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For most people, a common way to improve their wealth and finances is through the traditional 9-5 job.

However, being labeled a “job hopper” was (and can be) seen as a negative, and many employers would see that as a red flag. After all, as an employer why would you hire someone who will jump ship in a year or less?

There can also be assumptions for those who move jobs quickly, that they are difficult to work with, unstable, or don’t respect or care about the company. Yet, the concept is more common than ever before and not all employers view job-hopping as a negative.

But if you are moving jobs frequently or considering this, you have to understand the pros and cons, how to approach this strategy effectively, and understand the potential drawbacks.

What Is Job-Hopping?

A job hopper is someone who switches jobs every one or two years on their own accord. Prior generations worked for the same employer throughout their entire career, and job-hopping was seen as something negative. Nowadays, employees change jobs quite frequently, however, job hoppers tend to switch jobs even more frequently.

People enjoy changing cities and careers, and it’s more common for people to switch jobs several times throughout their careers.

  • According to the US Labor of Statistics, an employee in the U.S. stays with their employer for an average of 4.6 years.
  • The majority of workers — 64% — favor job-hopping, according to staffing firm Robert Half.

Why Do People Job Hop?

Most people switch jobs because they are not too happy with their current position and are looking for another opportunity to help grow their careers.

Others switch jobs because they get bored very quickly and easily, and are looking for more challenging opportunities. Once they get good at their daily tasks, they soon want to switch to something that’s more engaging.

There are also some job-hoppers who switch jobs to gain specific new skills. This might involve an industry switch or going back to school in order to build a more unique skill set. Some people job hop without planning — maybe it’s due to a bad day at work, a nasty boss, or an annoying client, which can urge people to change jobs as soon as possible.

Naturally, there are benefits of job-hopping but do it too frequently and it could impact you negatively as well. Below are some pros and cons, which can help you make a more informed decision about your career choices.

The Pros Job Hopping

1. You'll be good at adapting.

A job hopper constantly needs to adapt to a new working environment, which involves developing important adaptation skills such as communication, managing relationships, and quick learning.

Every time you switch jobs, you’re rebuilding relationships and learning how to do things all over again. Being able to adapt to a new work environment is a good soft skill to have.

2. You'll have faster career development.

In many industries, the fastest way to move up the ladder is to switch jobs. That’s because the more opportunities and environments you put yourself in, the more you can grow and learn about your industry.

This can increase the rate at which you develop your career, especially if you are put in positions of responsibility.

3. Your salary will be higher. 

The higher up the ladder you go, the higher the salary you can ask for. Although you will generally get bonuses and annual raises if you stick to one job and one position, they may not be as high as if you were to switch jobs.

Job hopping can be a great way to increase your salary and boost your own personal finances. According to a report by Chime, changing jobs can nearly double your salary long term.

4. You have the opportunity for a life change.

Changing your job can also give you the opportunity to change your life and start again. Maybe you’re tired with your current position or even your current city. Switching jobs can be the reset button on both your career and personal life, and offer you a healthy change in scenery.

The Cons Of Job Hopping

1. You may have a hard time establishing yourself.

The main disadvantage of changing jobs is that it can be difficult to properly establish yourself. That includes your career, personal and professional relationships.

Every time you change jobs, you’re starting over with quite a few things. This means it may take longer to get your vacation time, your benefits will take longer to kick in and you’ll constantly need to change insurance plans.

You could lose some of your 401(k) contributions, and you’ll keep getting waiting periods before being able to contribute to your retirement accounts.

2. You'll have trouble stopping.

If you job-hop too often, you may never be satisfied with where you land. You’ll keep finding a reason to leave your job, and will always believe that the grass is greener on the other side.

This can end up very frustrating, and you may end up with something called “job-hopping syndrome.”

Job hopping itself can also take a large toll emotionally, financially, and personally — a lot of admin is involved and it’s not particularly fun. This can also undermine your confidence in the long term.

3. You'll have a shorter track record.

Many companies don’t like job hoppers because their track record is too short. If you only stay at a job for a year or less, it may not give you enough time to provide results and show off any accomplishments.

Job hopping too quickly may indicate that you have problems committing, and a future employer may not be too keen to take you on.

