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Is Switching Jobs Too Often a Bad Thing? 208

Posted by Cliff
from the do-you-have-to-settle-somewhere-careerwise dept.
Career Hot Potato asks: "I've been out of school for little more than a year and I have only good things to say about the job market. So far, there doesn't seem to be any lack of demand for a good .NET developer. I've got to admit, though, I feel a little disloyal at this point. Several great job offers have come my way and I've taken them. My resume is starting to make me look a bit restless and it worries me. Until now I've just chalked it up to 'I'm just settling in,' but now another opportunity has been dropped into my lap. Would I be digging my own grave by taking this job? It'd be my fourth job in 16 months but each offered a promotion and a 30% to 40% raise. I know better than to put a price on job satisfaction but I'm pretty certain I'd be happy there. Is being branded as a 'hot potato' enough to keep you from switching? What's your price on this stigma?"
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Is Switching Jobs Too Often a Bad Thing?

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  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Monday February 26, 2007 @04:50AM (#18150370) Homepage Journal
    So far, there doesn't seem to be any lack of demand for a good .NET developer.

    Excellent! What's the market like for evil .NET developers?
    • Excellent! What's the market like for evil .NET developers?

      in .net, you are paid more; it is a position working for MS.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        in .net, you are paid more; it is a position working for MS.

        I believe you meant to say:

        in .net, you are paid more, because it is a position working under MS.

        (imagine Ballmer as your MS avatar for the truly horrifying image).
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by MindStalker (22827)
          working under MS.

          Just got this horrible image of the scene from Office Space with the boss having sex with his GF. Except with Ballmer.
    • by BerntB (584621)
      Was that a spam ad for this [greatsfandf.com] book? :-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

      Excellent! What's the market like for evil .NET developers?

      You newbie, he's using the *Advanced* rules. The question should be, is the OP chaotic good or chaotic neutral?
  • by asb (1909) on Monday February 26, 2007 @04:52AM (#18150374) Homepage
    Yes! Switching jobs often makes you look like a "job hopper". You can do it once but your resume should have a job that spans several years right after it. That way you can lie about the short job and get away with it.
    • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:04AM (#18150452) Homepage Journal
      You can do it once but your resume should have a job that spans several years right after it. That way you can lie about the short job and get away with it.

      Hmmmmmn, I'm not so sure, while a job change every four months is a little much, while the offers keep flowing in (ie, he's not actively job hunting), no problem.

      As far as resumes go, who cares, fluff it out. Drop off the the job who'll give you the worst references/referee & extend the other jobs in a month, with a two month 'sabbatical'* in the middle.

      Switching jobs can be bad, but if you're being offered jobs, basically, don't stress about it. Take the job if you think its better (pay, stability, working environemnt, proximity to home, etc).

      * When you're asked about your sabbatical in your interview, say you wanted time to learn $.Net_related_thing and had enough saving to take some time off.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by asb (1909)

        Switching jobs can be bad, but if you're being offered jobs, basically, don't stress about it. Take the job if you think its better (pay, stability, working environemnt, proximity to home, etc).

        Note that I was talking about career. If you can not show that you have been able to hold a job for several years, nobody will give you a job when you have to look for one. Just like the previous IT bubble, this one won't last forever. I had two six month jobs and a one year job during the last bubble. And now every time I was in an interview after them I got asked why I switched so often. Luckily, the one year job ended up in bankruptcy so I could explain them convincingly.

        Your future employee prosp

        • by daeg (828071) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:03AM (#18151750)

          Your future employee prospects will question those four jobs during the 16 months (or will it be 5 jobs in 20 month). Your employee does not want to invest in someone who jumps ship in four months.
          Jumping ship so often also cannot be easily explained when you have a long term pattern of it. If I were interviewing someone, regardless of what they said, it would raise major red flags. Despite good references, it would still be in the back of my mind that you left for a reason other than the next job offer. Did you screw a project up and left before they found out who or how bad it was? Did you make a bad move for the business? Did you just not know enough? Over your head? Did you not get along with coworkers?

          Those are all things you do not want your interviewer to think.

          Also, depending on how your new employer found you, it may have been a very, very expensive process. A lot of staffing/head hunter companies are locking companies into contracts, e.g., you will pay us for 6 months regardless of how long the employee works. So if you leave at 4 months, you're really, really screwing the company (out of work and out of (tens) thousands of dollars depending on your pay rate). Loyal or not, that will make ensuring those references are good ones more difficult over time.
          • by FLEB (312391)
            Sooo... get letters of positive reference?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Jumping ship so often also cannot be easily explained when you have a long term pattern of it. If I were interviewing someone, regardless of what they said, it would raise major red flags.

            Exactly.

            The other thing to consider from the original question is the benefits claimed. If this person is really getting a "promotion" each four months, then that tells you how much the promotions are worth. Similarly, while 30-40% per jump is on the high side, it seems normal in this industry for salaries to start p

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by xenocide2 (231786)

            Jumping ship so often also cannot be easily explained when you have a long term pattern of it. If I were interviewing someone, regardless of what they said, it would raise major red flags.

            Of course, so far all his jobs have been offers given to him while he was still employed. Each company hired him away from the last one, probably knowing the situation. If you refuse to hire anyone with signs of disloyalty, you'll be limiting your candidate search to the unemployed. More long term, it sounds like he's a y

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by walt-sjc (145127)
        A resume with lots of short term jobs looks VERY bad to employers. While right NOW he is getting a lot of job offers, that probably won't ALWAYS be the case, and a "Job Hopping" resume will look bad in the case where he is actively looking for a new job. In other words, plan for the future (not just tomorrow.) If you have been a contractor, list your client jobs under a single "employment" section, with clients listed inside that so it's obvious what was going on, and that you weren't actually a job hopper.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cornjones (33009)

          A resume with lots of short term jobs looks VERY bad to employers. While right NOW he is getting a lot of job offers, that probably won't ALWAYS be the case, and a "Job Hopping" resume will look bad in the case where he is actively looking for a new job.

