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Is Switching Jobs Too Often a Bad Thing?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the do-you-have-to-settle-somewhere-careerwise dept.

Businesses 208

Career Hot Potato asks: "I've been out of school for little more than a year and I have only good things to say about the job market. So far, there doesn't seem to be any lack of demand for a good .NET developer. I've got to admit, though, I feel a little disloyal at this point. Several great job offers have come my way and I've taken them. My resume is starting to make me look a bit restless and it worries me. Until now I've just chalked it up to 'I'm just settling in,' but now another opportunity has been dropped into my lap. Would I be digging my own grave by taking this job? It'd be my fourth job in 16 months but each offered a promotion and a 30% to 40% raise. I know better than to put a price on job satisfaction but I'm pretty certain I'd be happy there. Is being branded as a 'hot potato' enough to keep you from switching? What's your price on this stigma?"

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Good .NET developers? (5, Funny)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150370)

So far, there doesn't seem to be any lack of demand for a good .NET developer.

Excellent! What's the market like for evil .NET developers?

Re:Good .NET developers? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150698)

Excellent! What's the market like for evil .NET developers?

in .net, you are paid more; it is a position working for MS.

Re:Good .NET developers? (2, Funny)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151100)

in .net, you are paid more; it is a position working for MS.

I believe you meant to say:

in .net, you are paid more, because it is a position working under MS.

(imagine Ballmer as your MS avatar for the truly horrifying image).

Re:Good .NET developers? (2, Funny)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151638)

working under MS.

Just got this horrible image of the scene from Office Space with the boss having sex with his GF. Except with Ballmer.

Re:Good .NET developers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18151796)

with the boss having sex with his GF. Except with Ballmer.

And instead of the girlfriend, it was YOU.

Re:Good .NET developers? (0, Troll)

ninevoltz (910404) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151096)

So far, there doesn't seem to be any lack of demand for a good .NET developer. There is no such thing as a "good" DOTNET developer.

Re:Good .NET developers? (1)

BerntB (584621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151534)

Was that a spam ad for this [greatsfandf.com] book? :-)

Re:Good .NET developers? (2, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151744)

Excellent! What's the market like for evil .NET developers?

You newbie, he's using the *Advanced* rules. The question should be, is the OP chaotic good or chaotic neutral?

Job hopping is bad for career (5, Insightful)

asb (1909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150374)

Yes! Switching jobs often makes you look like a "job hopper". You can do it once but your resume should have a job that spans several years right after it. That way you can lie about the short job and get away with it.

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (5, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150452)

You can do it once but your resume should have a job that spans several years right after it. That way you can lie about the short job and get away with it.

Hmmmmmn, I'm not so sure, while a job change every four months is a little much, while the offers keep flowing in (ie, he's not actively job hunting), no problem.

As far as resumes go, who cares, fluff it out. Drop off the the job who'll give you the worst references/referee & extend the other jobs in a month, with a two month 'sabbatical'* in the middle.

Switching jobs can be bad, but if you're being offered jobs, basically, don't stress about it. Take the job if you think its better (pay, stability, working environemnt, proximity to home, etc).

* When you're asked about your sabbatical in your interview, say you wanted time to learn $.Net_related_thing and had enough saving to take some time off.

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (2, Insightful)

asb (1909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150906)

Switching jobs can be bad, but if you're being offered jobs, basically, don't stress about it. Take the job if you think its better (pay, stability, working environemnt, proximity to home, etc).

Note that I was talking about career. If you can not show that you have been able to hold a job for several years, nobody will give you a job when you have to look for one. Just like the previous IT bubble, this one won't last forever. I had two six month jobs and a one year job during the last bubble. And now every time I was in an interview after them I got asked why I switched so often. Luckily, the one year job ended up in bankruptcy so I could explain them convincingly.

Your future employee prospects will question those four jobs during the 16 months (or will it be 5 jobs in 20 month). Your employee does not want to invest in someone who jumps ship in four months.

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (4, Informative)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151750)

Your future employee prospects will question those four jobs during the 16 months (or will it be 5 jobs in 20 month). Your employee does not want to invest in someone who jumps ship in four months.
Jumping ship so often also cannot be easily explained when you have a long term pattern of it. If I were interviewing someone, regardless of what they said, it would raise major red flags. Despite good references, it would still be in the back of my mind that you left for a reason other than the next job offer. Did you screw a project up and left before they found out who or how bad it was? Did you make a bad move for the business? Did you just not know enough? Over your head? Did you not get along with coworkers?

Those are all things you do not want your interviewer to think.

Also, depending on how your new employer found you, it may have been a very, very expensive process. A lot of staffing/head hunter companies are locking companies into contracts, e.g., you will pay us for 6 months regardless of how long the employee works. So if you leave at 4 months, you're really, really screwing the company (out of work and out of (tens) thousands of dollars depending on your pay rate). Loyal or not, that will make ensuring those references are good ones more difficult over time.

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151852)

Sooo... get letters of positive reference?

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (2, Informative)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151786)

A resume with lots of short term jobs looks VERY bad to employers. While right NOW he is getting a lot of job offers, that probably won't ALWAYS be the case, and a "Job Hopping" resume will look bad in the case where he is actively looking for a new job. In other words, plan for the future (not just tomorrow.) If you have been a contractor, list your client jobs under a single "employment" section, with clients listed inside that so it's obvious what was going on, and that you weren't actually a job hopper.

Getting a new employee up to speed is expensive, and job hoppers tend to be weeded out very early in hiring process. Many times HR will even eliminate them from consideration before the hiring manager even sees the resume.

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (2, Interesting)

cornjones (33009) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152032)

A resume with lots of short term jobs looks VERY bad to employers. While right NOW he is getting a lot of job offers, that probably won't ALWAYS be the case, and a "Job Hopping" resume will look bad in the case where he is actively looking for a new job.
This was my first thought as well but that is still no reason not to take this job. He doesn't have a strong accumulated time at his current job so the next one will be no different. You are going to want to have some time at SOME job before you start hopping around. As mentioned above, there is no reason to put every job you had on the resume. At a year out of school, nobody is looking for you to have been there for long term anyway. As long as the current job offer is better, I would say go for it. The risk you are facing is that the new job will suck and you will be forced to look for a new job w/ a history of job hopping. If the new job is decent enough to stay around for a while, you are golden. I would say that if you stick for anything for about 18mths (for the first 5 years or so of your career) you can allay the worries about job hopping. After year 5 you are going to need to establish some more seniority (in time) somewhere.

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (1)

hrieke (126185) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152080)

As far as resumes go, who cares, fluff it out. Drop off the the job who'll give you the worst references/referee & extend the other jobs in a month, with a two month 'sabbatical'* in the middle.


No one will risk the slander lawsuit and give a bad reference, and fibbing on your resume is a bad way to start a career. Any company that is asked about your employment will simply say, "Yes, Joe worked here from ___ to ___, and had a salary in the range of $xxxxx.", and that's it.

Now on job switching, it's always good to have a bit of a track record somewhere, 3 to 5 years is about average, but 2 years is acceptable.

