The Ugly Truth About Job Hopping

Job hopping. For this topic, I want to share some points with you that aren’t biased toward business people, company owners, or leaders out there. These points are really meant to help you, and maybe others around you that you know who might be thinking about job hopping.

So, what’s so bad about job hopping? Well, many people believe there’s nothing bad about it. There are so many articles out there today that say it’s okay to job hop. In fact, so many sources say that you’re going to get a higher salary faster through this decision. Some even say you’ll experience this at a faster rate when you hop from one job to the next. 

On paper, sure, it might seem like a great idea. In reality, this is really not the case — and I’ll tell you why that is, and even share my story about it later on.

But first, I’m going to dissect my main points for today.

So when you job hop, the first problem is your mastery becomes shallow.

When you’re a fresh grad from college, there’s really not much mastery when it comes to your professional skills, because you’re still looking for your first real job, learning the ropes, and understanding what it’s like to be a professional in your field. This includes learning all the finer details, such as how to introduce yourself, integrate yourself into the culture of your company, deal with higher-ups, and work with lateral colleagues.

Occupied with learning all of these things, you’re simply too busy to even start with the mastery of your profession yet. This, instead, starts when you’ve earned enough trust from your leaders and colleagues that they start passing on more and more tasks at work.

And the more tasks you handle, the more your mastery of your job develops. But this mastery cannot go deep if you’re just going to be doing it for a year. 

You see, when I did SEO, I had to practice it for a long time before finally, the market respected SEO Hacker and me as the SEO and main specialist. It took a lot of time for that to happen.

I would argue I think it took me around 4 to 5 years for me to be largely recognized as an expert in the field as really good and perhaps even as the number one SEO specialist in the country.

Thinking that you can get that deep of mastery in just one or two years is a fallacy. It’s not going to happen. 

And here’s the problem with that. If you are not a master at something, the world will not pay a lot for you.

That’s the honest truth because the market demands excellence. You have to be excellent at what you do. In fact, I would argue you need to be the best at what you do for the market to value you and pay you more than what you bring to the table.

And isn’t that the best-case scenario when you’re doing less work for more pay? That’s actually the dream. And you can only get there when you are largely recognized as the best in the industry.

And the bonus there is that work will get easier for you as well because you’re becoming a master at it. So the work will get easier for you as you grow in that specialization and yet the market is going to be willing to pay you more.

And if you are a job hopper, that’s not going to happen. Your mastery is just going to be shallow. It’s going to stay shallow in a sea of so many people working on their mastery. To stay afloat, you have to compete with them and come out on top. 

But how can you compete when you’re just one or two years trying to master this skill and yet there are people who have tried to master it for five, eight, and ten years?

The next reason why job hopping will ruin your career is that scarcity dictates value. And what is more scarce or what is rare nowadays are loyal people. Loyal people are getting rarer and rarer.

Today we all know that it’s not true just in the job market, it’s also true in relationships. And it’s a sad fact that this concept holds true in relationships. 

There are fewer loyal people now—that’s because of the advent of social media, all of this fake news going around, all of these stories that have bubbled up surrounding this topic. Many things we see online have been exaggerated just to get views and clicks and readers. We might think it’s the truth, but it’s largely not.

So loyalty is something that’s beheld in very high esteem today. And loyalty can easily be seen by how long you have committed yourself to a certain organization. It’s so easy to see if someone is loyal based on the number of years of their stay on their resume.

In fact, as CEO, I have to deal with hundreds of resumes in a month. And usually, when I see a resume with just one or two years in five companies or three companies, that’s already a danger sign for me. I usually pass on those resumes.

I don’t hire people who I consider “mercenaries.” These are people who stay for only one or two years, thinking they can get higher pay. These are people who think it’s easy to master a lot of skills or be a jack of all trades.

But smart leaders will pass on those kinds of people. So that’s another reason why job hopping will ruin your career because loyalty is rare and scarcity dictates value.

The next reason why job hopping will ruin your career is that commitment is a critical factor to any relationship that will flourish. Much like how a husband and a wife are committed to each other.

When they’re committed to each other, they’re faithful to each other, they sacrifice for one another, they have unity in their marriage, you can see that that marriage clearly will flourish and grow, and they will grow together and love each other more and give more to each other.