          This was my first thought as well but that is still no reason not to take this job. He doesn't have a strong accumulated time at his current job so the next one will be no different. You are going to want to have some time at SOME job before you start hopping around. As mentioned above, there is no reason to put every job you had on the resume. At a year out of school, nobody is looking for you to have been there for long term anyway. As long as the current job offer is better, I would say go for it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Doctor Memory (6336)

            there is no reason to put every job you had on the resume

            Until you happen to run into someone who worked with you at one of the places you didn't list, and your manager says "Hey, I didn't know you worked at SomeCo". Then they check your resume and see that you didn't mention it, and they start wondering what else you didn't mention. Especially if you fudge your start/end dates, then it's not just an oversight, it's a lie. And lying on your resume is a Very Bad Thing....

      • by hrieke (126185)

        As far as resumes go, who cares, fluff it out. Drop off the the job who'll give you the worst references/referee & extend the other jobs in a month, with a two month 'sabbatical'* in the middle.

        No one will risk the slander lawsuit and give a bad reference, and fibbing on your resume is a bad way to start a career. Any company that is asked about your employment will simply say, "Yes, Joe worked here from ___ to ___, and had a salary in the range of $xxxxx.", and that's it.

        Now on job switching, it's alw

      • As far as resumes go, who cares, fluff it out. Drop off the the job who'll give you the worst references/referee & extend the other jobs in a month, with a two month 'sabbatical'* in the middle....* When you're asked about your sabbatical in your interview, say you wanted time to learn $.Net_related_thing and had enough saving to take some time off.

        While IANAL, the above is NOT good advise. Yes, you can drop a job off your resume; but DO NOT LIE ABOUT WHY and do not extend other jobs to cover up that

    • by nacturation (646836) <nacturation.gmail@com> on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:11AM (#18150496) Journal
      I've been out of my parent's basement for little more than a year and I have only good things to say about the dating market. So far, there doesn't seem to be any lack of demand for a good geek. I've got to admit, though, I feel a little disloyal at this point. Several girls have come my way and I've taken them. My list of ex-girlfriends is starting to make me look a bit restless and it worries me. Until now I've just chalked it up to 'It's just hormones,' but now another chick has been dropped into my lap. Would I be digging my own grave by taking this girl? It'd be only my fourth time speaking to a woman in 19 years but each offered benefits and a 30% to 40% increase in cup size. I know better than to put a price on satisfaction but I'm pretty certain I'd be happy with her even though all I ever do with girls is hold hands. Is being branded as a 'hot potato' enough to keep you from switching? What's your price on this stigma?
       
      • by Bob54321 (911744)
        I'm impressed. A 30% to 40% increase of bust size over four women is somewhere between a 280% to 380% increase overall!
        If this was anywhere else on the internet I might believe you but on Slashdot we have difficulty believing the girlfriend thing.
        • by mobby_6kl (668092)
          >If this was anywhere else on the internet I might believe you but on Slashdot we have difficulty believing the girlfriend thing.

          It's not as unreasonable as you might think. He probably started dating a flat-chested 12 year old, and then upgraded to a 14 y/o...
      • by RyoShin (610051)
        Yes, but women generally take your money, rather than give it to you.
      • by StressGuy (472374) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:17PM (#18153850)
        I've been out of my parent's basement for little more than a year and I have only good things to say about the dating market

        Some of those eHarmony chicks are hot!

        So far, there doesn't seem to be any lack of demand for a good geek

        A real-live woman actually talked to me yesterday

        I've got to admit, though, I feel a little disloyal at this point. Several girls have come my way and I've taken them. My list of ex-girlfriends is starting to make me look a bit restless and it worries me

        I've yet to make it past the first date

        Until now I've just chalked it up to 'It's just hormones,'

        One or two of them have restaining orders against me

        but now another chick has been dropped into my lap.

        I crashed into her shopping cart at the supermarket

        Would I be digging my own grave by taking this girl?

        {Most likely}

        It'd be only my fourth time speaking to a woman in 19 years

        {The most accurate statement made so far}

        but each offered benefits and a 30% to 40% increase in cup size.

        {The most in-accurate statment you've made so far}

        I know better than to put a price on satisfaction but I'm pretty certain I'd be happy with her even though all I ever do with girls is hold hands.

        {if you're getting that far with this one...hold onto that}

        Is being branded as a 'hot potato' enough to keep you from switching? What's your price on this stigma?

        "hot potato" = Horny and Fat

    • by Wansu (846)

        You can do it once but your resume should have a job that spans several years right after it.

      Several years? I must be getting old. I remember when only staying a couple years was considered job hopping.

      • by Sparr0 (451780)
        I have been at my current "job" (read: contract position that comes with a desk and no set end date) for about 6 months now, a similar position to the original poster with increased salary offered for new positions ever 6ish months for the past few years (minimum wage then, $18/hr now, two offers on the table for $25ish but I like where I am now and the people I work with)... Your post made me chuckle because recently one of the guys at a desk across from mine got a watch and a pin from the company for 25
    • by arivanov (12034) on Monday February 26, 2007 @06:13AM (#18150802) Homepage
      You do not need to lie and should not lie. If a job was not working out or somebody headhunted you with a vastly superior offer out of it you might as well say it. Everything else aside the hiring person can nowdays easily find what happened to you in your previous jobs. In that case a lie will be clearly not in your favour.

      The world is getting smaller and smaller and with sites like linkedin around it will take less than 15 seconds for someone to find a suitable "informal" reference. So a lie is quite likely to cost you the next job. Same for doctoring CVs, putting fake "Senior" into the job title, putting fake "responsibilities" like "mentoring junior developers" and other usual bollocks stuff people do to get themselves pushed into the higher salary bracket.

