Does Switching Jobs Hurt Your Career?

“Stay at a company for at least two years.” I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been on the receiving end of this advice and heard the same advice passed on to others. Everyone from your colleagues to your family have an opinion on this topic, and as someone who has worked in recruitment for several years and receives detailed resume feedback on the regular from hiring teams, I can tell you that the answer to the question is complicated.

On one hand, there are clear benefits of job hopping. On the other hand, it can impact your reputation and the perception of you as an employee and a candidate.

THE GOOD

Career Advancement

When you job hop (change jobs every 1-2 years), you have the potential to go further faster, especially early in your career when you’re trying to build up a portfolio of skills, knowledge and experience to take on more responsibility. You’re not waiting for that ‘next job’ to come up in your current company and quickly taking on more senior titles.

Job Satisfaction

Switching jobs can help you to find the right company for you. One where you can see yourself staying for the longer term where you have a great team and growth opportunities. If you’re absolutely miserable in a job where there is no resolution, staying in it for years is going to be pretty painful.

Compensation

Changing jobs can be a very lucrative way to increase your salary. Studies have shown that employees who stick around in their current job and company can expect a 3% average annual raise, whereas changing your job/company will get you a 10-20% increase in your salary.

THE BAD

Perception

You may be dismissed by hiring managers. While many employers have become more accepting of shorter periods of employment, I would be lying if I hadn’t supported teams who dismissed resumes of candidates who changed companies every 1-3 years. Hiring managers may not want to invest their time and resources into someone they believe will only stay for a year or two. 

Have Reasoning

If you are a job hopper, it’s likely you’ll be asked about your frequent moves, even if they’re legitimate (maybe you relocated, were a contract worker, or your job was eliminated). Be prepared to explain the reasoning behind each of your moves and tell your story.

It’s Taxing

When you only spend a year or two at each organization, you’re constantly settling in and having to re-prove yourself which can be taxing and stressful.

All in all, changings jobs every few years has clear benefits and where it makes sense and you’re able to explain your reasoning, it can be the right move. But it can be taxing on you to do it frequently while also leaving some hiring managers with the perception that you’re not looking for something long term, even if you are.

If the goal of your next move is to find a place that you stay for the long term, make sure you do your research on the job, the company and the culture to learn as much as you can up front and increase your likelihood of staying. Ask questions and try to get a sense of what it would be like to really work at that company and what advancement and development looks like so that you can make an informed decision on an offer.

Why a Growth Mindset is the Key to Success

Being able to harness a growth mindset can have implications on your career development. Mindset is everything, and as organizations become more agile and fast-moving, a growth mindset becomes a much higher priority and therefore crucial to your career success. Individuals who have a growth mindset believe their talents can be developed and tend to achieve more than those with a fixed mindset, who are more likely to believe that talents are innate gifts rather than something that can be improved upon through hard work.

A growth mindset is also exactly the opposite of a fixed mindset in that it is quite literally not fixed. Creating a growth mindset is a process – a gradual and conscious process of changing the way you think over time and regularly reflecting on where you utilize your growth mindset vs. your fixed mindset in various areas of your life. A growth mindset is more of a journey than an end-goal and requires critical thinking and a belief in continuous learning.

How does this impact your career?

If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that you’re dealt a specific hand in life including your talents, abilities and intelligence. This belief of an invisible ceiling will likely stunt your career progression at some point.

If you have a growth mindset, you believe in cultivating skills, knowledge and talents through hard work, strategy and feedback. You place less limitations on yourself and your abilities and believe in failing forward and learning.

Through reflection you can start to identify where in your life you utilize your fixed mindset, and where you utilize a growth mindset. Some questions to ask yourself:

Where have you seen challenges as learning experiences?

Do you take advantage of opportunities to develop your skills, knowledge and abilities?

Steps to Foster a Growth Mindset

Fail Forward

Embrace failure and acknowledge that failing does not mean that you are unintelligent or inadequate. When you make an error or a mistake, you haven’t failed, you’ve learned.

Seek Feedback

Feedback is vital to your growth and development, and individuals with a growth mindset accept and embrace feedback for self-improvement.

