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Ask Slashdot: How Often Should You Change Jobs? 282

An anonymous reader writes "We all know somebody who changes jobs like changing clothes. In software development and IT, it's getting increasingly hard to find people who have been at their job for more than a few years. That's partly because of tech companies' bias for a young work force, and partly because talented people can write their own ticket in this industry. Thus, I put the question to you: how often should you be switching jobs? Obviously, if you find the perfect company (full of good people, doing interesting things, paying you well), your best bet is to stay. But that's not the reality for most of the workforce. Should you always be keeping an eye out for new jobs? Is there a length of time you should stick around so you don't look like a serial job-hopper? Does there come a point in life when it's best to settle down and stick with a job long term?"
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Ask Slashdot: How Often Should You Change Jobs?

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  • Every day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2014 @12:49PM (#47388737)

    If you're not doing or learning something new, you're dying a slow painful death inside.

    • Re:Every day (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @12:54PM (#47388765)

      You don't have to do or learn something new every day at work, though.

    • Yeah, I picked my first job as bad pay but a lot of learning opportunities and sticked with it for three years, which is usually the minimum requirement for a good job. Our college teachers called these 'the sacrificed years'. After that, I picked a better job and as long as I can grow I stay on my current workplace. I believe that once you stop growing it's really hard to change jobs.
      • Re:Every day (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Almost-Retired ( 637760 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @02:08PM (#47389163) Homepage

        The other side of that coin is:

        Is the new opportunity worth the hassle of starting over in some locale where the COL is 3 times higher, your rights are much more restricted, no big game hunting because of the population density precludes the use of even a bow and broad heads, despite the fact that you'll wreck a car a year running into said big game, and its 4 hours to someplace where drowning a worm might get you fish for dinner.

        That occurred to me when a head hunter called me, offering 10% more to be the Chief Engineer at a tv station in the top 25 market. But it would have come with all of the above limitations. Even at 200%, which said tv station could well afford, it wasn't worth it to me.

        Basically I had found my place back in 1984. I can walk to hunt deer or fish, COL is 1/2rd that of the big city, the house that came with the girl I married in 1989 has been paid off for 15 years, and stayed here till I retired 12 years ago. Technically, my reputation for being able to walk on water when the boat has already sank has been well established, and I still get yells for help occasionally. As a technician who can actually fix things, I am a C.E.T. & have what used to be a 1st phone license before the commission threw us under the bus, we are a dying breed, literally, and I find that I have, at nearly 80 yo, inherited some of the local radio broadcasters, because the engineer they were calling when the cash cow laid down and went dry, had died.

        But the surprising detail most find hard to believe is that I am not a "papered" engineer, I have an 8th grade education, but was good enough with electronics that I quit school in the middle of my freshman year in high school, mostly due to health/allergy problems, and went to work fixing what was then these new-fangled things called televisions. Circa 1948-49. And yet the medical help locally available is pretty good. In early June, about a month ago, I woke up, just barely conscious and couldn't breath, on the bedroom floor while trying to tie my shoes to take the better half out for dinner, a pulmonary embolism that damned near punched my ticket. The better half, sitting in the car waiting, finally came back in to see what the holdup was & called 911. They got me to the local shop, started the clot-buster, and shipped me off to a larger facility. I am not 100% yet, but getting there, and TBT I feel better now than I have in years.

        The guy from ultrasound looked at my heart with its blown up 2x right half as it was trying to pump into the blockage, for about an hour. I presume looking for places that ought to be bypassed or stented, couldn't find any and said once its shrunk back to normal, you ought to be good for another decade. 2-3 months to shrink again. Sort of feels like getting a warranty renewal but there is no such thing in life.

        So I'll be here to pester you folks for a while yet, offering my comments on having observed life for nearly 80 years now. Some comments will come from my experience as a working joat, I am a decent mechanic and am now playing with smaller CNC machinery. I've also made some furniture & remodeled a few guns over the last 50 years.