Other advice? Find a boss that will let you learn and grow, some good mentoring, and even *gasp* management skills of other people and projects- because sooner or later you will need to think about your future, so start thinking now.

Good luck!

Girl hopping is bad for marriage (5, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150496)

I've been out of my parent's basement for little more than a year and I have only good things to say about the dating market. So far, there doesn't seem to be any lack of demand for a good geek. I've got to admit, though, I feel a little disloyal at this point. Several girls have come my way and I've taken them. My list of ex-girlfriends is starting to make me look a bit restless and it worries me. Until now I've just chalked it up to 'It's just hormones,' but now another chick has been dropped into my lap. Would I be digging my own grave by taking this girl? It'd be only my fourth time speaking to a woman in 19 years but each offered benefits and a 30% to 40% increase in cup size. I know better than to put a price on satisfaction but I'm pretty certain I'd be happy with her even though all I ever do with girls is hold hands. Is being branded as a 'hot potato' enough to keep you from switching? What's your price on this stigma?
 

Re:Girl hopping is bad for marriage (1)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150922)

I'm impressed. A 30% to 40% increase of bust size over four women is somewhere between a 280% to 380% increase overall!
If this was anywhere else on the internet I might believe you but on Slashdot we have difficulty believing the girlfriend thing.

Re:Girl hopping is bad for marriage (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150946)

>If this was anywhere else on the internet I might believe you but on Slashdot we have difficulty believing the girlfriend thing.

It's not as unreasonable as you might think. He probably started dating a flat-chested 12 year old, and then upgraded to a 14 y/o...

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (1)

Wansu (846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150632)


  You can do it once but your resume should have a job that spans several years right after it.

Several years? I must be getting old. I remember when only staying a couple years was considered job hopping.

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150802)

You do not need to lie and should not lie. If a job was not working out or somebody headhunted you with a vastly superior offer out of it you might as well say it. Everything else aside the hiring person can nowdays easily find what happened to you in your previous jobs. In that case a lie will be clearly not in your favour.

The world is getting smaller and smaller and with sites like linkedin around it will take less than 15 seconds for someone to find a suitable "informal" reference. So a lie is quite likely to cost you the next job. Same for doctoring CVs, putting fake "Senior" into the job title, putting fake "responsibilities" like "mentoring junior developers" and other usual bollocks stuff people do to get themselves pushed into the higher salary bracket.

Always presume that your interviewer has looked you up on social networking sites and already has a reference for you or two before doing anything stupid (these are my observations from recently looking for a job).

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18150860)

What's so hard about staying away from the Myspace et al?

Or if you must be an interweb jackass, at least do it without posting your full name and number?

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (2, Insightful)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151026)

Treat myspace and your blog as an extension of your CV, and you will probably do OK. I know for a fact that I've had interviewers/recruiters reading my blog. I don't see this as a problem, but ... well you definitely need to remain aware that it's liable to happen.

And of course, bear in mind what it shows up if they type your name into google.

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151506)

And of course, bear in mind what it shows up if they type your name into google.
Ha! If I type my name into google all you'll find is page after page of Mexican travel agents! My website doesn't even show up!
*sob*

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (1)

khanyisa (595216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152518)

The alternative is to use your new job offer to negotiate a comparable salary from your current employer. That way you keep the job and the stable image, and you get the benefits

Re:Job hopping is bad for career (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151162)

> Yes! Switching jobs often makes you look like a "job hopper".

It can look however it likes. If he's getting hired each time then there's no problem. There's only a problem if he can't get a job. There's no end of ways you can sell it. You don't even have to put all your previous jobs on your resume if you don't want to, unless you want to use 'commercial experience' of a technology as a selling point. At the end of the day, if a company needs your skills for something, they'll pay for it.

A job is a job (5, Interesting)

DsNchNtD (1065188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150402)

The way I see it, if you end up getting a job you are pretty much set. The only thing it could hurt is your ability to GET a job, not KEEP it. As long as you are happy with the latest offer and stick with it you should be able to put in enough time to get passed the whole 'hot potato' phase before you need to look for another. Go with what will make you happy while making the most money =P

Agreed (3, Interesting)

samael (12612) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150902)

If you're being offered jobs then your new employer is fine with the amount of job-hopping you're doing. If you're not, then you're stuck in your current one until your CV looks better. In either case, you don't need to worry about anything - except for taking a job that you hate, in case you get stuck there.

Re:A job is a job (3, Interesting)

eht (8912) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152426)

One big problem I see happening is he gets a new job for 30-40% more money from a company that can't afford him and he then loses his job. Company could close down, get bought out or any number of things or plain decides they don't want him. Now this isn't the dot bomb era anymore but these things still happen. Now when he goes to looks for a job and has 4 jobs in 16 months and no one wants to hire him for anywhere near the money he was making at his last job this can become a problem.

Not if... (5, Interesting)

Vexinator (253312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150414)

I've got a book here by Gordon Miller, called Quit Your Job Often and Get Big Raises.
Switching jobs regularly can be fantastic for your career - but you have to do it intelligently: leave AFTER you finish a big project.

(disclaimer: I'm a contractor - it's a whole other way of making a living.)

Re:Not if... (2, Insightful)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151960)

disclaimer: I'm a contractor - it's a whole other way of making a living.

So am I. I was thinking that he would make a perfect whore. Make double. Less politics. More interesting projects. More respect. More freedom. I'll never be a wage slave again.

Yes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18150416)

Is Switching Jobs Too Often a Bad Thing?

Yes, doing anything too often is a bad thing.

Hope that helps.

Re:Yes (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150586)

First post to notice the trap. Kudos.

It can be (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150438)

As with anything else, there's no hard and fast rules, but it can be a bad thing because it makes you look like a disloyal salary chaser. One of the (many) problems in the .com era was that people would jump form ship to ship chasing higher salaries. You'd get trained people leaving a job they'd been at for a number of years and then hop across 5 different startups. Well, when the market came down is it and wonder that companies were less inclined to hire them? I mean who's to say they wouldn't jump ship as soon as a bigger number came along?

However please don't take this to mean you should try and stick with a company no matter what. You do not owe your company anything other than good work and you shouldn't stick around in a situation that sucks. However do take in to consideration that what goes around comes around in terms of loyalty.

My personal rule would be don't switch jobs without a good reason. There are lots of things that could be a good reason, but just a salary increase really isn't. There's much more to happiness than money and if you get in a game of chasing dollars it is easy to make yourself unhappy. Figure out what you want out of work and try to find a place that offers that. Then stay there unless there's a reason to move. Also consider other things like work environment, benefits (such a vacation, health coverage), and so on.

So don't turn this down just because you feel you are switching too often, but don't take it just because it is more dollars, unless you are in a situation where you need the money (in which case ask yourself why, and make sure you don't get there again). Take it if it will be better for your long term happiness. Money is certainly a part of that, but consider all the factors.

Do this not only because you want to be happy, but because it is easier to explain to a future employer if they ask about it. If they say "You have a lot of jobs here in the past few years, why is that?" You come off much better explaining how the changes were for personal reasons such as liking the new challenge, growth, better environment, etc than if you just say you were after bigger bucks.