      Always presume that your interviewer has looked you up on social networking sites and already has a reference for you or two before doing anything stupid (these are my observations from recently looking for a job).
      • by khanyisa (595216)
        The alternative is to use your new job offer to negotiate a comparable salary from your current employer. That way you keep the job and the stable image, and you get the benefits
    • I say - it depends.

      In the past 6 years I've had 6 different jobs. They looked like:

      3 years with a government org
      6 months with a startup as an independent contractor
      3 months as a contractor with a financial
      1.25 years with a startup
      9 months with a private org
      4 months on my current job

      However, what you don't see is that between the first and second, we moved. The two contract jobs were easy to explain (contract expired), then between job 4 and 5 we moved, and 5 and 6 we moved.

      So, if you are just hopping to hop
    • by Bamafan77 (565893)

      "Yes! Switching jobs often makes you look like a "job hopper". You can do it once but your resume should have a job that spans several years right after it. That way you can lie about the short job and get away with it."

      This is old school thinking. Increasingly even FTEs are being treated like contractors these days. I like the mercantilist thinking espoused by Die Broke [slashdot.org]. Basically you should look at yourself the same way professional athletes do - you are paid a certain amount based on your perceived

  • A job is a job (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DsNchNtD (1065188) on Monday February 26, 2007 @04:56AM (#18150402)
    The way I see it, if you end up getting a job you are pretty much set. The only thing it could hurt is your ability to GET a job, not KEEP it. As long as you are happy with the latest offer and stick with it you should be able to put in enough time to get passed the whole 'hot potato' phase before you need to look for another. Go with what will make you happy while making the most money =P
    • Agreed (Score:4, Interesting)

      by samael (12612) * <Andrew@Ducker.org.uk> on Monday February 26, 2007 @06:36AM (#18150902) Homepage
      If you're being offered jobs then your new employer is fine with the amount of job-hopping you're doing. If you're not, then you're stuck in your current one until your CV looks better. In either case, you don't need to worry about anything - except for taking a job that you hate, in case you get stuck there.
    • Re:A job is a job (Score:4, Interesting)

      by eht (8912) on Monday February 26, 2007 @10:21AM (#18152426)
      One big problem I see happening is he gets a new job for 30-40% more money from a company that can't afford him and he then loses his job. Company could close down, get bought out or any number of things or plain decides they don't want him. Now this isn't the dot bomb era anymore but these things still happen. Now when he goes to looks for a job and has 4 jobs in 16 months and no one wants to hire him for anywhere near the money he was making at his last job this can become a problem.
  • Not if... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vexinator (253312) on Monday February 26, 2007 @04:57AM (#18150414)
    I've got a book here by Gordon Miller, called Quit Your Job Often and Get Big Raises.
    Switching jobs regularly can be fantastic for your career - but you have to do it intelligently: leave AFTER you finish a big project.

    (disclaimer: I'm a contractor - it's a whole other way of making a living.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by infinite9 (319274)
      disclaimer: I'm a contractor - it's a whole other way of making a living.

      So am I. I was thinking that he would make a perfect whore. Make double. Less politics. More interesting projects. More respect. More freedom. I'll never be a wage slave again.
  • Yes (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 26, 2007 @04:57AM (#18150416)

    Is Switching Jobs Too Often a Bad Thing?

    Yes, doing anything too often is a bad thing.

    Hope that helps.
  • It can be (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:02AM (#18150438)
    As with anything else, there's no hard and fast rules, but it can be a bad thing because it makes you look like a disloyal salary chaser. One of the (many) problems in the .com era was that people would jump form ship to ship chasing higher salaries. You'd get trained people leaving a job they'd been at for a number of years and then hop across 5 different startups. Well, when the market came down is it and wonder that companies were less inclined to hire them? I mean who's to say they wouldn't jump ship as soon as a bigger number came along?

    However please don't take this to mean you should try and stick with a company no matter what. You do not owe your company anything other than good work and you shouldn't stick around in a situation that sucks. However do take in to consideration that what goes around comes around in terms of loyalty.

    My personal rule would be don't switch jobs without a good reason. There are lots of things that could be a good reason, but just a salary increase really isn't. There's much more to happiness than money and if you get in a game of chasing dollars it is easy to make yourself unhappy. Figure out what you want out of work and try to find a place that offers that. Then stay there unless there's a reason to move. Also consider other things like work environment, benefits (such a vacation, health coverage), and so on.

    So don't turn this down just because you feel you are switching too often, but don't take it just because it is more dollars, unless you are in a situation where you need the money (in which case ask yourself why, and make sure you don't get there again). Take it if it will be better for your long term happiness. Money is certainly a part of that, but consider all the factors.

    Do this not only because you want to be happy, but because it is easier to explain to a future employer if they ask about it. If they say "You have a lot of jobs here in the past few years, why is that?" You come off much better explaining how the changes were for personal reasons such as liking the new challenge, growth, better environment, etc than if you just say you were after bigger bucks.

    Also part of it depends on how you want to present yourself in the job market. A legit way to go is a consultant kind of worker. Maybe not an actual consultant, but willing to take on short-term work. Company needs a developer for a single project that's maybe 6-12 months, you say sure and ride that while it's there then move on. In that case switching jobs is not just expected but probably even an asset as they won't worry you'll be pissed when they lay you off. However if you are more after the stable environment, where you work for a place for 5, 10, or more years and train to do new things as necessary, then look at doing less job hopping as places like that want people who will stick around.