        I rather enjoy being close to the biggest frog in the pond, even if the pond is just Pedersons Puddle. It has its advantages.

        Cheers, Gene

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Wow, tons of valuable life experience there. And still basically no curmudgeon in you, at least not that really comes through in your writing.

          You have certainly earned the right to tell me to get off your lawn (and I'm at an age where I sometimes find myself thinking, "Hey you little whippersnappers...")

    • Re:Every day (Score:4, Insightful)

      by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @05:30PM (#47390049)
      I was interviewing for a job when I ran into a coworker still doing the same work and getting paid the same money when I worked with him nine years ago. I'm now making 80% more than him because these damn tech companies keep laying me off every so often.
  • Maybe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by forrie ( 695122 ) * on Saturday July 05, 2014 @12:49PM (#47388739)

    I suppose that depends upon other variables. Such as, what are your personal risk factors? For example: a family, do you have enough $ resources so if you fail you'll recover ok, etc. Lots of people got hit badly in the $ when the tech market went kaput -- some haven't really fully recovered. Then, there is age. We all know what the stereotype is of age in the IT sector - though I would hire an older IT person over a kid any day, partly due to their wisdom from experience. Back in the stock boom, it used to be 2 years max I would change jobs and/or positions; not just to stay relevant, but to move on. Sometimes I got lucky, by being pulled in to new ventures because I knew people (that's a powerful ally in this industry).

    Seems like the market is starting to grow a little bit, but I'm not sure it's a job-bull market just yet. Curious what others think and feel about this.

    • Re:Maybe (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @12:58PM (#47388797)
      I've been with the same employer for the better part of thirteen years, and I was mired in desktop support for far longer than I wanted to be. I stuck through it mainly to be vested with the retirement system (and bearing in mind that the IT market was complicated when the dotcom bubble burst) and by the time I got vested I managed to move up in the organization, so I'm not as unhappy as I once was.

      Now that I've got forward progress again I'm inclined to give myself time to grow into my current role before considering a change. I've got a decade of tech progress to catch up on in Linux administration and Cisco, so I may as well get that experience in a fairly secure environment before considering something more.
    • Seems like the market is starting to grow a little bit, but I'm not sure it's a job-bull market just yet. Curious what others think and feel about this.

      I don't know about IT, but if you're a programmer, in Silicon Valley companies are hiring production teams to make video commercials to attract programmers. Billboards along the side of the freeway saying, "come work for us!" Salaries at ridiculous levels ($120k straight out of college). If you're good at negotiating, you can even get yourself a 4-day work week.

      • If you're good at negotiating, you can even get yourself a 4-day work week.

        In the financial sector (locally), it's impossible to work *more* than 4 days a week. You don't get any contract offered with more than 36 hours (4x9). I work slightly less, because I'm on schedule with 4x8 (and a bit). Fortunately I got a new contract with a 50% pay rise this year.

    • Seems like the market is starting to grow a little bit, but I'm not sure it's a job-bull market just yet. Curious what others think and feel about this.

      I got laid off from my last tech job in October 2013 when the Fortune 500 CEO gave himself a 66% raise for having a lousy fiscal year. Eight months and 60+ job interviews later, I finally got a new job. Recruiters are busy like piranhas feasting on a cow.

      One recruiter told me that my pay range was too low -- $20 to $25 per hour -- as she was trying to get Silicon Valley companies to pay more -- $30 to $35 per hour -- to keep workers from flocking to San Francisco. The new job I'm starting next week pays $24

  • Don't do this many times in a row, though, because the pattern on your resume says much more than length of time.
    • As a tech contractor, I really don't have much choice regarding the jobs that I do. My last three jobs ended after nine months on average. One recruiter submitted my resume for a desktop position at a law firm. The hiring manager rejected all the resumes because the applicants "lacked tenure" (i.e., three years or longer in each of the last three years). The recruiter cried because that was an impossible request.
  • by bangular ( 736791 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @12:53PM (#47388763)
    Given a steady job with a pension that won't disappear, I think most people would rather stay at a company long term. Corporate America took this from us and now complains they can't keep people. They set the rules, we're just getting around to beating them at their own game.
    • Corporate America took this from us and now complains they can't keep people.

