#Asia Confessions of a startup job hopper


Is job hopping fast becoming the new norm?


I’ve never quite imagined before that someone would ever say to me, “Oh, wow, you really are a job hopper!”. Clearly, being a job hopper was not something that I had in mind when I was a child — or even after I graduated from school. But yeah, the fact is that up till now I’ve worked for three different startups, even though I just graduated last year. (Please note, I started working when I was a junior at college).

Believe me, as someone who writes business-related topics for a living, I completely understand why job hoppers tend to have such bad reps. Some say job hoppers will be terrible employees, while some others are afraid job hoppers can’t be loyal to the company. I also read — and wrote — many tips for people to avoid job hopping, since nobody would think of hiring them.

But here’s the truth: As a job hopper, I have never intentionally quit the startups I was working for. Often, it was someone else who approached me to fill in the vacant position in their startups. I’m guessing many digital workers have had the same experience.

Number of jobs > number of human resources

As we’re in the technology era, there is a rise in technology-related jobs. It’s a field in which CareerBuilder found that as much as 42 per cent of workers switch positions within 1-2 years. Another data from Jobvite has similar findings: workers from IT industries have the most brief tenure with only 1.78 years average.

From my point of view, technology is now one of the fastest growing industries. There are startups popping up in every sector and in great numbers. Obviously, they need human resources in order to grow, but the availability is probably limited since it’s basically a new industry.

Also Read: 7 unique job interview questions to ask your next candidate

As a startup employee, the aforementioned situation forces me to move from one job to another, especially when better opportunity comes. Many startup employees are probably thinking the same. They often remain to stay for only around 1-2 years at a startup – or even less.

Why job hop?

Job hoppers are all around us in the startup world. Not to say that startup employees are in completely high demand, it’s just that job hopping is becoming the new normal. The question is, why do we do that? Actually, most of the time it’s not really your startup’s fault. It’s not that your startup’s job is boring. It’s not that we don’t get a promotion or a raise; we understand maybe you just can’t give that.

Yes, in fact, we realise that career ladder doesn’t really exist in most startups. Startups aren’t like corporates, right? By nature, startups aren’t stable. They could lose funding when we were around. We could be unemployed when the startup failed. As much as we love working at your startup, we can’t stick around when our life is at stake.

Indeed, it’s our choice to keep faith in the startup’s success. One of the previous startups I worked for seems to be on its way to success and becoming well-known now. I appreciate my former colleagues who decided to be loyal there. They are the main reasons the startup went that well.

However, I, for one, think that when the startup is at risk or when you feel like it’s a dead-end job, the best choice is to move on – hopping to another potentially successful startup. Your so-called “promotion” might not exist in the startup you’re working for now but in another startup. Job hopping is arguably one of the best ways to get ahead in your career.

Also Read: Job hunting? Even Dilbert would approve of these 8 employers

Yes, I believe there’s no such thing as a “perfect job” whatsoever, but it’s good to try explore our career path. We only live once, right? When you’re exploring opportunities, you can meet new talented people as well. And I just wish that employers could understand that.

Are job hoppers bad?

We’ve heard before that employers won’t hire job hopper millennials, but this line of thinking is becoming irrelevant. In the startup world, more and more startup founders are beginning to grow open minded about frequent job changes.

But I don’t know about you. What do you think about job hoppers?


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