Switching Jobs Every Three Years

Vivian Giang over at Fast Company magazine has a very interesting article entitled “You Should Plan On Switching Jobs Every Three Years For The Rest Of Your Life”.

You can view the article here.

Image Courtesy of Creative Commons by © Mish Sukharev
Image Courtesy of Creative Commons by © Mish Sukharev http://ow.ly/Xre2j

Vivian writes:

Changing jobs every couple of years used to look bad on a resume. It told recruiters you can’t hold down a job, can’t get along with colleagues, or that you’re simply disloyal and can’t commit.

That stigma is fast becoming antiquated—especially as millennials rise in the workplace with expectations to continuously learn, develop, and advance in their careers.

She goes on to say:

There are a lot of arguments for jumping ship every few years. The economy isn’t what it used to be—and never will be again. Workers who stay with a company longer than two years are said to get paid 50% less, and job hoppers are believed to have a higher learning curve, be higher performers, and even to be more loyal, because they care about making a good impression in the short amount of time they know they’ll stay with each employer.

Vivian goes on to quote author & career advisor Penelope Trunk. Penelope tells Vivian:

“In terms of managing your own career, if you don’t change jobs every three years, you don’t develop the skills of getting a job quickly, so then you don’t have any career stability. You’re just completely dependent on the place that you work as if it’s 1950, and you’re going to get a gold watch at the end of a 50-year term at your company.”

My experience as a Recruiter is consistent with what both Vivian and Penelope say.
When I first started as a Recruiter 24 years ago, you never wanted to present a “job-hopper” to your client. Anyone who had a track record of frequent job changes was usually perceived by our clients as being an “inferior” candidate.

However the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. Ironically – if I present a candidate to a client who stayed with their company for an extended period of time – that candidate is frequently viewed as not being ambitious, not wanting to be challenged and unable to adapt to new situations/environments.

It is a different world out there. And while no one is advocating changing jobs simply for the sake of changing jobs, I think it is fair to agree with Vivian when she writes that it is time to abandon “the belief of past generations that you cling to an employer over a lifetime in the hopes that your long-term employer will treat you fairly in the end with a matching 401(k) plan, among other benefits.”