When you job hop, there’s just no commitment. How can one or two years in your resumé enable your future lawyer to see if you’re committed or not? One or two years is honestly not a long time in the job market because again, going to my first point, mastery is so important. Loyalty is so important.

So one or two years will show future employers that you really don’t have that much commitment. And if you don’t have much commitment to your past employers, how can you say that you will have more commitment to your future employers? You just cannot, because history, as the saying goes, repeats itself.

The next reason why job hopping will ruin your career is because there is what we call the cost of switching. In any business, especially because I’m in the tech industry, there’s a lot of software that I have to deal with.

When you switch software, there’s a cost. You have to learn that software. You have to transition the database to that software, import everything, and do your workflows again.

Much like how if you’re going to switch from one social media platform to another, there’s a cost of switching. You cannot just take out all your photos, videos, followers, likes, and whatnot and carry it over to a new platform. Instead, it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to build yourself up again to where you once were on this new platform. 

There is a cost of switching in life.

When you switch careers, there is a cost for you. You have to switch your mentality now to a new leader, a new management, a new culture, a new way of working, and new colleagues. They don’t know you. They see you as ground zero.

Yes, you might have a better salary because you switch jobs, you hop jobs. You might have a better position because you switch jobs and hop jobs. But what does it really cost you as an individual?

And this is why most job hoppers find that their stress levels and anxiety levels are higher than those who are loyal and committed and stay with their employers for three, five, or ten years.

Not only that, you would have to prove yourself all over again to these new people surrounding you now in your new working environment. 

And here’s the bad news. Your employers and the HR team who hired you, if they really reviewed your resumé and they saw that you’re a job hopper, will treat you like a commodity.

There’s no other way to put it because in their minds they hired you knowing that you job hop. So in their minds, they’re also going to be thinking, “Oh, the loyalty and commitment of this person is temporal. We’re looking at 1 to 2 years. Let’s not teach this person so many things. Let’s not give this person so many benefits. Let’s not give this person so much freedom. Let’s keep this person on a short leash so that we’re sure if this person makes a mistake, we’re there to fix it immediately.”

Not such a great scenario to be in, right? When you stay with an organization for a long time, five, or ten years, you are no longer a commodity. Supposedly you are an invaluable, indispensable part of the company. But also that would largely depend on what you put into your work.

If you’re giving your best, you have an excellent work ethic, you’re serving other people in the organization, you fit in the culture and core values well, and you make yourself indispensable. You are no longer a commodity and the company will do whatever it takes to keep you.

Now, I know there are so many studies out there that will say,” Oh, if you job hop X number of years, your salary will grow, X amount, Y amount. It’s big. It’s bigger than those who have stayed with the company for XY number of years.”

These studies show you the short game. They don’t show you the long game. The long game will dictate that those who are loyal and committed, who are indispensable to the company, actually get a lot more.

Not just in benefits, not just in salary, but also in their growth, which is extremely important. Because as human beings, our value is not in the paycheck. Our value is in what we know, in who we are as a person, and in what we give out to the world.

Now, going back and reviewing our first point about mastery, here’s the thing. The market will pay top-notch salaries for those who are in the top 5%-10% of the industry.

So, for example, if SEO Hacker is number one, we’re in the top 1%. For example, other companies out there are going to be willing to pay very good money to get us to support their SEO.

But if SEO Hacker is at the bottom 10%, guess what? Companies are not going to pay anything. Or if they’re going to pay something, it’s going to be for a very, very bad price.

Same with career. If you’re just mediocre in your skillset for what they need you to do, they’re not going to pay you good money. But if you’re one of the top 5%-10%, companies are willing to pay you very good money for what you do.

And lastly, as I wrap up this point, the last reason that I could think of why job hopping will ruin your career is about fulfillment. You will have no real, deep, lasting fulfillment in what you do.

And this is because the work that you do will not have continuity. You will not see through your projects until they mature until they grow until they fly out on their own.

Lastly, I strongly believe that the fulfillment and joy at the inner core are not found with a higher salary. There’s a saying you can’t buy happiness. Money can’t buy happiness. I agree.

The most fulfilling thing in life, the thing that strikes that joy chord in your heart is not when you buy something new. It’s when you give yourself a calling and serve other people often for free. Those are the times that you and I will feel really fulfilled.

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