    Ultimately you are the only one with the answers. Just consider the reasons and make sure they are good ones. Make sure you consider everything you are giving up and that it still is worth it.
  • by SharpFang (651121) on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:06AM (#18150464) Homepage Journal
    If you worry about how your resume will look like after you get a new job, something's wrong about your approach. You're taking a job because of the job and prospects connected with it. You should plan on staying at that job for MANY years. Otherwise, just don't take it. You'll either build several years of constant job there, a good solid entry in your resume, with summarizing your previous employment as a single "2006-2007 various short-term jobs", or you're doing this only to jump to yet another job in a few months, and that means you are a hot-potato and you'll get what you deserve. Anyway, as long as BETTER offers keep coming, you can keep accepting them, but note BETTER doesn't only mean higher salary or promotion. About the most important condition for a long-term job is good atmosphere and that's not what you can negotiate from the employee. So one day you may notice "sure, I'm paid a lot and I'm a boss of a big team but everyone hates me and is out to get me" and you'll remember a good, friendly place you had left before. And then your resume may count.
  • So you find a job, but keep looking for new jobs? Why?

    About your question, it's not necessarily a bad thing. I've been offered a lot of "6 month contract" positions. If you've been doing stuff like that, it would make sense that you've switched jobs every few months when the contract ends.

    But if that's not the case, or if it is and you keep leaving early, then it probably looks bad. Hiring people is an expensive pain in the ass, and if an employer thinks it's very likely they'll have to replace y

    • In this type of situation, it's better for you to create your own company and work under that umbrella. That way, you have protection through your company and you have 1 company that you've worked with over the long haul.
  • by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:07AM (#18150474)
    I'd think maintaining company loyalty is more important than money. At least that way you gain some security. Think about it as if you were an employer. Would you be willing to hire someone who hasn't stayed with a company for a reasonable amount of time?

    I don't have much, if any, experience, so don't take my comments too seriously. Consider this though. If I take a job (not a tech job), I'm going to honor my commitment to it even if more money is offered elswhere.
    • by Who235 (959706)
      Whoa there, Smithers.

      Of course you shouldn't take every job that drifts through your transom, but if someone is offering you 1/3 again as much money as you're making now, you owe it to yourself to take a look. If it looks like a good fit, you can at the very least put the screws to your current boss and see if he'll match the other company's offer. if you really like your current job, they don't even have to match it all the way - work with them. If not, finish up what you're doing and split.

      Going too fa
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gfxguy (98788)
      Well, I'm really sad to say it, but there's no such thing as loyalty. Or, let me rephrase that; there is such thing as loyalty, but your company expects a lot more of it from you then it plans to show you in return. This is true in (the made up statistic) of 99% of all businesses, large, medium, and even many small busineses. You're much more likely to be treated like a loyal employee at a small company, of course.

      Still, in this case, being a young buck (I'm not, but if I was), I'd jump on the highest sa
    • by Stone316 (629009)
      There is one thing that my 10 years in the High Tech field has taught me... And that is, company loyalty doesn't exist anymore. I've seen from entire departments, people with 25yrs experience to just people managers don't like get laid off.

      So the only loyalty you should have, its loyalty to yourself. For myself, once I get to the point in my job where everyday is the same and i'm not learning anything new, I start to look around. Luckily tho, i've been in the same position for the past 4 years and they
  • by svunt (916464) on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:09AM (#18150482) Homepage Journal
    As far as I can tell, the closer to the CEO end of the hierarchy you are, the less of a stigma is attached to it. If you've taken six different busboy jobs in a year, you're fucked. Six senior management positions in a year, you're just ambitious.
  • by Viv (54519) on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:23AM (#18150574)
    If you're getting offers of 30-40% higher and taking them, as an employer I don't think I'd blame you for hopping.

    The problem is going to be this: You're costing your employers money every time you do this. Lots and lots of money. It costs money to go through the hiring process, the process of orienting you (during which time you are less productive and still getting paid), the process of processing you (HR setting up payroll, insurance, etc), and worst of all -- the opportunity cost of hiring someone who leaves in a couple of months (ie, loss of productivity due to your orientation time + hiring time of the next guy + orientation time of the next guy).

    Unless you are extraordinarily compelling, I'd be inclined to pass on you as an employer unless I was sure there was something I could do to keep you should you get a better offer -- and I'd have to be willing to do it, too.

    Mostly, when you make a habit of hopping, what you need to consider before you hop is:
    1. If the new job turns sour, am I willing to put up with any shit they give me, no matter how bad it is.
    2. Is the company going to be in a position to release me in the near future (ie, due to layoffs or because I'm a fuck up)

    The reason you need to consider these is because with each hop you make in a short amount of time, the danger of the aforementioned hiring manager passing on you due to your hopping increases. You do NOT want to be without a job when you cross the line and become a radioactive hire due to job hopping.
    • by jafiwam (310805) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:29AM (#18151936) Homepage Journal
      With large increases without changing industries or job roles (i.e. .NET developer) across several jobs in a short time I'd suspect OP is not negotiating hard enough.

      If other companies can afford to swoop in with a raise like that, you didn't get what you should have out of the company that currently employs you when you took that job in the first place.

      If you want to switch, go ahead, but spend a lot of time getting the most you can out of them and then get some negotiating skills under your belt (there's books for that, don't read them at work).

      Better yet, just negotiate a higher pay rate within the job you have... you have good evidence the going rate is higher.
    • If you're getting offers of 30-40% higher and taking them, as an employer I don't think I'd blame you for hopping.

      The problem is going to be this: You're costing your employers money every time you do this. Lots and lots of money.

      No kidding. They were getting a 25-30% discount the whole time he was there. I guess they thought that making a lowball offer was a good idea at the time since it looked like a big enough raise to the hire to lure him from his last job.

      • by Nevyn (5505) *

        The thing that confuses me about this is compounding, even if he started at $40,000 a year (which seems low) four jobs later at a 30% increase each is ~$90,000 (which seems high for someone with 2 years XP). Another 30% is ~$115,000, which seems insane unless he's in the middle of Manhatan.