The Do’s of Job Hopping

Take the planning seriously

Many job hoppers change jobs because they are reacting too fast to a present situation. Instead of quitting a job out of dissatisfaction, start planning your future.

Take the time to evaluate and adjust what is currently working and not working, and build a picture of what you want your career to look like.

On a piece of paper, write down what you like and don’t like about your current job, and then describe what your ideal job would look like. Evaluate your various talents and career options, and see what open positions are on the market.

Follow a job search methodology

Once you know what you want, you’ll want to follow a systematic process to secure your job. Instead of browsing online boards and dreaming about your ideal job, make a detailed plan with how you plan on securing the position.

You’ll want to personalize your resume accordingly, and then go serious on the networking. Reach out the people who have positions that you want to be in, and ask them out for coffee to see how they did it.

When you do find a position you like, go the extra mile to show that you’ve done your research.

Focus on developing skills

Try to develop essential skills before leaving your current job. You want to make the most of what you currently have, so try to leverage your network and maximize your potential in the company.

You’ll be able to add this to your resume and will have something to discuss in your next interview with your potential new job.

The Dont’s of Job Hopping

Don’t do it just for the salary

Salary is important but it’s also good to evaluate your entire package before leaving — make sure your next job also has benefits, vacation time, retirement accounts, and a short commute.

If your next job has a lower salary but better benefits and work culture, it may still be worth switching jobs.

Increasing your income is certainly important and there are a few things you can do if the salary is the only reason you are considering job-hopping. Start side hustling or freelancing on the side.

  • Sign-up for Flexjobs to get access to the best freelance and consulting gigs.
  • Use gig economy apps to make some cash like Doordash, Postmates, Instacart, Uber, or Rover.
  • Ask for a raise or see how you can increase your salary.

Don’t leave on a bad note

Leaving your current job in good standing is the best move you can make when preparing to switch jobs. If colleagues or a boss feels offended by the way you leave your job, it may cause problems down the road.

It’s always best to leave on a positive note, so you always have the opportunity to ask for recommendations or leverage your network in the future. If you develop a bad reputation amongst colleagues, this can follow you throughout your career.

Don’t leave too soon

Less than a year at a job is a very short period of time. Unless you are seriously struggling or suffering, it’s best to try and stay at least a year at your current position.

If you leave too soon, this can raise red flags for future employers and also cause even more emotional and personal stress when changing jobs.

Signs That You Should Job Hop

Not every job is perfect and you shouldn't just quit when things get tough. You need to be resilient and find a plan to alleviate any work troubles. However, there are some clear signs that it might be time to job hop.

You don’t like your boss

Having a nasty boss can seriously impact your everyday mood. It’s likely your boss doesn’t like you either, which may influence your own work career and situation.

If you dread every chat with your boss and wish they weren’t there, then that’s can be the first sign it’s time to job hop. A toxic workplace is a good indication it’s time to leave.

You can’t handle the stress

If you’ve got too much work to do and you’re dealing with some other personal issues as well, the stress can quickly become unmanageable.

Even if your salary is high, it may not be worth the stress and you may want to consider leaving your position and finding something less stressful.

You despise Monday mornings

If you absolutely dread Monday mornings on Sunday night, it may be a sign you strongly dislike your job.

However, it’s important to understand exactly what is causing the knot in your stomach, so you know what to look out for in your new job.

If you write down the negatives of your current job, you’ll be able to look out for them in your next job and maybe even realize which aspects of your current job you actually like.

You don’t feel challenged

Even if you haven’t been in your position for that long, you may still get the feeling that you aren’t advancing your career and aren’t being challenged enough.

If after asking for new projects, skill-building and training, you still feel a lack of challenge, it may be time to look for a new position.

Asking for a raise isn’t working

If asking for more money was easy, we’d all be doing it constantly! Everyone wants to make more money. Before jumping to a new gig or becoming fed up with your work, ask for a raise first.

If you are underpaid and valuable to the company, ask for more money. And if f you are unsure where you stand, connect with your manager and see what you can do and deliver to earn a good raise.

Good managers will work with you and build a plan. And if they don’t or are playing games with a potential raise, then job-hopping might be an option.

What's your no. 1 piece of job-hopping advice? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

This article originally appeared in Invested Wallet and was syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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