers spend a lot of money when it comes to recruiting.
My argument: I actually agree with this one to a certain extent. This does look bad. Think about if you’re dating someone who has been in several short-term relationships. Now we all have our reasons for ending relationships, which includes jobs, but the perception is bad. And perhaps you need to look inward to figure out what’s going on? That said, younger people aren’t committed to staying in jobs as long, and I can’t really blame them. I love change. I don’t necessarily love all the headaches that come with change, but being able to do something different and in a big way is kind of great.
Gone are the days of having the same job for 25 years. Or better yet – retiring from the job you started at. I commend people who can stick with a company for an extended period of time. I think that’s great and it shows certain characteristics. But what’s worse – looking like you can’t commit, or staying in a job because you feel obligated to look committed? I have seen more unhappy people working at the same job for 10 years, than anyone who switches jobs more frequently. I’m not saying to do this every 6 months, or even a year. But if you’ve given a job 2-3 years of your time, what’s stopping you from moving on?
The job market is changing, employers. You’re going to see people changing jobs more frequently than you did before. You’re going to have to adjust for that. There are certain industries where a high turn over isn’t great (nursing, for example), but I think that there’s value from the employee’s perspective to shop around every couple of years to see what else is out there. But like I said, do it within reason.