  • by subreality (157447) on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:24AM (#18150580)
    #1 - If you're finding jobs offering that much more money every 4 months or so, it means you sold yourself too cheap at first. Take a moment and figure out what you're really worth. Then, when you get an offer, ignore the number if it's low, and counteroffer for what you're really worth.

    #2 - Job hopping will change the kind of job offers you'll get. If you've been changing jobs every 4 months, you're going to get hired by people who have a short-term interest in you. If you show that you're committed to a job for 4 years at a time, you'll get hired by places that are looking to keep you around a long time.

    #3 - If you LIKE changing jobs frequently, become a contractor! People will hire you expecting you to be there 6 months, and you'll get to try out a whole range of places. This will probably be a good thing for you until you figure out what you really want. Plus, if you decide to settle down, all you have to say is all the short jobs you did were contracts, and no one will count it against you.

    #4 - Being a job hopper isn't inherently bad as long as you're representing your intentions truthfully, but don't be surprised if you end up having to seriously pay your dues to change your image if you decide you want to work somewhere more committed to YOU in the future.
    • Plus, if you decide to settle down, all you have to say is all the short jobs you did were contracts, and no one will count it against you.

      That's not always the case. Many places here in the UK won't (or are very reluctant to) hire ex-contractors as permanent staff. This is on the grounds that they might get itchy feet too soon. Employees are so much more valuable once they have a few years domain knowledge internalised.
    • by infinite9 (319274)
      don't be surprised if you end up having to seriously pay your dues to change your image if you decide you want to work somewhere more committed to YOU in the future.

      No one, and I mean no one is comitted to you. They're comitted to profits. And they'll drop you the instant you don't support that. If they say they're comitted, or you feel they're comitted, it's all part of an illusion constructed by the corporation to give them control.

      Disclaimer: I'm a jaded consultant.
  • by Darth Liberus (874275) on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:25AM (#18150588)
    Switching jobs often is only a bad thing if your resume shows that you do it consistently. Personally I don't mind if a prospective worker has a lot of jobs on his or her resume, but I *do* mind if they don't have one or two that they stayed at for several years - it tells me one of two things:

    1. You're incompetent and moved from job to job because you had to, either because you got fired or because you left right before someone let you go.

    2. You're only in it for the money and could care less about what we're doing.

    #1 concerns me for obvious reasons, #2 concerns me because a. even the best engineer is a drain on the project for the first six months due to training overhead (you may be brilliant, but you DON'T know what we're doing or how we do things), b. when you leave *I* have to take up your slack until the new guy comes up to speed, and c. the rest of us DO care about what we're doing.

    So my advice is this: find a nice balance between your paycheck and working on something you actually LIKE DOING, and then stay there for awhile even if someone else will pay you more. I just turned away a guy who is a brilliant programmer but who hasn't held a job for more than a year since 1995 - instead, I hired someone who was less technically qualified but had the good sense to ask about the longevity of the position because he hated switching jobs... and he had a history of sticking around. I treat my people well, I expect them to do the same for me.

    Financially speaking, you also need to consider two things:

    1. Switching jobs rapidly significantly lowers your credit score as well as making lenders think you're a flake, which will push the APR on any money you borrow through the roof. You may not think this matters, but if you buy a house or a car the penalty can amount to many thousands of dollars a year. If you don't use credit, that's not a problem... but if (like me) you can borrow money under the rate of inflation it's a huge benefit.

    2. Many employee benefits (401K matching, long-term incentives, etc.) don't vest unless you're with a company for 3-5 years, so switching jobs often can incur a hidden cost of tens of thousands of dollars per year. You probably won't see this immediately on your paycheck but you'll feel it at retirement time.

    HTH.
    • 2. You're only in it for the money and could care less about what we're doing.

      Okay, pet peeve rant time:

      Saying that you "could care less" is a good thing, because it means that you do care! If what you really meant to say is that he didn't care, then the correct phrase to use is "couldn't care less," not "could."

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        Actually, both are correct, in the same way that flammable and inflammable mean the same thing.

        • "I couldn't care less" - the meaning is obvious - I don't give a sh*t.
        • "I could care less" is actually a contraction of the original phrase "I could care less ... but I'd REALLY have to work at it."

        Its just that, after a while, people dropped the "... but I'd REALLY have to work at it" because, well, they couldn't care less ... :-)

    • by spinfire (148920)
      Switching jobs rapidly significantly lowers your credit score as well as making lenders think you're a flake, which will push the APR on any money you borrow through the roof. You may not think this matters, but if you buy a house or a car the penalty can amount to many thousands of dollars a year. If you don't use credit, that's not a problem... but if (like me) you can borrow money under the rate of inflation it's a huge benefit.

      Is this really true? I do not recall that my credit report from any of the m
      • I think the GP erred, but his essential point remains. Your job history, or lack of one, does not affect your credit score, believe it or not. So in that respect, you're right. However, lenders look at more than just your credit score, and in that respect, jumping around will increase the interest rate they'll offer.

        That said, how do you borrow under the inflation rate? Please, please tell me. And this better not be "Oh, I mean the *real* inflation rate of 8%." At least, don't say that without telling
      • by toleraen (831634)
        I don't think it's in your credit report. However, everytime I've filled out a loan application, insurance application, housing application, etc, it has asked how long I've been at my current job. So somewhere in there they take that into account.
    • 2. You're only in it for the money and could care less about what we're doing.

      Why is it so bad to only be in it for the money? The vast majority of jobs out there, even if challenging or non trivial, are horrifically menial and unexciting.

      You, the average IT coder/admin-person, are not cutting edge. You might write mainframe control scripts or think out test cases for the intranet support web app or code out bussiness logic or write requirements all day. You don't have to be an expert in the field to do yo

  • "The Industry" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Something you don't learn in school is that every single company has a single laser-pointed focus: to get the most out of you for the lowest possible salary. This is how it works in good companies and in bad companies.

