Can you change jobs too much?

One of the biggest myths I was told about developing my career is:

“If you change jobs too much it looks bad on your career”

I have heard this a number of times and for a time I believed it.  So I have felt the need to put 1+ year into a job that offered no development or improvement, because of imagined disapproval from a potential employer.

dilbert

Credit: Dilbert

I would also say that ‘job hopping’ is subjective – I (and others) say having lots of job in an 18 month period is job hopping.  However other people I met thought that because I changed jobs every 1 year to 18 months over a period of 4 years that I was “disloyal”.

Maybe there is someone who thinks that when they select candidates for interviews, but to be honest if they think like that – I am not sure that I want to work for them in the first place!

I think the reason people say this is because they don’t like disloyalty, if you hire someone and in a years time they have to be replaced I suppose their is that feeling of being used.

A second reason is all the time and effort having to be spent on recruitment.  I generally found colleagues who didn’t even have to be involved in the recruitment process didn’t appreciate disloyalty because they have to pick up the extra work when someone leaves.

 

 

Thirdly I tend to find that people who have given me this advice has a career that is either

a) not going very well

b) none existent

And it was that which made me realise I need to look after myself and take risks.

I would also argue what counts as disloyal?  I have been turned down from going on a secondment in the same organisation purely because they didn’t want to have to rely on a temp for six months.  I would say that is being loyal because I still wanted to stay in the same organisation – just get experience in a different team

As a result I decided that the place I worked for had a poor culture for developing staff and took a job in another organisation that would support my ambitions.

In the organisation I currently work I was encouraged from the first day to develop my skills and aim for promotion.  As a result I thought:

“This place really supports you, I want to keep working here”

and as a result I aimed for promotion – within the organisation.

At the end of the day you can’t win – I have been surrounded by talented people who have been in places 5+ years have a great range of experience, knowledge and can do their job blindfolded, but can’t move up because they have been in their role ‘too long’ and have had to volunteer their time for free in the hope that they can break the stigma of the one role that they have specialised in.

So what do you think of someone who changes jobs regularly – good, bad?  Is there such thing as a minimum period someone ‘should’ work before moving on?

Inspired by:

‘Is it bad to stay at one company for very long?’

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