Also part of it depends on how you want to present yourself in the job market. A legit way to go is a consultant kind of worker. Maybe not an actual consultant, but willing to take on short-term work. Company needs a developer for a single project that's maybe 6-12 months, you say sure and ride that while it's there then move on. In that case switching jobs is not just expected but probably even an asset as they won't worry you'll be pissed when they lay you off. However if you are more after the stable environment, where you work for a place for 5, 10, or more years and train to do new things as necessary, then look at doing less job hopping as places like that want people who will stick around.

Ultimately you are the only one with the answers. Just consider the reasons and make sure they are good ones. Make sure you consider everything you are giving up and that it still is worth it.

Re:It can be (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18152332)

companies aren't loyal to us, why are we suddenly expected to be loyal to them?
you reap what you sow.

You're getting a new job. (2, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150464)

If you worry about how your resume will look like after you get a new job, something's wrong about your approach. You're taking a job because of the job and prospects connected with it. You should plan on staying at that job for MANY years. Otherwise, just don't take it. You'll either build several years of constant job there, a good solid entry in your resume, with summarizing your previous employment as a single "2006-2007 various short-term jobs", or you're doing this only to jump to yet another job in a few months, and that means you are a hot-potato and you'll get what you deserve. Anyway, as long as BETTER offers keep coming, you can keep accepting them, but note BETTER doesn't only mean higher salary or promotion. About the most important condition for a long-term job is good atmosphere and that's not what you can negotiate from the employee. So one day you may notice "sure, I'm paid a lot and I'm a boss of a big team but everyone hates me and is out to get me" and you'll remember a good, friendly place you had left before. And then your resume may count.

Why do you keep looking? (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150470)

So you find a job, but keep looking for new jobs? Why?

About your question, it's not necessarily a bad thing. I've been offered a lot of "6 month contract" positions. If you've been doing stuff like that, it would make sense that you've switched jobs every few months when the contract ends.

But if that's not the case, or if it is and you keep leaving early, then it probably looks bad. Hiring people is an expensive pain in the ass, and if an employer thinks it's very likely they'll have to replace you, they're less likely to hire you.

If it hasn't been a problem so far, your best bet is probably to keep finding jobs with huge pay increases until people stop making you offers. Just make sure you like the job you end up with and hope that it lasts for a long time.

Re:Why do you keep looking? (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150744)

In this type of situation, it's better for you to create your own company and work under that umbrella. That way, you have protection through your company and you have 1 company that you've worked with over the long haul.

My two cents (2, Funny)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150474)

I'd think maintaining company loyalty is more important than money. At least that way you gain some security. Think about it as if you were an employer. Would you be willing to hire someone who hasn't stayed with a company for a reasonable amount of time?

I don't have much, if any, experience, so don't take my comments too seriously. Consider this though. If I take a job (not a tech job), I'm going to honor my commitment to it even if more money is offered elswhere.

Re:My two cents (1)

Who235 (959706) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150814)

Whoa there, Smithers.

Of course you shouldn't take every job that drifts through your transom, but if someone is offering you 1/3 again as much money as you're making now, you owe it to yourself to take a look. If it looks like a good fit, you can at the very least put the screws to your current boss and see if he'll match the other company's offer. if you really like your current job, they don't even have to match it all the way - work with them. If not, finish up what you're doing and split.

Going too far with the "company man" attitude is just a license for your boss to step on you. Don't have any illusions out there, man. Loyalty is important, but only as far as it gets you closer to your goals. Security? Hah. They're not giving out the 50 year gold watches anymore at most companies - they're just looting the pensions.

Unless you own a slice of the company, you don't owe them any more than a good day's work.

Re:My two cents (1)

MechaBlue (1068636) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151028)

Putting the screws to your boss is a bad thing to do. Your boss will see you as disloyal and will replace you as soon as it is convenient for them. It's far better to leave on your own terms. Otherwise, you won't have a job and you may have no offers.

Also, I think most employers would prefer a hot potato to a cold fish; many will gauge your value by your demand.

Re:My two cents (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151056)

You need a balanced approach. I'd be inclined to agree though, that loyalty to a company is a good way to get abused - I know several people who've 'overdone it' working for a company, and now ... well are paying the price in a big way. So no, you don't really owe them anything. But at the same time, how many companies are going to want to invest in an employee if they're liable to leave in the next couple of months? Training is expensive, between the days you're not in the office, and the actual cost of a day of training, it adds up fast. An employer is entirely reasonable in looking for how long you'll last, if they're going to be 'investing' 5-10k on training for you.

Re:My two cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18150916)

Job security is an illusion, particularly in large companies; your value to a company is expressed as a number. The best you can hope for is that the company thinks that it's more expensive to replace you than it is to keep you around. As a contractor, I have more job security than the employees where I work; I get 30 days notice instead of 2 weeks and I get paid a premium because of the so-called risk. Watch for non-compete and other aggressive IP agreements.

I recommend job hopping to maximize money and experience. Save aggressively for a colder market, and keep some good ideas on the backburner. Good consultants are valuable, even in cold job markets, and you can always try your hand at developing a useful product or service and try to time it with the upswing of the market.

Re:My two cents (2, Interesting)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151666)

Well, I'm really sad to say it, but there's no such thing as loyalty. Or, let me rephrase that; there is such thing as loyalty, but your company expects a lot more of it from you then it plans to show you in return. This is true in (the made up statistic) of 99% of all businesses, large, medium, and even many small busineses. You're much more likely to be treated like a loyal employee at a small company, of course.

Still, in this case, being a young buck (I'm not, but if I was), I'd jump on the highest salary I could get, as long as the new location made it worth while. But ultimately, the job you settle in needs to meet a lot more than financial requirements. I wanted to work in the entertainment industry, having studied graphics, but I hated the west coast. I got a job a production facility on the East Coast which not only was more to my liking, but closer to my family. Moreover, while I am making less money, the amount I'm making relative to cost of living is actually more.

There are benefits to longevity at many companies, too; I'll bet the guy who posted this question hasn't even been covered by health insurance for more than a few weeks at a time. Most companies don't start matching retirement funds until you've been with them for a year or so. At my company, after 5 years you get another week of vacation. After 10 you get another week. I get nearly twice as much vacation time as someone starting out in this company, more if you separate PTO into what would otherwise be separate vacation and sick days.

Still, I'd give up a week for a 30% increase in pay. I'm pretty miserly with my PTO and usually have a couple of weeks at the end of the year. If I only had one, it wouldn't be so bad.

Depends where you are on the ladder (3, Interesting)

svunt (916464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150482)

As far as I can tell, the closer to the CEO end of the hierarchy you are, the less of a stigma is attached to it. If you've taken six different busboy jobs in a year, you're fucked. Six senior management positions in a year, you're just ambitious.