    Something you don't learn in school is that every single employee needs a single laser-pointed focus: to get the most out of the company for the lowest investment of your time. This is how it works in good employees and in bad employees.

    Eventually your salary will approach "fair market value"
  • by Wansu (846) on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:40AM (#18150650)

      I've got to admit, though, I feel a little disloyal at this point.

    Why? Do you think they're loyal to you? If you think that, you've got another thought comin'.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mustafap (452510)
      >>I've got to admit, though, I feel a little disloyal at this point.
      >Why? Do you think they're loyal to you? If you think that, you've got another thought comin'.

      Best comment so far.

      to the original poster:

      You feel disloyal to your colleagues, I presume. But you are not employed by your colleagues - you are employed by a company that does not give a damm about you, and will drop you in a heart beat. Remember that. You will discover it over the years as you see good people dropped in the basket for n
  • A year out of school and I'd say you can get away with it, but don't keep it up. If you think this next job is someplace you'll be happy, take it. But first take stock of your current job - are you happy there? Could you be? I've hopped jobs for salary increases several times, but I'd gladly drop my salary to work someplace stable where I could also be happy. Lucky for me, I AM happy, and I'm pretty well paid :) But more important than salary is connections, so make sure you make a few good ones where
  • by djupedal (584558) on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:47AM (#18150676)
    Dear CHP: You don't really have enough all 'round experience in the 'real world' to ask or even understand such a question. You seem to have no concept of loyalty to an employer, etc. If this was related to being placed by an agency...one agency that you've been with since you left school...I might buy it. Otherwise, you're much too green to be trusted to stick around long enough for you or the employer to really know if you should go or stay.

    If I were a recruiter and knew about such moves, I'd be suspicious, regardless of your explanation(s). It sounds more like you've been dismissed after every 90 day probation for the last four hirings.

    Also, don't ignore how this will look on credit reports as well - to banks and potential employers. Employers frequently check those these days, so try as you might to gloss over within a resume and you're more likely to just be putting your neck in a noose. Pick a job and stay with it for at least a year. Get more experience out in the world and use that to help pick the job you think you want...later. Otherwise, work for an agency and do your hopping while still showing one employer.

    You can always do what most people in the same position do... start your own business and you can change once a week if you like :)
  • If you take a permanent job you should stick with it for at least 9 months to a year, you've hardly got outside your probation periods before you've left. You talk about the market like a contractor, if your after increasing your skillset quickly and broadly as well as discovering what you like/don't/good-at/bad-at it's a great way to do it. It'd be harder to take a permanent job later as its slightly looked down upon, but no-where near as much as what your doing.
  • If you like the changes, AND the higher salary, consdier being a hired gun. You can earn a great deal more. From the companies POV, you are a hired gun. If they really like you, they may offer you a position at a nice rate esp. if they think that the economy is going gang busters.

    But some words of caution; First, the contact shop is a pimp and considers you less than whore. They will try to take as much as possible from you. From watching the newbies, I have noticed that over the last 5 years, they have c
  • by value_added (719364) on Monday February 26, 2007 @06:30AM (#18150880)
    Is changing relationships too often a bad thing?

    Change too often, and your possible significant other may see you as:

    1. Superficial or fickle.
    2. Incapable of forming a relationship.
    3. Irresponsible, immature, or otherwise unable to deal with obligations.
    4. Not someone with whom any sort of investment should be made.

    Don't change often enough, and you may be considered:

    1. Complacent, unmotivated and aspiring to nothing.
    2. Generally undesirable, or without talent.
    3. Ill-equipped to form any new relationship.
    4. Odd.

    Like most things in life, our opinions are arrived at in some context. An employer who is seeking a superstar employee will view a stable work record differently than someone looking for to fill an empty slot.

    My advice? Try to be mature in your decisions and decide what's right for you. Commitments you do make, however, should be respected. Personally, I've never objected to seeing 3-5 year minimums, given that there's few companies like IBM, GE, etc. around these days, and even fewer Jack Welsh types that you'll be working for. People get divorced at an increasing rate, so it's more acceptable than in the past that an invidividual won't spend his or her career with a single company.
    • ... that there's no resume when you meet a woman.

      "Yeah, before we get started, I'd like to see your relationship history and references please."

      I wonder if that's how hiring managers end up with wives.
  • by Eivind (15695)
    Yes, jumping ship regularily will definitely make you look less attractive in a more downturn market.

    Given a choice between two developers with similar skills and experiences, but one has had 2 different jobs in the last decade, and the other has had 17, none lasting longer than 18 months, there's no question at all which one will be most desirable.

    Thing is, people don't have any choice other than take past behaviour as indicative of future. So, I'd only hire the job-hopper if I desperately needed him t

  • I'm now a senior engineer (not bad at 26) and I've sat on the other side in a few interviews to try to get the technical side of the person for the manager (its good when managers know their limitations) I've been told the same things by a couple of different managers so I thought I'd share them here:

    They like to see that people have done different roles - different roles means picking up different skills.
    3-4 years in each position seems to be the magic number. 2 is quite aceptable but lots of positions wit
  • I've been in the job-hopping situation plenty of times, and this is something that I've given a lot of thought to, over the years.