      Nope. Job longevity is actually at an all time high. The "lifetime job security" of the "the good ole' days" is a myth that never happened.

      • Its also incredibly toxic, ask Greece or Italy how the universal golden parachute is working out.

      • My late father worked in construction for three generations of owners at one company for 50 years. He didn't get a gold watch, but had a comfortable retirement with his pension and social security benefits.
    • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @01:28PM (#47388987)
      This is entirely accurate. Full time jobs have in many cases given way to contracts. Then there are layoffs. It is a pretty cynical thing for a company to then turn around and judge people for being at a job for less than 5 years when a year or less is becoming far more common.
      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        This ^^. Lots of people are going to point out statistically the layoffs and firings are lower than ever but it isn't really true. Companies just game the numbers by using contractors to fill what really are permeate positions.

        • by QuasiEvil ( 74356 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @01:56PM (#47389111)

          15 years and counting for me - not just same company, but same position. The title changes and I get promoted every couple years, but it's the same PCN doing basically the same thing.

          I'm basically the technical management of a development group at a large transportation company. The technical part of my department isn't really all that bad. The challenge is knowing the business and all the weird, intricate little nuances of both our clients and how the actual business operates. I figure it takes 18 months to make a newbie a net positive in the group. I rarely hire because typically we focus on getting people who are going to stick around. It's just too costly to productivity to have short timers around. It's also how I've successfully fended off "well, can't you just outsource some of this extra work?" If I'm looking through resumes and see you only stay at similar jobs for 2-3 years, I'm not even going to read the rest of it. I assume that candidate is going to suck up all the resources to get him/her trained and then move along before they've contributed as much back. I'd much rather have someone that shows they're on the track to becoming a greybeard. You know - the guy who has been there forever to become an uberguru, and sits in the corner and says little, but when he does you should probably take it as if it were handed down on stone tablets.

          • by St.Creed ( 853824 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @03:19PM (#47389473)

            I run projects with companies that last for 3-6 months, delivering complete data warehouses (at least the first iteration, documentation and trained permanent employees). And that includes the time to start things up, get the resources, people and materials, etc.

            18 months is longer than my longest project to date. I've had to fire someone from a project where he wasn't making a positive contribution in *week two*. Let alone 18 months. I really can't imagine that.

            Maybe it's a bit like the people who claim you need years of experience with a certain toolset to become proficient. To which I reply: "so getting a Ph.D. in physics or CS is easier than learning the quirks of your tool? Get a better one." The same goes for your business. If it takes 18 months to learn the quirks, there's something wrong and perhaps you need to bring in someone with a fresh perspective for a second opinion.

          • Most people would like to stick around at the same company. However companies fail to encourage employees to stay. If a company keeps the employee's salary competive with their skill level, offer a clear path for growth and promotion. Then they employee will stick around. If they feel like their lives are stuck, they will jump to an other job.

    • Corporate America brought the pension, and Corporate America took it away, all in the span of 80 years - tops. It's certainly comfortable to have one, but it's not in any way some historic bedrock of society.

      Before the industrialists of the 20th century there were no corporate pensions, no lifetime employees (except for slaves). Then corporations came and exploited workers (because they could), and unions formed and grew large and powerful enough to exploit the corporations (because they could), then corpor

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      Depending on a company to give you a pension is a very bad idea. Look for a company with good 401k matching, it's far more valuable. And give up on the idea of 30 and out, no company can afford that.
    • by Nutria ( 679911 )

      Corporate America took this from us

      I just "celebrated" 20 years with the same division (though it's been sold a time or two). Started as a programmer but have been a DBA for 15 years. It's been a pretty good place to work, especially since I've been telecommuting for 14 of them.