Salary Whores (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18150500)

A couple years ago this was considered being a "salary whore". It is a huge problem in your future endeavours. I have been involved in looking at resumes along with my technical manager and the first thing we look at is does he have a valid skillset that is needed for what we are looking to hire for at the time. The second thing we look at is how many jobs has he head in the past 5 years. This will tell us if he will stay on after the initial training phase of the job. If the guy has let's say 3 jobs in the past 5 years then either he's going to bail on us after a year or he got fired for being a bad apple. Either way we don't want him since we need not just loyalty but dependability. Well I guess those two go hand in hand.

There is a price to this. Be careful. (4, Interesting)

Viv (54519) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150574)

If you're getting offers of 30-40% higher and taking them, as an employer I don't think I'd blame you for hopping.

The problem is going to be this: You're costing your employers money every time you do this. Lots and lots of money. It costs money to go through the hiring process, the process of orienting you (during which time you are less productive and still getting paid), the process of processing you (HR setting up payroll, insurance, etc), and worst of all -- the opportunity cost of hiring someone who leaves in a couple of months (ie, loss of productivity due to your orientation time + hiring time of the next guy + orientation time of the next guy).

Unless you are extraordinarily compelling, I'd be inclined to pass on you as an employer unless I was sure there was something I could do to keep you should you get a better offer -- and I'd have to be willing to do it, too.

Mostly, when you make a habit of hopping, what you need to consider before you hop is:
1. If the new job turns sour, am I willing to put up with any shit they give me, no matter how bad it is.
2. Is the company going to be in a position to release me in the near future (ie, due to layoffs or because I'm a fuck up)

The reason you need to consider these is because with each hop you make in a short amount of time, the danger of the aforementioned hiring manager passing on you due to your hopping increases. You do NOT want to be without a job when you cross the line and become a radioactive hire due to job hopping.

Re:There is a price to this. Be careful. (3, Informative)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151936)

With large increases without changing industries or job roles (i.e. .NET developer) across several jobs in a short time I'd suspect OP is not negotiating hard enough.

If other companies can afford to swoop in with a raise like that, you didn't get what you should have out of the company that currently employs you when you took that job in the first place.

If you want to switch, go ahead, but spend a lot of time getting the most you can out of them and then get some negotiating skills under your belt (there's books for that, don't read them at work).

Better yet, just negotiate a higher pay rate within the job you have... you have good evidence the going rate is higher.

Re:There is a price to this. Be careful. (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152086)

If you're getting offers of 30-40% higher and taking them, as an employer I don't think I'd blame you for hopping.

The problem is going to be this: You're costing your employers money every time you do this. Lots and lots of money.

No kidding. They were getting a 25-30% discount the whole time he was there. I guess they thought that making a lowball offer was a good idea at the time since it looked like a big enough raise to the hire to lure him from his last job.

A few thoughts on your situation (4, Insightful)

subreality (157447) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150580)

#1 - If you're finding jobs offering that much more money every 4 months or so, it means you sold yourself too cheap at first. Take a moment and figure out what you're really worth. Then, when you get an offer, ignore the number if it's low, and counteroffer for what you're really worth.

#2 - Job hopping will change the kind of job offers you'll get. If you've been changing jobs every 4 months, you're going to get hired by people who have a short-term interest in you. If you show that you're committed to a job for 4 years at a time, you'll get hired by places that are looking to keep you around a long time.

#3 - If you LIKE changing jobs frequently, become a contractor! People will hire you expecting you to be there 6 months, and you'll get to try out a whole range of places. This will probably be a good thing for you until you figure out what you really want. Plus, if you decide to settle down, all you have to say is all the short jobs you did were contracts, and no one will count it against you.

#4 - Being a job hopper isn't inherently bad as long as you're representing your intentions truthfully, but don't be surprised if you end up having to seriously pay your dues to change your image if you decide you want to work somewhere more committed to YOU in the future.

Re:A few thoughts on your situation (1)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150770)

Plus, if you decide to settle down, all you have to say is all the short jobs you did were contracts, and no one will count it against you.

That's not always the case. Many places here in the UK won't (or are very reluctant to) hire ex-contractors as permanent staff. This is on the grounds that they might get itchy feet too soon. Employees are so much more valuable once they have a few years domain knowledge internalised.

Re:A few thoughts on your situation (1)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152014)

don't be surprised if you end up having to seriously pay your dues to change your image if you decide you want to work somewhere more committed to YOU in the future.

No one, and I mean no one is comitted to you. They're comitted to profits. And they'll drop you the instant you don't support that. If they say they're comitted, or you feel they're comitted, it's all part of an illusion constructed by the corporation to give them control.

Disclaimer: I'm a jaded consultant.

Sticking around can pay off. (4, Insightful)

Darth Liberus (874275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150588)

Switching jobs often is only a bad thing if your resume shows that you do it consistently. Personally I don't mind if a prospective worker has a lot of jobs on his or her resume, but I *do* mind if they don't have one or two that they stayed at for several years - it tells me one of two things:

1. You're incompetent and moved from job to job because you had to, either because you got fired or because you left right before someone let you go.

2. You're only in it for the money and could care less about what we're doing.

#1 concerns me for obvious reasons, #2 concerns me because a. even the best engineer is a drain on the project for the first six months due to training overhead (you may be brilliant, but you DON'T know what we're doing or how we do things), b. when you leave *I* have to take up your slack until the new guy comes up to speed, and c. the rest of us DO care about what we're doing.

So my advice is this: find a nice balance between your paycheck and working on something you actually LIKE DOING, and then stay there for awhile even if someone else will pay you more. I just turned away a guy who is a brilliant programmer but who hasn't held a job for more than a year since 1995 - instead, I hired someone who was less technically qualified but had the good sense to ask about the longevity of the position because he hated switching jobs... and he had a history of sticking around. I treat my people well, I expect them to do the same for me.

Financially speaking, you also need to consider two things:

1. Switching jobs rapidly significantly lowers your credit score as well as making lenders think you're a flake, which will push the APR on any money you borrow through the roof. You may not think this matters, but if you buy a house or a car the penalty can amount to many thousands of dollars a year. If you don't use credit, that's not a problem... but if (like me) you can borrow money under the rate of inflation it's a huge benefit.

2. Many employee benefits (401K matching, long-term incentives, etc.) don't vest unless you're with a company for 3-5 years, so switching jobs often can incur a hidden cost of tens of thousands of dollars per year. You probably won't see this immediately on your paycheck but you'll feel it at retirement time.

HTH.

Re:Sticking around can pay off. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151490)

2. You're only in it for the money and could care less about what we're doing.

Okay, pet peeve rant time:

Saying that you "could care less" is a good thing, because it means that you do care! If what you really meant to say is that he didn't care, then the correct phrase to use is "couldn't care less," not "could."

Re:Sticking around can pay off. (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151950)

If what you really meant to say is that he didn't care, then the correct phrase to use is "couldn't care less," not "could."

Okay, pet peeve rant time:

Saying "if" followed by a comma after the predicate implies "then", because it starts the reason! If you really meant to use "then", the correct punctuation would be to not use a comma. Otherwise, one of the two is extra and redundant.

Re:Sticking around can pay off. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152220)

Actually, both are correct, in the same way that flammable and inflammable mean the same thing.