    If you're getting a 30-40% raise each time you switch, then you're probably at a point in your career (the beginning) where you've been undervalued and potential employers are beginning to see your true potential. Unfortunately, staying steady at one job isn't going to get you the income you deserve. Job hopping will, and quite quickly. The problem, as you and others have s

  • I think Apple has the right idea. Switching Steve Jobs out every 12 years or so is a good thing. The first time they switched Jobs, he came back and revitalized Apple. The next time Jobs is switched out, I'm sure he will have even more innovative ideas for Apple. So, no, switching Jobs too often is clearly not a bad thing.
  • In Europe, especially in cultures where traditionally someone is expected to stay with one employer for most of their lives (Germany and France are the worst), more than a few jobs on a CV can exclude a worker from many jobs. In a few other places where worker protection is now lacking, employers understand that workers may have quite a few entries on their CV (England is almost America at this point). Since /. is mostly American oriented, I would say that a few job hops in a few years is not a big deal, bu
  • There's a couple things here that stand out to me. One, the subject of money. A fresh out of school .NET developer here in central Ohio can pull down $45k/year easily. So if you've jumped jobs twice already, each time for a 30-40% pay raise (I'll call it 33 because the math is easier) you would have gone from $45k/year to $60k/year to $80k/year in less than 18 months. And now you're contemplating a position that bumps you to over $105k/year? Two years out of school? Something seems way out of whack wi
  • ...have you accomplished anything for these employers that is not trivial? I seriously doubt it. No way have you seen a product through conception, implementation, testing, release, and maintenance. So... what exactly is it that makes you so attractive to employers? You may well be a genious - but what good it it if the employer cannot reap the benefits of your genious?

    Having experience means actually *experiencing* something, not having a passing familiarity with it.
    • by isj (453011)
      I think half of experience inside software development is maintaining your old code for multiple generations of the software. That will usually show that a few initially clever decision weren't. Eg. after a couple of major releases you realize that some flexibility you built into the software wasn't needed. Or worse: flexibility that you eliminated would be usefull a few releases later and now requires major work to implement.

      The other half of experience is having tried a lot.

      Bjarne Stroustrup described tha
  • 30-40%?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stry_cat (558859) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:24AM (#18151878) Journal
    Take the job! Seriously if you get an increase of more than 10% you should take the job. By time the offers stop comming, you'll be in a high paying job and it won't matter if you're not getting offers any more. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, the only reason to have a job is to get money. All other considerations are secondary. Take the money and run!
    • NO. 10% is not enough. Moving for 10% means you'll take anything with a slightly higher salary -- which is what you're advocating. It makes sense if you're flipping burgers, but not if the comapny is investing anything in you. It screams "I will leave you the minute I find anythig slighly better -- I don't care about you as people or your projects." You need to set a standard "I won't change out of a job I'm happy with for less than X%" which you'll modify with things like commute, project coolness or
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by senatorpjt (709879)
        I'm thinking that if I saw someone who switched jobs for a 40% salary increase, they're not salary chasing, they were being underpaid. You can only probably do this a couple times anyway until you get to what you're actually worth.
  • You've had 3 jobs in 16 months and you're considering a 4th? That's about 5 months in each job. It takes about 3 months before you're producing more work than the rest of the staff time you consume learning. It takes about 6 before you're producing at the level I hired you for.

    No interview for you. I wouldn't touch you with a 10 foot pole even if you had exactly the skills I need. If you're not going to stay at least a couple years, you're not worth the effort.
  • Back in the dot.com boom I did some IT hiring for a large telecom. One of the things that we looked for was job stability. I personally like to see someone stick around at least a couple of years. It takes several months to get up to speed in a new company, especially in regards to the non-technical aspects, such as the company's ecosystem. After that investment, a company needs to see at least a year or two of solid productivity to get back that initial investment

    By the same token, I would typically be
  • Set some goals (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:53AM (#18152166)
    Before you switch, ask yourself about the current environment. Is the office an agreeable environment? Do you find the work challenging? Are you motivated? Are there experienced wise older folk to learn from? Does the company treat people well and have sound finances?

    These are questions that should stimulate you to think about whether you are happy working there. The grass isn't always greener. The money might be better but this is only one consideration. Working with quality people, learning new skills and technologies, knowing a project has a good chance of success, knowing the company will be around in 6 months are other factors.

    Not every project will be a success. Have backup plans for when your team do all get shafted. Perhaps you could say to the boss at the other company "I'm content in my current job but if the situation changes..."

    As you're just starting out and earning good money (relative to the rest of the population, perhaps not in your industry just yet) don't be afraid to spend it. Serious stuff like a spouse, mortgage and kids can wait. Travel, see the world. Many contractors enjoy the freedom of working for 6-12 months and then taking a break. 4 weeks annual leave in a permanent job? Once you get over to the other side of the world, 4 weeks is gone in an instant.

    Some perspective on what motivates you is more important than worrying about whether you should have taken a 'dream job' or not. My advice, unless you are really offered a huge wad of extra cash, stay in a job while you enjoy it. Patience...
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:53AM (#18152168)
    It's all how you cast the situation. If you tell your next prospective employer that you have been consulting, then the short spells at jobs is instantly explained. If they ask questions that make you think they're looking for someone more long-term, then you can either decide to move on or say something like, "Consulting has been fun and I've learned a great deal about many businesses, but I'm looking to change my lifestyle and settle down." But only say the latter if you really mean it, since lying will kill your consulting possibilities long-term as word gets around.

    The thing about I.T. is, with a few exceptions it's all project-based. All projects end and most of them finish inside 12 months. Plus, the industry itself is quite turbulent. So whereas a 5-month stint in, say, insurance or finance makes you look fickle or suspect, it's perfectly reasonable and expected in I.T.

    But at the end of the day, the real answer as to whether the job-hunting is truly fickle or intentional comes down to how you want to live. If you want something stable, then you are being fickle by hopping jobs. If you'd rather 'do it for the adventure' by consulting, then you're being deliberate and reasonable. Yet, as a previous poster said, make sure that whatever you do you're not leaving anyone in the lurch. If you do short stints, leave after completing the project or a significant milestone, not in the middle.
  • Are you looking for a long term job? Jumping from job to job will hurt your chances of getting one of those. But this is a new economy. Employees move around a lot. More and more people do contract work. This is becoming more normal. I think the important thing is to find jobs where you have projects and find a way to have done something with that project. Thus it looks like you are moving on once you've accomplished something. I think you have your answer. You are being offered a better job. So h
  • Then it must not be a factor in your case.