    • Yours is the comment I was looking for, otherwise I was going to post the same. At one time you would go to work for a company and likely stay there for many years; if not for your entire career. But profits started to trump loyalty, not just for the employees, but for the customers as well.

      Myself, I find the fastest way to get a raise is to move to another company within a few years. If a company has only a minor interest in your future, such as your paycheque, why should you offer them anything differe
    • Part of the problem is that it's easier to hire new folks than to reallocate existing ones without getting into political turf wars -- let alone shrinking some departments* that don't need the headcount. This means that the utility of a new employee is automatically greater than one that's been there forever, even if they are equal in skill, just because they can be put in the most useful position.

      This is a facet of downwards-stickiness [] -- it's easy to tell an overstaffed* department that they don't get to

  • by BenJeremy ( 181303 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @12:54PM (#47388769)

    Once every 56 years?

    Too soon?

  • Very common around where I work.

  • By "change jobs," do you mean change employers as well? What about lateral moves within the same company, or between different organizations within the same company?

    Ultimately, how often you change roles (either change in job description, responsibilities, or employer, as I'm defining it) depends on the following things:

    1, demand in your field. If your field has more demand than supply, these are the salad days...moving from company to company can be beneficial. These days will not last forever, so make

    • I have changed jobs every 6 months to a year for about the last 7 years. Most of the gigs were contract or contract to hire, but either the "hire" part never came through, or I didn't want to stay there as a perm slave. I have about 10 more years until I retire, so I am hoping I can keep the job I have now at least that long.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      By "change jobs," do you mean change employers as well? What about lateral moves within the same company, or between different organizations within the same company?

      A lateral move within a company is going to result in little or no pay increase. A new company will usually give you a significant boost to your current salary. To maximize your income, you should move to a new company every three to six years. In some professions, longevity and loyalty are rewarded. Software development is not one of those professions.

  • blame outsourced work / contractors / subcontractor for people who move job to job a lot.

    Some contractors only last 6 mo to an year 1 And then it may be the same job but at and different place or after time is up they may move stuff around or change the main contractor and what if that main contractor lowers pay rates or has there own staff and they kick out the people in place?

    Also some times it can be the same job and same place but under an new name for the main contractor.

    Some contractor work can only b

    • Im a contractor, and have been my entire career. At my first employer, i had a list of clients that did not change substantially over nearly a decade. At my current employer, I've been at one location for 2 years.

      This discussion is filled with rampant speculation and incorrectness.

      • Im a contractor, (...) At my current employer, I've been at one location for 2 years.

        That's interesting... don't you feel more like an employee rather than a freelancer?

        • Right up until personal responsibility is required, at which point the difference between gov employees and contractors becomes clear.

          Hint: Govvies arent the ones who take responsibility.

  • Job Hopping (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @01:02PM (#47388821)

    I can tell you now than when I am hiring and looking at resumes and see 1 year, 2 years, 1.5 years, 9 months, I label it is a "job hopper" and throw it in the "least likely to consider" pile. And a CRAPLOAD of the resumes are that way, regardless of the position. Many things come to mind when I see that "hopping"- maybe they are just using each job as a stepping stone to get more money or experience, maybe there is something wrong with them and they can't keep a job, or perhaps they are too easily bored.

    As an employer, hiring a new employee is a HUGE amount of time and financial drain on my department. Regardless of what somebody does know or thinks they know, I rarely get full productivity from someone until perhaps a year (sometimes less, sometimes more). If they are looking for such temporary employment, I need them to just look elsewhere.... I need some reasonable return on my investment.

    I don't expect people to stay at a job for decades anymore (although there is nothing wrong with that... I have 25 years now with the same company) and I know sometimes a job is just not a good fit. But turnover in a small department can be devastating. If I were to see the same resume with 5 years, 3 years, 6 years, that looks FAR more attractive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jcr ( 53032 )

      I'm an employer too, and what I care about is whether the applicant's skills are a match for what I need to get done. If I had your kind of hang-ups about people who knew how to pick a better opportunity when one came along, I'd get much less work out the door.