  • "I couldn't care less" - the meaning is obvious - I don't give a sh*t.

  • "I could care less" is actually a contraction of the original phrase "I could care less ... but I'd REALLY have to work at it."

Its just that, after a while, people dropped the "... but I'd REALLY have to work at it" because, well, they couldn't care less ... :-)

Re:Sticking around can pay off. (1)

spinfire (148920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151602)

Switching jobs rapidly significantly lowers your credit score as well as making lenders think you're a flake, which will push the APR on any money you borrow through the roof. You may not think this matters, but if you buy a house or a car the penalty can amount to many thousands of dollars a year. If you don't use credit, that's not a problem... but if (like me) you can borrow money under the rate of inflation it's a huge benefit.

Is this really true? I do not recall that my credit report from any of the major agencies included information on my employers. And I don't think employment history is a factor in any of the score systems. I could be wrong. What is definitely true is that your credit score is affected by treating credit cards in this manner - having one for 6 months, closing it, opening another one, etc.

"The Industry" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18150604)

Something you don't learn in school is that every single company has a single laser-pointed focus: to get the most out of you for the lowest possible salary. This is how it works in good companies and in bad companies.

Something you don't learn in school is that every single employee needs a single laser-pointed focus: to get the most out of the company for the lowest investment of your time. This is how it works in good employees and in bad employees.

Eventually your salary will approach "fair market value" and you won't see massive salary increases, that is called the ceiling. When you hit the ceiling you will focus more on "quality of life" concerns.

Good luck!

At least you get paid! (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150638)

This is my second job and it's the second time that i work for free as sysadmin

Re:At least you get paid! (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150764)

As a guess I'd say that you don't have much in the way of job experience or qualifications under your belt yet. I fail to see that you would let this happen otherwise.

It's all well and good to do some work experience over a short period of time but if you've been working for more than a few months and still not being paid, you're being taken for a ride. In the UK, your next company has access to your salary details. Generally you will be paid a figure relative to your last wage. You can see what kind of trouble you might end up in if you set your standards to low...

Re:At least you get paid! (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150784)

Unfortunately I live in southern italy and they don't pay you or pay very low, i know people that works for free from 3-4 years

Where does your money come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18151414)

I'm assuming you get some sort of social security allowance, with the condition that you have to work somewhere. No work (even for free) then no allowance. Is this correct?

Otherwise, why work at all? You would be making better money starting an online company selling garden dirt or something.

Re:At least you get paid! (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151630)

Move north.

Re:At least you get paid! (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150798)

Wait... You're saying that in the UK, a company has a right to call up another company and ask for salary details?

Re:At least you get paid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18151218)

Individuals' W-2 forms (or whatever they are called in the UK) are probably covered by sunshine laws.

Re:At least you get paid! (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151764)

Are you saying:

A) at your paid job, which is NOT system administrator, that you are also doing the duties of a system administrator? Or,

B) you've actually taken a job that doesn't pay (for charity or something)?

Because if you're whining about A, then I have news for you - you actually ARE getting paid if you're doing it during the business hours that you're getting paid. If you think you were hired under a bait and switch, and you don't get paid like a sysadmin gets paid, then you need to ask your manager for commensurate salary.

And if you don't do that, it's YOUR fault.

loyalty is a 2 way street (3, Insightful)

Wansu (846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150650)


  I've got to admit, though, I feel a little disloyal at this point.

Why? Do you think they're loyal to you? If you think that, you've got another thought comin'.

Re:loyalty is a 2 way street (2, Insightful)

mustafap (452510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150728)

>>I've got to admit, though, I feel a little disloyal at this point.
>Why? Do you think they're loyal to you? If you think that, you've got another thought comin'.

Best comment so far.

to the original poster:

You feel disloyal to your colleagues, I presume. But you are not employed by your colleagues - you are employed by a company that does not give a damm about you, and will drop you in a heart beat. Remember that. You will discover it over the years as you see good people dropped in the basket for no good reason. Keep your CV up to date, learn how to sell yourself, keep an eye on the job market and don't be scared to change jobs. It can be very difficult changing jobs while still employed but it is *much* better than finding yourself out of work.

all IMHO, of course.

Re:loyalty is a 2 way street (1)

Duds (100634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151036)

You're employed by the wrong company.

Re:loyalty is a 2 way street (1)

MrBoombasticfantasti (593721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151438)

Is there another kind?


/Just asking, no kidding, really

Re:loyalty is a 2 way street (1)

Duds (100634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151792)

Generally the smaller the company, the more they'll give a shit.

Although at least part of that is probably that it's an utter bugger to hire people as a smaller comapny.

Other things to think about (1)

BW_Nuprin (633386) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150670)

A year out of school and I'd say you can get away with it, but don't keep it up. If you think this next job is someplace you'll be happy, take it. But first take stock of your current job - are you happy there? Could you be? I've hopped jobs for salary increases several times, but I'd gladly drop my salary to work someplace stable where I could also be happy. Lucky for me, I AM happy, and I'm pretty well paid :) But more important than salary is connections, so make sure you make a few good ones wherever you land.

Every four months? Ouch (2, Interesting)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150676)

Dear CHP: You don't really have enough all 'round experience in the 'real world' to ask or even understand such a question. You seem to have no concept of loyalty to an employer, etc. If this was related to being placed by an agency...one agency that you've been with since you left school...I might buy it. Otherwise, you're much too green to be trusted to stick around long enough for you or the employer to really know if you should go or stay.

If I were a recruiter and knew about such moves, I'd be suspicious, regardless of your explanation(s). It sounds more like you've been dismissed after every 90 day probation for the last four hirings.

Also, don't ignore how this will look on credit reports as well - to banks and potential employers. Employers frequently check those these days, so try as you might to gloss over within a resume and you're more likely to just be putting your neck in a noose. Pick a job and stay with it for at least a year. Get more experience out in the world and use that to help pick the job you think you want...later. Otherwise, work for an agency and do your hopping while still showing one employer.

You can always do what most people in the same position do... start your own business and you can change once a week if you like :)

you should settle or contract (1)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150714)

If you take a permanent job you should stick with it for at least 9 months to a year, you've hardly got outside your probation periods before you've left. You talk about the market like a contractor, if your after increasing your skillset quickly and broadly as well as discovering what you like/don't/good-at/bad-at it's a great way to do it. It'd be harder to take a permanent job later as its slightly looked down upon, but no-where near as much as what your doing.

Consider being a contractor (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150766)

If you like the changes, AND the higher salary, consdier being a hired gun. You can earn a great deal more. From the companies POV, you are a hired gun. If they really like you, they may offer you a position at a nice rate esp. if they think that the economy is going gang busters.

But some words of caution; First, the contact shop is a pimp and considers you less than whore. They will try to take as much as possible from you. From watching the newbies, I have noticed that over the last 5 years, they have changed from wanting a high rate to now taking a much higher rate AND raping you in the process. Be careful of them. Avoid companies like EDS/Perot, GCI, Sai People, etc. Secondly, know when to jump off the ship. This economy is headed again for another tanking (it never really recovered from 9-11). So what you do, is try to figure out when the economy is heading down and then be sure to take a real job prior to that. Then you are somewhat locked in with a better than average rate. Of course, keep in mind that if the economy really heads south, you will probably be the first to go. But if you believe that .net is the future AND there will continue to not be enough coders in the field, you will be fine.