    Enjoy the ride and make sure you're switching to a company you can stand to be with for a while. The offers may stop and then you'll be stuck for a while. Sure you're burning some small bridges but it's better to make the move early than to have a company grow to depend on you and then just cut out on them.

  • I have a saying I tell some of my users who are endowed with a sense of humor:

    Maybe the reason you are having such a problem with technology is becasue you're stupid.

    Obviously very few (one) users have ever heard this. Apply that idea to your job and think about why you keep switching companies.

    Maybe the reason you can't find the job you want to keep forever is because you shouldn't be working in this field.

    Just a thought.
  • Yeah I think you should really evaluate the pros and cons of going to the new job and really look inside yourself to find what you truly want in life...

    ...each offered a promotion and a 30% to 40% raise.


    Woah, hold the phone there! To quote Bobby Bouchet's dad in The Waterboy: "Take the money dopey!" :)
  • by Petersko (564140) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:00PM (#18153612)
    "My resume is starting to make me look a bit restless and it worries me."

    We had to get through about 100 resumes for two positions that are currently open, and job-hoppers did not make the short list.

    The positions are important ones in our company and the learning curve is too high to keep retraining, so we just don't hire people with resumes such as yours.
  • I've been building software at startups for 20 years, averaging 5 years/company.
    It takes a long time to get a large, interesting piece of software right, and you
    have to stick with it through a few releases. When I interview people, I definitely
    look for someone who understands all this, and has proven that he can write code,
    debug it, support it once it's in customers' hands, improve it, and keep it maintainable
    across all this. I'll almost always discard a resume from someone who doesn't have
    any job lasting m
  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:18PM (#18153862)
    I would say that opinions on job-hopping have shifted over the last 10 years or so. I got my first tech job in '94, and I've been with 4 companies. The first two were "stepping-stone" jobs that helped me get experience, then I had a 5-year stint with my last company, and now I'm working on 2 years with the current one. Before the dot-com boom, it was definitely a sign of immaturity to jump from employer to employer. These days, I'm not so sure. Retirement money is portable, and some less enlightened companies don't see IT as a good place to invest money in training or salaries.

    I think there's something to be said for sticking with a company for a while. A lot of permanent employees quit at the first sign of trouble or a better job offer. However, one of the things I like is seeing something I designed get built, released, used, improved and replaced. If you're only at a company for a year, you don't really see the results of your work, or get to learn from your mistakes. It also shows that you're willing to take the good with the bad. I work for a company that just had one of its first unprofitable years. We lost a ton of good people because of that...couldn't afford to pay out raises, etc. However, this year is shaping up to be pretty good. I'm going to get a raise, and life is good.

    That said, this isn't the '50s. If you're stuck in a bad job that you know isn't doing anything for your overall career, don't stay. Back in the days of guaranteed lifetime employment and pensions (remember those??) I'm sure it was common for someone to hide in the shadows at an IBM or an AT&T and wait out a bad boss rather than quit. Personally, I wish companies would renew their "social contracts" with long-term employees. That's what made the middle class so strong in the 50s through the 70s...guaranteed income in exchange for good work.

    My career advice would be to stay in a job "long enough." But, don't let your skills stagnate. Look for opportunities within your company to grow. If you have a big enough IT department, there should be plenty of places to move around.

    Plusses for staying:
    • Better understanding of your company's core business--don't laugh; the only IT people who are going to be left stateside in the next few years will be those who understand what the business wants. Otherwise, they can just send specs to India and get something close to what they want...
    • Stability--I'm a big fan of a steady paycheck. It lets you do things like buy a house or car without worrying about where the next payment is coming from.
    • Promotional opportunities--Short-timers generally don't get offered higher positions.

    Plusses for job-hopping:
    • It's still one of the only ways to get large salary increases. Staying in one place means playing the HR shell-game.
    • More diverse experience
    • Hopping at the right time helps you avoid being laid off, etc. Don't go down with the ship!
    • Especially if you're just starting out, you should hop until you find somewhere you'd be comfortable working at.

  • Having looked at a lot of resumes for candidates at the place where I work, I'd had to say the answer is yes and no. Yes, when I see an applicant who's gone through 8 jobs in the last 3 years, I do tend to wonder why and ask questions at the interview intended to see if it's because of the applicant. On the other hand, someone starting out does tend to change jobs as they acquire experience and skills, so if the applicant's just starting their career I'm not so concerned. And you seem to have the perfect re

  • by Anonymous Meoward (665631) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:15PM (#18154774)

    Many previous posters have commented on the dangers and risks of frequent job-hopping, and all of them are valid. The sad thing is, these risks don't necessarily diminish when the job leaves you.

    Somehow, I've managed to survive as a software engineer in data networking and telecomm equipment, even after the gigantic downturn of 2000-02. But it wasn't without pain. I was laid off in early 2002 (the company closed its Raleigh site to consolidate in NJ, and due to cost-of-living issues, I chose not to chase my job), contracted from 2003 to late 2004, landed a full-time permanent slot after that. Then that position (with a publicly-traded Silicon Valley company, filled with hubris, and no management sense) was yanked in mid-2006. (The company is in a death spiral today, so maybe they did us all a favor.) After 3 months out of work, I managed to land a contracting gig, then convert to full-time late last year.

    Now, none of this was my fault; I had no say whatsoever in what happened. But during my latest round of interviews, employers would look at my resume and comment on the job-hopping. I could quickly explain it away, but I always had to explain it.

    The moral of the story? Life can suck enough as it is, so don't make it any harder for yourself.

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