      • I'm an employer too, and what I care about is whether the applicant's skills are a match for what I need to get done. If I had your kind of hang-ups about people who knew how to pick a better opportunity when one came along, I'd get much less work out the door.


        It seems to me that there are two approaches:

        1. Try to hire people with the skills to do what you need. If you can find and hire them, they'll be productive quickly and your investment in them will be low. If they leave quickly, you're pretty much back where you were when you hired them, looking for someone to fill a specific role.

        2. Try to hire people with native talent but not necessarily with specific skills. They won't be productive quickly, so you'll have to invest a bit in on-the-job training whic

      • I was a permanent worker with a job for 3.5 years and one for 10 years, then I went freelance and got all kinds of 6 months/3 months/12 months contracts. That gave me a different perspective. What I see is that there is zero correlation between length of employment and how good someone is. I know a couple of freelancers that have very long CV's, but they're not so hot because they're hot potatoes that don't deliver. And I've seen a few people who stayed for years at the same company because they couldn't ge

      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        what I care about is whether the applicant's skills are a match for what I need to get done.

        I'd bet a dime that GP has a large code base to be maintained, whereas your team in writing lots of new apps which don't need lots of specialized application knowledge.

    • You're externalizing blame.

      If you have a problem with 'hoppers' have you looked into why you're failing to retain people?

      Small companies are especially bad for that: fewer employees means fewer paths for personal/professional advancement: there's nowhere 'up' to move, and wearing a half-dozen hats might seem like variety at first, but you'll be wearing those same hats forever. It's too bad that they have less room to take the hits from people leaving and new people coming up to speed, but it's also unreason

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        He didn't say that he has a problem with hoppers. That may be because he's careful not to employ them.

        There's a difference between people growing out of their role and moving on, and people job hopping.

      • This is a reply not just to you, but to several similar posts at once:

        1) I don't have trouble maintaining employees, and it is precisely because I am careful to hire someone that won't quickly leave.

        2) We don't have the best pay nor all that much room for positional growth, but it is a great environment and very stable. I am careful to disclose as much as possible about the goods and bads of the position so there are no unreasonable expectations.

        3) I don't count contract work as job hopping. It is not the

    • Prior to the Great Recession, I changed jobs every three years by getting a better position in the same company or a different company. Since the Great Recession, I've been out of work for three years out of six years and my last three contract jobs ended after nine months on average.

      A recruiter cried when a hiring manager at a law firm rejected the resumes submitted for a desktop support position as lacking tenure (i.e., three or more years in each of the last three positions). With short-term contracting

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      That's rather short sighted. If they are qualified and suited to the position it's worth getting them in to find out why they didn't stay very long. Maybe the company laid them off (last in, first out), maybe they had to move because of their partner, maybe the company was just terrible. You could be passing up the best candidate for no good reason.

  • At a minimum, at least as often as you get fired.

    • So, 24 hours then?

      • by mbone ( 558574 )

        That depends. How often do you get fired?

        • The only time I got fired from a job was when I worked in construction with my father for two years and punched the boss's grandson in the mouth. My father was pissed and even more pissed when I enrolled into community college. My parents refused to pay for my college education while I lived with them. I spent the first year of college picking up bottle and cans on campus for recycling money to pay for classes and books until I got a job at the college bookstore. It took me four years to get my associate de
  • I've made my career building out new applications that are enabled by advancing computer technology. These jobs only last for a few years. A basic product development cycle is maybe 2 to 5 years, at which point you've either
    - succeeded, and don't need people like me any more
    - failed, and definitely don't need people like me any more

    When the job goes away, I find a new one. Sometimes I find a new job at the same company, but that is inessential.

    The short tenure of these jobs doesn't have much to do with me.