Do what you love. (1)

dazlari (711032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150836)

It's a bit cliche, and probably not as relevant to a young starter like yourself, but you will ultimately realise that there's more to life than the $$ and the passion you have for creating code (I'm going to assume you have that). You'll want to make a difference, and you'll want it to be aligned with what you're truely passionate about (like saving the planet, world peace, eliminating poverty, etc). Since the jobs seem to be flowing in your area well enough, I'd be looking for the gold nuggets that meet more than just the money criteria - they'd be something that you're willing to spend 5 or 10 years of your life on. It won't be as easy to find, but when you find it, it will be infinitely more satisfying. I've had 2 jobs in 15 years and in that time I've struggled with the problem of not committing to my passion. Don't waste this opportunity to really search out the market when the going is good, it may not always be this way.

I wouldn't worry about what the employer thinks of your track record in the first few years. Any employer worth their salt will see through it if you're genuinely passionate about the role. Just be clear to get that across in the CV ad the interview. If they can't then you don't want to be working there.

How About Relationships (2, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150880)

Is changing relationships too often a bad thing?

Change too often, and your possible significant other may see you as:

1. Superficial or fickle.
2. Incapable of forming a relationship.
3. Irresponsible, immature, or otherwise unable to deal with obligations.
4. Not someone with whom any sort of investment should be made.

Don't change often enough, and you may be considered:

1. Complacent, unmotivated and aspiring to nothing.
2. Generally undesirable, or without talent.
3. Ill-equipped to form any new relationship.
4. Odd.

Like most things in life, our opinions are arrived at in some context. An employer who is seeking a superstar employee will view a stable work record differently than someone looking for to fill an empty slot.

My advice? Try to be mature in your decisions and decide what's right for you. Commitments you do make, however, should be respected. Personally, I've never objected to seeing 3-5 year minimums, given that there's few companies like IBM, GE, etc. around these days, and even fewer Jack Welsh types that you'll be working for. People get divorced at an increasing rate, so it's more acceptable than in the past that an invidividual won't spend his or her career with a single company.

Re:How About Relationships (1)

BruceCage (882117) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152028)

Dating analogies on Slashdot, now I've seen it all.

Yes (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150956)

Yes, jumping ship regularily will definitely make you look less attractive in a more downturn market.

Given a choice between two developers with similar skills and experiences, but one has had 2 different jobs in the last decade, and the other has had 17, none lasting longer than 18 months, there's no question at all which one will be most desirable.

Thing is, people don't have any choice other than take past behaviour as indicative of future. So, I'd only hire the job-hopper if I desperately needed him to get us over some crunch -- but I'd be assuming from the get go that he'd be gone within the year anyway, that's what past experience says anyway.

When demand is high enough you take anyone you get with the rigth skills. When demand is less spectacular so you (as an employer) get the luxury of choice, you'll be their last choice.

Notice that *some* job-changes are probably good for you. Given 2 programmers, both with 20 years experience, it's quite likely the one with 3 different jobs has more varied experience and is *more* desirable than the one who got a single job after graduating and has kept it ever since.

It's just that, changing jobs every 4 months mean you're normally gone before you're even fully trained, a resource-sink. And you're certainly gone before you even get the chance to see a large project trough to completion.

What managers have mentioned to me (1, Insightful)

simm1701 (835424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150962)

I'm now a senior engineer (not bad at 26) and I've sat on the other side in a few interviews to try to get the technical side of the person for the manager (its good when managers know their limitations) I've been told the same things by a couple of different managers so I thought I'd share them here:

They like to see that people have done different roles - different roles means picking up different skills.
3-4 years in each position seems to be the magic number. 2 is quite aceptable but lots of positions with only 1 year at a time raises warning bells. Equally 5 years or more can set off alarms for other reasons - is the person pushing themself, are they keeping their skills up to date etc.
Contractors its a little different since some contracts are 6 months for a job that will last that long so renewal wouldn't even be offered - but there is always the question of why this person wasn't (or chose not to be) renewed.

One or two short stints isn't a problem - its the overall pattern they want to see (and frequently try to read more into it than their actually is)

As far as jumping for pay rises goes I seriously doubt you could pick up the skills or experiance to get a significant rise (20% or more vs your last job) without staying in a place for atleast 2 years - so if you are getting offered that kind of increase its quite likely (as somone else above noted) that you underpriced yourself in the first role.

As for me? I did a grad role for 2 1/2 years, a 50% rise into a senior engineering role for another 2 1/2 years then slightly more than double into a senior contracting role - I'll probably be here for 1-2 years - atleast thats the plan right now - I'll always hear an offer out - but I'll rarely go for them unles they sound very good

Problem and Solution (1)

tachyonflow (539926) | more than 7 years ago | (#18150964)

I've been in the job-hopping situation plenty of times, and this is something that I've given a lot of thought to, over the years.

If you're getting a 30-40% raise each time you switch, then you're probably at a point in your career (the beginning) where you've been undervalued and potential employers are beginning to see your true potential. Unfortunately, staying steady at one job isn't going to get you the income you deserve. Job hopping will, and quite quickly. The problem, as you and others have stated, is that potential employers will begin to second guess investing in you as a new employee if they think you may jump ship in a few months.

The solution is quite simple, really. Join the wonderful world of contracting. As a contractor (either independent or through a proxy), expectations are quite different. You'll usually work on one project for a certain amount of time -- one month, one year, until the project is complete, or until the company runs out of money or cans the project. It would be bad to jump ship in the middle of a contract, but at the end of the contract you're happy, your client is happy, and you can begin looking for the next 30-40% raise. Contracting is the best way for someone in your position to ramp up the pay quickly without feeling disloyal. If/when your pay increases begin to flatten out, you can then look for permanent work (if that's what you want) and potential employers will understand that your resume reflects short-term contracts.

It worked well for me, and I think it's a better approach than staying in one place at less pay than you're worth.

Think about it from an interviewer's perspective (1)

AusRob2003 (1068634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151034)

How often you spend working for a company before switching jobs might ultimately depend on what you want to do with your career. If you find yourself moving around a lot (by choice or by necessity), it might be better for you to become a contractor. It allows you the freedom to pick and choose jobs (if you're any good), and you get paid a very decent rate (if you're any good). People tend to understand* that contractors have a pick-and-mix resume. However, if you one day want to be a CTO or CIO, you mostly likely need to build up a history of leadership and vision and, importantly, commitment (the best ones, in my experience, have these qualities) - which could be seen by some to be inconsistent with chopping and changing jobs too often.

I didn't RTFA or the post, but... (1)

wbren (682133) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151048)

I think Apple has the right idea. Switching Steve Jobs out every 12 years or so is a good thing. The first time they switched Jobs, he came back and revitalized Apple. The next time Jobs is switched out, I'm sure he will have even more innovative ideas for Apple. So, no, switching Jobs too often is clearly not a bad thing.

