Your parents and grandparents likely had only a few jobs before settling in with a company until retirement.
Job-hopping used to be a bad thing. The thinking by a hiring manager was, “What’s wrong with this person who can’t keep a job?” and “How quickly will they leave me?”
Well, the times, they are a changin’. A Wall Street Journal article (7/27/16), “Job Hopping is Losing its Stigma,” cites 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ findings that workers aged 25-34 averaged three years at their employer, compared to 5.5 years for all employees over 25.
Why are younger workers leaving sooner? Because they can. Hiring managers in technology, finance, consumer/retail, business services, and health care, are becoming more accepting or more desperate to hire the right person—even if they’ve had only short-term experiences. Demand is making compromises for the supply.
From my managerial career, which has consisted of hiring several dozens of people, I’d say that you should stay in a job for at least three years. The company has gone to considerable expense to search for you, hire, and train you. Thirty-six months probably aren’t enough for you to get acclimated, learn your job, make contributions, prove yourself, and master it, before saying TTFN.
Groucho Marx said in Animal Crackers (1930), “Hello, I must be going, I cannot stay, I came to say, I must be going. I’m glad I came, but just the same, I must be going.” That was long before the Age of Millennials.
Do what’s best for you, but before jumping ship…also consider how your current employer might speak about you later, and how your new employer might be skeptical of your commitment.
Be prepared to discuss what “loyalty” means to you. Give thought to answering the interviewer’s question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
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