Prioritize Learning

The process of learning is the key, not necessarily the end result.

Turn Challenges into Opportunities

Having a growth mindset means challenges are just opportunities for learning and improvement.

If you want to read more about the research behind the correlation between mindset and success, I highly recommend Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. It’s based on decades of research by the author and world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck and will completely change the way you think.

“No matter what your current ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.” – Carol Dweck

3 Habits for Working Remotely

I must say that working remotely has been the best part of 2020 for me, bar none. It has offered more flexibility and balance between my personal and work schedule and with no hour-long commute to endure, I can effectively do so much more with that free time. However, I have noticed this year that maintaining a healthy boundary between work and home has been extremely challenging because working remotely has made it that much easier to be plugged in all the time.

In the beginning of the pandemic working remotely felt somewhat stressful and I went a little overboard with working trying to make it clear that I was still productive from home. More recently, I’ve found myself rationalizing answering emails while watching TV “after work” and going to log off at 5:30pm and thinking ‘well, let me just knock this one thing off of my to-do list’ and then looking up to find it’s 7pm. This has caused work and home to become one big blur which lead to a bit of burnout recently and I realized I had to make some adjustments.

Separate your workspace

Being able to work from your bed is fun until it isn’t! Drawing a line between where you work vs. where you live is important. If you can physically close the door to your home office at the end of the workday that’s great, but even if you don’t have a home office, working from a specific part of your apartment or room and putting your laptop and work phone away each day when you finish will help to create some separation. 

Have a trigger to kickstart and end the workday

With no commute and no heels to kick off at the end of the day, I was missing a trigger that told my brain that the workday had ended. Your trigger could be anything – getting dressed, meditating, reading, taking a shower, taking a walk or whatever works for you. I’ve found the trigger that starts my day is putting on a pot of coffee in the morning, and the trigger to end my day has been a walk or two around the block. It’s enough time to clear my head and separate myself from work thoughts and technology.

Set a time to log off

It becomes much easier to lose track of time and work late when you’re remote. Setting a hard stop time for yourself will keep your work in check and also prevent it from bleeding into your personal life and the things you need to do after work. I would normally finish up my workday around 4:30pm so I do my best to set a hard stop at 5pm, which gives me a little bit of leeway to finish things up.

While working remotely creates a lot of flexibility, it also allows work to start creeping into your personal life which can create an unhealthy dynamic in your home- balance is key. Setting a few disciplined habits will mean being able to mentally and physically detach from your work more easily, creating a stronger work-life balance for you.

Why You Should Never Accept the Counteroffer

There have been two instances in my career where I accepted a new job with a different company and when I walked into my managers office to provide my resignation, I was asked what salary I’d be looking for in order to stay. In both situations I was a very taken back, and with one it was downright offensive because I had already tried to negotiate a salary increase months before.

While it can be tempting (and flattering) to hear your manager and company try to bid you back with a higher salary, promise of more responsibility or something else of value to you, the best response is a very polite “no, thank you”, and here’s why.

There was a reason you decided to start a job search and that could have included salary, but probably wasn’t limited to it.

A 2018 study done by Korn Ferry of almost 5000 professionals found that 33% of employees started looking for a job because they were bored and no longer felt challenged in their role. 24% started looking because the company culture didn’t fit with their values, while a smaller percentage noted salary as the top reason to start looking for a new job. And my guess is that prior to starting your search, you had already tried to resolve your concerns, or, your concern was something fixed (like a rough commute).

When your manager comes to you with a counter offer you might wonder: between yesterday and today, what changed? Why are you now being offered the raise you asked for months ago? Why is there now an opportunity for you to lead that project? It isn’t that your value is suddenly apparent to your manager. It’s because your leaving not only causes a disruption in work and productivity, but it also means hiring and training someone new which is expensive and a large time commitment.

Bottom line: if you ever find yourself on the other end of a counteroffer, take stock of the reasons you started your job search in the first place and be honest with yourself. Would those issues go away or be resolved if you accepted? It’s unlikely.