Depends on the market (1)

anticypher (48312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151254)

In Europe, especially in cultures where traditionally someone is expected to stay with one employer for most of their lives (Germany and France are the worst), more than a few jobs on a CV can exclude a worker from many jobs. In a few other places where worker protection is now lacking, employers understand that workers may have quite a few entries on their CV (England is almost America at this point). Since /. is mostly American oriented, I would say that a few job hops in a few years is not a big deal, but 4 changes in 16 months would be a red flag for most recruiters, even in the U.S.

For more experienced workers, i.e. those with more than a decade of experience, a few different employers can be a good thing. But for workers just starting out, it is rather imperative to have at least one long stretch of employment, to show that you can keep a job, be a team player, and all the other buzzwords that recruiters tend to bandy around.

Is being branded as a 'hot potato' enough to keep you from switching?

It depends on your job history. I started my career with nearly a decade at one company, and many recruiters have told me that one sign of stability is still more important than all my recent successful projects. I've been contracting most of the last 10 years, and have 20 successful projects listed on my CV for that period. But recruiters look for stability more than skills and experience for 95% of the people they have to hire. Rarely, and I do mean rarely, a recruiter (HR drone or other) has to find someone with a specific skill for a short term contract and then they'll be looking at recent projects only. So now with 30+ years of work experience, I don't worry too much about getting branded 'unreliable', but if I'm talking with a recruiter from France or Germany, I'm always defending my long and varied track record. Most German recruiters will just toss a CV with more than 2 jobs on it, it's a constant battle for hiring managers because they know that their HR people are stuck in the 1800's mentality of hiring practices and good people are always ignored.

If your resume/CV has too many jobs on it at the beginning of your career, with no long successful project to show you are also stable and good enough for employers to keep you for a few years, you will do serious harm to your career later in life. If someday .NET becomes as fashionable as COBOL (very serious possibility in 10 years), you'll need to show something other than 40 jobs in 10 years. Concentrate on getting into a stable long term job soon, it's more than just income, it's an investment in your long term employability.

the AC

Be very careful (1)

ocbwilg (259828) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151348)

There's a couple things here that stand out to me. One, the subject of money. A fresh out of school .NET developer here in central Ohio can pull down $45k/year easily. So if you've jumped jobs twice already, each time for a 30-40% pay raise (I'll call it 33 because the math is easier) you would have gone from $45k/year to $60k/year to $80k/year in less than 18 months. And now you're contemplating a position that bumps you to over $105k/year? Two years out of school? Something seems way out of whack with that.

Now assuming that your starting salary was a lot lower (say $35k/year), then those bumps are taking you to $46k, $62k, and potentially $82k respectively (which would be a lot more in line with what is normal around here for an experienced .NET dev). So I'm guessing that your biggest problem is that you way undersold yourself at the beginning and have been playing catch up. It happens sometimes.

If that's the case, then you're probably pretty close to what the market rate is by now and the job hopping (or at least the financial incentives for it) should be winding down now. Hopefully this next position is one you can stay at for at least several years. If all of that is true, then I would recommend going for it. It's not uncommon for people right out of school to do a little searching before they settle down into something that they really like, and most potential employers will understand that.

But be advised, you have already started a pattern that will throw up serious red flags with hiring managers. While it's not uncommon to change jobs every few years these days (especially in IT, where it's almost the norm), four jobs in less than two years could be a warning sign. It can be interpreted as either you are restless and unhappy, or you aren't very competent, or simply that you're ambitious. But with an average stint of less than six months, it also indicates that you probably haven't taken many (if any) projects through to completion. And employees like that tend to cost companies lots of money. Anyone who hires you will likely be watching you for signs of unrest, so you may have to work harder to prove that you're going to stick around this time.

And you are going to stick around this time, right? I mean, I personally wouldn't make that next jump unless I was pretty confident that it was a job that I would enjoy doing for several years, because subsequent jumps are probably going to get considerably more difficult for you to make. You could potentially find yourself in a job that pays better but that you actually don't like at all, and your only out may end up being a lower paying or even less satisfying job because you've hurt your marketability.

Well, duh... (1)

thetroll123 (744259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151428)

Of *course* changing too often is a bad thing. That's what "too" means.

I've got the exact opposite problem (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18151576)

I've been living at my parents house for 3 years without a job, mainly due to burn-out and minor issues in completing my degree. Basically I was missing one elective, a non-major class, for 2 years.

I'm a good programmer, with mainly C and Java experience. I've got lots of PC hardware/networking/IT experience going back to DOS 3.1, can find my way around most any OS, and can do network management, unlike most other CS graduates. I feel like the breadth of my experience could be valuable.

I also started a software dev company in college and scored a contract with a large publisher which didn't net me much money, but forced me to step up and code a big project in C, from design, to implementation, to playing a support role. I worked on the website too, doing PHP, database work, and shopping cart integration with our credit card processor. I did have help, but was the go-to guy for technical understanding in our tiny operation.

Since then I haven't done much, and it is approaching a year since I finally finished my Comp. Sci. degree. How do I explain the 3 year gap where I did basically nothing? My record at past jobs has been very good, and my fellow employees/bosses found me valuable, but those references are now getting pretty outdated, being almost 5 years ago.

I'm not sure where to go from here, despite my past success, the 3 year work gap immediately following screams "unreliable". I've thought about doing independent consulting for small businesses to get back into the groove of things, but doing your own thing is a lot of responsibility, and it takes time to develop a viable income stream this way. Conventional employment would provide a softer start and immediate income that would allow me to be independent of my parents, which I sorely need.

My parents would like to see me get a high paying job, but coming from a different culture, never really fancied the idea of me being truly independent. It is very easy to get stuck in a rut living at home, and on top of that I've always had some difficulty staying organized and managing my time. I've been trying to complete a ruby on rails web project for a non-profit that is months overdue, and it is difficult to work from here. A conventional job would provide the structure and change of environment that I need.

Anyway, I digress. Going back to the original topic, I'm a bit stuck here, how should I approach the 3 year gap in my record when queried by a potential employer?

Re:I've got the exact opposite problem (1)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152046)

I'm a bit stuck here, how should I approach the 3 year gap in my record when queried by a potential employer?

Take a lower paying job, and then trade up in 4 months time for a 30-40% pay rise, and do that several times....

Seriously, you may have to get a job for a year or two that will not pay so much - however if you're lucky it will be close enough for you to still mooch off your parents. That will give you recent job history, and hopefully some complete projects. After that you'll be up to date, and can get a new job for decent money. First though finish your existing project - find somewhere to make into a work den - the garage, a tree house, whatever, and work there. Turn off the wireless router if web browsing is becoming an issue.

Serious question... (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151690)

...have you accomplished anything for these employers that is not trivial? I seriously doubt it. No way have you seen a product through conception, implementation, testing, release, and maintenance. So... what exactly is it that makes you so attractive to employers? You may well be a genious - but what good it it if the employer cannot reap the benefits of your genious?

