THINK Before You Leap: Job-Hopping

February 15th, 2012 | Posted in by

What you have to understand – as a young student about to struggle for your first real job: Employers are in the midst of an all out panic attack. And it’s your fault.


The bond between an employer and employee can run very deep. It is a very reciprocal relationship: you get what you put into each other. As far as relationships go, most people feel GenX/Boomers are monogamous, steady and reliable.

GenY is the cheating, promiscuous boy/girlfriend.

The statistics are pretty clear on this:
GenY is likely to run through at least NINE jobs before we hit the age of 30.

Why you do it is irrelevant. What you need to know is how high turnover on your resume is going to affect you.

Your potential for hire drops significantly

Most of us in GenY aren’t in management yet (something about our inexperience or something) so we don’t realize how expensive we are.

Every time an employer hires you they do so by investing a lot of money in you: researching candidate pools, putting people to work interviewing you, TONS of time/money training you and other employees have to set aside time from their day to train/orient you to the workplace.

You could potentially end up costing them nearly $400,000 when you quit as an entry-level employee.

If it cost you even an eighth of that every time you broke up with someone, at what point would you start asking your dates for references?

You will learn nothing

Even the lowest, most entry-level job like say… working at a flower department of a grocery store it takes at least a year to fully understand 50% of the work (as a former flower girl I can attest to this).

Though we hate to admit it there is something to be said about not rushing your work. The influence does come from technology: we consume massive amounts of information in short time frames. We feel smarter for it.

But the truth is we are consumers of superficial knowledge both in life and when we jump from one job to another. When you leave a job before you’ve even hit the two-year mark you haven’t even begun to really understand the intricacies necessary in your work to move onto bigger, broader work. How do you manage a company when you’ve never really worked for a single company long enough to have learned anything important?

It’s risky for your career

Why do we jump around really? It’s nothing as inherent as calling us lazy, self absorbed or ignorant. These are just the cries of the narrow-minded.

The jump stems from a number of factors but the root of it is simple enough: we want to find the right job. It isn’t stupid or naïve to try and find the career of your dreams but jumping around can actually jeopardize your path.

The issue is trust: if you can’t be trusted to stay put long enough to be worth and employer’s effort they won’t care about your explanations. You will be ignored.

Keeping that in mind, approach your career however you see fit. Maybe you have the right reasons for dropping your position too quickly. But always know that in the end you have to answer for the decisions you make and the cost can be high.

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  • Alaina Cyr

    Though the cost of losing an employee is certainly a valid point, the tone of this article is bordering on offensive. There are many valid reasons why a young professional would job hop, first and foremost because many entry-level positions don’t provide enough, either in terms of hours or wages. Living off of a minimum wage salary or part time hours doesn’t cut it when the cost of living is increasing and you’re burdened with $40 000 in debt. Gen Yers get a bad wrap; anyone who is highly educated and underemployed, regardless of what year they were born in, would be jaded with the job market. 

    • Anja Milenkovic

      I apologise if I caused any offence. 

      You are right in pointing out that there are multiple reasons for job hopping. The target of this article are not the masses who suffer from unemployment and are struggling to land a job of any kind. This is mainly an article for those who either refuse to settle for anything less than their dream job or have such expectations that they do not see any benefits in taking on a minimum wage job. 

      The context of the phrase “job hopping” tends to be limited to those who willingly switch jobs around (at least in my industry that appears to be the context), I meant it in no other way.  I will clarify such things in the future.

  • Anonymous

    Corporations demand loyalty and provide zero in return. Employees are disposable.

    I’ll just leave this here:

  • Colin Finlay

    Anja, I think you make some valid points but there is something to be said regarding an employers ability to attract and retain its employees as well. Often people aren’t jumping off the boat just because they felt like going for a swim. Normally its because something is wrong on the boat and it seems like its sinking or they happen to see another boat where it seems life could be better. Unfortunately many don’t realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the hill until they get there. Live and learn.