  • Inflation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <> on Saturday July 05, 2014 @01:12PM (#47388875) Homepage

    I tell people I will change jobs for a 30% increase in compensation. That results in a job change every seven years, and here's why. There is a difference between the reported and actual rates of inflation. And annual increases at an existing job more closely track reported inflation, whereas job offers from other companies more closely track actual inflation.

    For example, if reported inflation is 3% and actual inflation is 7%, then after 7 years that's a 32% difference.

    • I ran into a former coworker while interviewing for a new job. He's still doing the same work and making the same money that he made when we worked together nine years ago. These days I'm making 80% more money because these damn tech companies keep laying me off every so often.
  • by macklin01 ( 760841 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @01:12PM (#47388881) Homepage

    It's not just that people can "write their own tickets", but that promotions and raises seem to happen much more at time of hire than after good performance. Work on that and there might be a lot less churn ..

    • That's really true. The only way I've ever gotten a significant raise is by quitting or threatening to quit. A survey of all the programmers I know says the same thing. One guy I know threatened to quit three times, and got a good raise each time.
  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Saturday July 05, 2014 @01:16PM (#47388915)

    You should move on when you stop having opportunities to learn new skills.

  • You should change your job by starting your own business, and you should do that as soon as possible. Avoid jobs altogether if possible. Life is to short to sell your time and energy for tokens.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't advise this UNLESS he's also a good salesman and can afford his own sick days and vacation days and health insurance and retirement and insurance. It's a great way to go IF you have all the talents and resources AND can make money from it. Lots of people try, and spend most of their nestegg, then end up broke and taking an even lower paying job just to eat.

    • Just curious; in what business did you start in? IT probably, but what specific sector? Sysadmin, web scripting, telecom, etc? And has there been a time you'd rather have a salary?

      I'm making the step from salaried man to freelancing soon, and I'm mighty curious.

      (Ben je Nederlands?)

      • by MRe_nl ( 306212 )

        Computers are an old hobby/major interest but my main business is event organization/production. Some DMX, PLC's, Vellemancards, 3DMax involved for light-shows, robotics or projections and such but not much beyond that (and I hardly even do that myself anymore).

        There have been times (since the start of my own business in 1989) that I've had a salary, due to sudden lack of funds, inspiration or motivation, but usually not for very long.

        (Ja ik ben Nederlands)

    • by iamacat ( 583406 )

      I consider myself very sharp, but I have no illusions of my potential independent business generating as much money in general or for myself as my current team. Well known individual and corporate content creators wouldn't even bother to talk to me without me having a track record or resources of our business. If you have a truly groundbreaking vision AND personal charisma AND financial security if not ability to make large personal investments, things could be different. Or you can win a lottery with small

      • I would strongly advise anyone not to "strike it out" completely on their own, but to find one or two partners at least. If you can't convince one knowledgeable person of the validity of your plan(s) it might be time to rethink them : ).

  • I seem to be a slow mover. 5-8 years between job changes.
  • And two jobs. One for over 16 years, and going on 19 years at my second.

  • 4 rules for a successful work life:

    1) Never stay at a job that sucks.

    2) Never feel and "loyalty" to a company or boss- they won't hesitate to kick you to the curb if some accountant decides you're over paid or not needed. They have absolutely zero loyalty toward you, you should have none for them.

    3) Don't worry about bouncing from one place to another. If someone asks you why they should hire someone who bounces from job to job ask them how long they realistically expect to keep you around, and point o

    • #2 is mostly but not entirely true. I've been at my current job for nearly 7 years now (and have no intention of leaving as long as the doors stay open) for just that reason: It's a very small software company, and the pay is below market (especially given the number of DevOps hats I wear), but it's more than enough to live on, and the bosses DO treat me with the same loyalty and respect I give them.

      Apparently, I work in Narnia.

    • 2) Never feel and "loyalty" to a company or boss- they won't hesitate to kick you to the curb

      I've seen managers cry because they had to fire people. I'm inclined to agree though, but more in terms of "take care of yourself first".

  • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @02:13PM (#47389181)
    Job hopping can be a way to increase your salary a lot compared to staying in one job.

    That being said, it has a trap. You will have to save for your retirement yourself. Which means that people who spend their money as soon as they get it, and want lots of it might be tempted to job hop.

    So they don't prepare for retirement. Going to try to live on Social security? Good luck with that. The moral is that if you do job hopping, do it while you are young, and save, save, save.

    Staying in one or a couple jobs comes with it's own issues. Raises are smaller, promotions fewer. But the retirement options are often better, and you're not likely to need to tap into retirement savings between jobs, as some many job folks I've known.

    Dunno if this will help or not, but I did some job hopping in the early 80's after entering the workforce. Nearly doubled my salary over the course of three years by going to three different jobs - ironically, coming back ot the first job I had. Eventually you have to settle down though. After some assignment changes that had me pondering leaving after 15 years on the job, I made the decision that with family and all, I'd hang in there to save up the money for retirement. They had a decent retirement plan, plus some TSA's I could invest in on the side. I ended up with three separate retirement accounts. Another sort of trap, but a nice one. So I retired on my own terms at 55.

    So my advice based on my experience would be to job hop as early and quickly as possible when you hit the job force, then go conservative.

    Also, do not ever think that a 401K will fund your retirement. You gotta have multiple accounts in multiple places.

    And lest ye be accusing me of "Get those damn kids off my lawnism", y'all will find yourself in your mid 50's a whole lot sooner than you think. And that is no time to start thinking about your post-work life. Cuz you'll have one. You think that your job won't be replaced by some recent graduate for half your wages? You might be redundant at age 60 only five years after you got serious about saving for retirement.

    Finally, if you think you cant save for retirement - you are 100 percent correct. The people who said there was no point to it during the mid-late 70's, (inflation was the bugaboo then) are the same people who were almost prophetic, because after years of spending their money as fast as they could make it, they can't retire now. Go figure. They did have nicer cars than I did though. There's always that.

  • Personally (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @02:17PM (#47389197) Homepage

    I'd be suspicious of anything under a year. That doesn't mean I wouldn't hire, but I'd want to hear why you left so fast. Hell, I'd even accept "My last employer was bad and made me do X, Y, Z, and thus I left".

    The longest job I ever had - 5 years... and I left because they changed overnight and culled all the decent staff - fulfilled my promises, got screwed over, left the next day. Before that, I don't think there was anything under a year but I was working freelance for a while and there not having a client with under a year of service means you're doing well. They just kept buying me back.

    What worries me is not serial job-hoppers, it's people with unexplained gaps. It's also people who stay where they are forever (it's easy to know when you're onto too good a thing and just coast... and I've met plenty of coasters who never want to progress and, when they move on, they only have their way of doing things). Sure, again, if you can explain yourself and you come across as so passionate for that job that's probably the reason you stayed, but anything out of the average range needs an explanation.

    For yourself? Always look at jobs. How else do you expect to know what the going rate is, what the growing trends are, where the industry is moving, what your competitors are up to, etc.? And every now and then one of those jobs you're casually browsing will seem so much more your kind of thing, and there's NO harm in just applying and seeing what happens. If and when you get the job, that's the time to weigh things up.

    I work in independent schools (I'm not a teacher, I do the IT). Once in, as a teacher, your job is pretty much guaranteed for decades so long as you don't screw up. Would you like to know how many jobsites I pick up in my web filtering logs? People keep on top of what's happening, what the competitor schools are doing, where's not a good place to work (you could tell my old workplace was going downhill by the fact that they advertised for an Assistant Bursar, then another Bursar, then another Bursar three months later, etc.), how much you should be earning, what else is about.

    Keep your ear to the ground. It helps if you need to leave. It helps with comparisons should be need to go and ask for pay-rises. It helps with knowing what's out there. And it doesn't take any time at all to do.