Having experience means actually *experiencing* something, not having a passing familiarity with it.

30-40%?!? (2, Insightful)

stry_cat (558859) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151878)

Take the job! Seriously if you get an increase of more than 10% you should take the job. By time the offers stop comming, you'll be in a high paying job and it won't matter if you're not getting offers any more. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, the only reason to have a job is to get money. All other considerations are secondary. Take the money and run!

Think about it... (1)

funkify (749441) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151892)

If you had valid reasons for leaving each position, then a wise potential employer wouldn't be so alarmed assuming you communicated that in your resume. The way that I have handled this in my own resume, with good results, is to list a salary and reason for leaving on each of my past positions. You might list one or the other, or both. For instance, if you don't want to give specific salary information you could probably get the same point across by saying that your reason for leaving position x was because of a 30% salary increase offered elsewhere.

1.3^4 = 2.85, 1.4^4 = 3.84 (1)

khchung (462899) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151914)

That means you are getting around 3x the amount your first job paid you. So unless you have been selling yourself very very cheaply (i.e. 1/2 to 1/3 market rate), you should have reached the higher end of the market pay for people with less than 2 years of experience, so you shouldn't be seeing anymore such offers for a couple years to come.

So I would say go ahead. As long as the raise is large enough, it is easy to justify this to any future employer.

I wouldn't hire you. (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18151954)

You've had 3 jobs in 16 months and you're considering a 4th? That's about 5 months in each job. It takes about 3 months before you're producing more work than the rest of the staff time you consume learning. It takes about 6 before you're producing at the level I hired you for.

No interview for you. I wouldn't touch you with a 10 foot pole even if you had exactly the skills I need. If you're not going to stay at least a couple years, you're not worth the effort.

Re:I wouldn't hire you. (1)

DarkJC (810888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152384)

What if he stayed at his 4th job for 5 years? Did that pole just get significantly shorter? Look, this guy isn't saying he's going to take this job (which is offering him a 30-40% salary increase) and then quit after 4 months and look for yet another job. Assuming (and I think this is more than likely) that he takes this job, he probably won't even get any more job offers (or if he does, it will be for a meager pay increase that's not worth it).

Sit there and tell me you wouldn't switch jobs for that much of a pay increase. If you honestly wouldn't, then I envy you, because your workplace environment must be something quite special.

The Perfect Resume (According To Me) (1)

stan_freedom (454935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152022)

Back in the dot.com boom I did some IT hiring for a large telecom. One of the things that we looked for was job stability. I personally like to see someone stick around at least a couple of years. It takes several months to get up to speed in a new company, especially in regards to the non-technical aspects, such as the company's ecosystem. After that investment, a company needs to see at least a year or two of solid productivity to get back that initial investment

By the same token, I would typically be leary of someone who worked at the same job for too long. Note that I said the same job, not the same company. Someone who works themselves up through the company ranks or moves around within a company will have a much broader base of experience than someone who has spent the last two decades doing the same job, especially at the same company. To me, the ideal IT resume shows someone who has held several jobs, for at least a couple of years each, but not more than four or five years per job. Working at more than one company or in more than one industry is also a plus. There also should be no unexplained employment gaps.

Set some goals (2, Interesting)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152166)

Before you switch, ask yourself about the current environment. Is the office an agreeable environment? Do you find the work challenging? Are you motivated? Are there experienced wise older folk to learn from? Does the company treat people well and have sound finances?

These are questions that should stimulate you to think about whether you are happy working there. The grass isn't always greener. The money might be better but this is only one consideration. Working with quality people, learning new skills and technologies, knowing a project has a good chance of success, knowing the company will be around in 6 months are other factors.

Not every project will be a success. Have backup plans for when your team do all get shafted. Perhaps you could say to the boss at the other company "I'm content in my current job but if the situation changes..."

As you're just starting out and earning good money (relative to the rest of the population, perhaps not in your industry just yet) don't be afraid to spend it. Serious stuff like a spouse, mortgage and kids can wait. Travel, see the world. Many contractors enjoy the freedom of working for 6-12 months and then taking a break. 4 weeks annual leave in a permanent job? Once you get over to the other side of the world, 4 weeks is gone in an instant.

Some perspective on what motivates you is more important than worrying about whether you should have taken a 'dream job' or not. My advice, unless you are really offered a huge wad of extra cash, stay in a job while you enjoy it. Patience...

It's no problem at all (2, Interesting)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152168)

It's all how you cast the situation. If you tell your next prospective employer that you have been consulting, then the short spells at jobs is instantly explained. If they ask questions that make you think they're looking for someone more long-term, then you can either decide to move on or say something like, "Consulting has been fun and I've learned a great deal about many businesses, but I'm looking to change my lifestyle and settle down." But only say the latter if you really mean it, since lying will kill your consulting possibilities long-term as word gets around.

The thing about I.T. is, with a few exceptions it's all project-based. All projects end and most of them finish inside 12 months. Plus, the industry itself is quite turbulent. So whereas a 5-month stint in, say, insurance or finance makes you look fickle or suspect, it's perfectly reasonable and expected in I.T.

But at the end of the day, the real answer as to whether the job-hunting is truly fickle or intentional comes down to how you want to live. If you want something stable, then you are being fickle by hopping jobs. If you'd rather 'do it for the adventure' by consulting, then you're being deliberate and reasonable. Yet, as a previous poster said, make sure that whatever you do you're not leaving anyone in the lurch. If you do short stints, leave after completing the project or a significant milestone, not in the middle.

As someone who does hiring for my department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18152216)

Unless the jobs were all contract jobs for particular projects, I would never offer a permanent position to someone with a resume like yours. And even if they were all contract work, I'd hesitate to offer a position without at least one job that you've remained in for two or more years. Although, if you've got a good reason for wanting to settle down, I might give you the chance to explain but odds are that you won't even get the first interview.

The bottom line is that hiring people is expensive. At the firm I'm with, just the interview process alone takes a good chunk out of the day for all of the stakeholders for every applicant that is under consideration. Then there are advertising expenses, administrative paperwork expenses, and so on and so forth. If your resume shows that you've been job hopping every four to six months, it tells me that I'm going have to start the hiring process all over again in four to six months. In a labor market for my industry in my locale it's highly unlikely that your skills are so wonderful that I can't find someone else for less than your asking price + the expense of seeking a new person for when you leave in four to six months.

But on the other hand, if your credentials look good and your references check out, I'd be perfectly willing to hire you on contract for specific projects where we need extra help. And if your work is good and you do a few projects for us on contract, I might be willing to eventually offer you a permanent position down the road.

So it isn't like you're making yourself unhirable, you're just defining yourself as a project worker rather than a traditional employee.

Job Hopper ? No THanks.. (1)

brufar (926802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18152516)

One of the first things I look at when I review a resume is "How long has this individual worked at their previous jobs ? "

If I see multiple jobs of a Year or less, I just throw the resume right then and there. Why should I as an employer Hire someone I don't believe will stick around ? That just means by this time next year (or sooner) I'll be going through all the hassle of searching for another candidate, running background checks, checking references, interviewing.. No Thanks.

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