    But time-limits? You leave when you have a reason to leave, and not before. Someone who leaves EVERY year? That's bound to make me wonder why.

  • Strictly speaking it's not 7 years in the exact same position. I have been 7 years with the same company, in 4 different functions under 3 different managers, but always with the same great colleagues, some of whom have been with the company for over 30 years.

    I see a decent-paying job as a means to an end, a steady paycheck lets me have fun with motorcycles, electronics, music, movies, food, traveling, all of the things I enjoy in life. As long as the company is willing to pay me a decent wage, provide chal

  • The pattern I've seen time and again is that even if you find an employer that gives regular raises, the market rate for programmers moves much faster than a lame 3% cost of living raise. So, unless you're an assertive extrovert, with a high tolerance for uncomfortable moments with your boss, you probably aren't demanding a competitive raise each year. Easier to just interview every few years and get a big salary bump.

    And the employers who lost you? They'll pay much more to replace you, learn nothing from the experience, then repeat the cycle again in a few years.

  • If you have a job you like. Don't switch. Switching just for having switched brings you nowhere. Good reasons for switching are: Moving to another city, if you are interested in challenging work then the lack of it, other causes which make you unhappy, money, your personal career strategy, e.g., CEO of IBM.

  • I'm retired now, but I tended to change jobs every ~2 years. Companies get stuck on this "we can only give you a single digit % raise" thing. The competition didn't feel bad about shelling out a 30-40% raise after getting their butts handed to them a few times. Had I stayed with one company for 4-5 years, I'd have fallen behind badly in salary.

    Not to mention a great company this year may easily get plowed under or become irrelevant in 5 years.

    Once when I'd changed jobs about 5 times in 6 years, a hiring

  • Chances are you can learn new skills and even move into new functional areas without going outside. It takes perhaps a year to prove yourself and perhaps another 2-3 years to find a project you really like and become an expert in it. At this point, you can make big contributions and resolve problems quickly without working really long hours. Big companies offer long vacations, sabbatical leaves and other official and unofficial perks to retain experienced contributors.

    The only catch is to recognized when yo

  • When tech jobs were "permanent" and had benefits, I changed jobs every three years. Sometime it was a different position with more responsibility in the same company. Mostly with a different company.

    I've been contracting -- not by choice -- for the last ten years. I've been taking whatever jobs I can get. My last three jobs in the last three years ended after nine months on average. I've also been out of work for three years in the last six years since the Great Recession. Most jobs varied from $14 to $25 p

  • In engineering anyway, 3-4 years seems to be a good target. Odds are you can get a decent pay bump moving on, bigger than you can get staying put anyway. Most employers who see 3-4 years won't see you as a job hopper. If your current salary matches up with your offers, and the jobs you can find look no better, then at least you know you are doing about as well as you can. If, on the other hand, you find out you could be making 20% more, you know how badly you are being screwed now.

    The system is rigged a

  • by doodleboy ( 263186 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @03:40AM (#47391913)

    I moved to the US from Canada about 10 years ago. Not only did I have no employment history, but the place I had most recently worked at in Canada for the past 5 years had gone bust. And my university degree might as well been from Uzbekistan for all the good it did me. I took the first IT job I could find, as a helpdesk Linux specialist supporting several hundred servers.

    When I arrived the Linux infrastructure was in a detuned state. I started fixing what was broken and I am now one of three sr network engineers in the company. I mostly work on whatever grabs my interest, like automating various things with bash/ksh or powershell, optimizing traffic flows through our network, etc. No one bothers me about drifting in at 9 or 10 or wearing flip-flops, and if I need dollars to implement something I generally get it. I've saved the company a s**tpile of money over the years and they know it.

    OTOH I work like a dog, just ridiculous hours at times. Although as we all know that is often the nature of IT.

    I could make more money by changing jobs. But I basically have complete freedom now and I just don't think I'd have that anywhere else. I'm staying.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.