I was sitting with a friend the other day, discussing the subject of job hopping vs. long-term employment, and I’ve come to realize that this is a common struggle for many people in today’s economy. The reality is that there is no right answer that works for everyone; this is something we each need to decide for ourselves.
Personally, I took a third path and became self-employed. I love it, but I understand that it’s not something everyone would like to do. When I look around at my friends, I see various people making various choices, and it’s cool to see how unique all of their paths have been.
But what is the right path for you? I can’t answer that question, but I can help you explore your options:
The Differences Between Job Hopping and Long-Term Employment
The main differences that I see between long-term employment with one company and job hopping are your seniority and your ability to change roles. Though it all depends on the kinds of companies you work for, I can say that, in general you’ll gain more seniority by staying with one employer for a long time, but you’ll have more freedom to move around if you go the job-hopping route.
Another huge difference between exists in your relationships with colleagues. When at one company for a long time, you often get close with those around you, whereas you may not know your coworkers well – if it all – when you continually change roles and offices.
Think about it: Most of us spend more time at the office than we do with our own families and friends during the week.
Don’t believe me? I was dumbfounded by it, too, but the math checks out: Assume you spend 40 hours (or more) per week at the office. If you get home at 6 P.M. and go to bed at midnight, that’s six hours at home per day, times five days per week. That equates to only 30 hours of personal time during the week – roughly ten hours less than you spend at the office.
It’s not something people think of often, but the people you work with can have a huge impact on your happiness and how much you like a job. If you’re constantly changing environments, that means you have to be comfortable integrating into different groups of people and work cultures regularly.
Should You Stay Somewhere for the Long Term?
I don’t think it is the wisest idea to stay with a company in the exact same role for 10 or 15 years, but that is because I believe it is important to challenge yourself. In the end, who am I to judge? Maybe that role will challenge you in different ways over the years.
That being said, I have a couple of friends who work at fabulous companies that they love and plan to stay with for as long as possible. Part of the reason for that is because they want to grow with the company. Companies that promote internal growth and change often entice their employees with great benefits as well. Not all companies want to keep employees long term, but often, if they do, they will put in extra time and money to ensure that employees are happy where they are.
Why Job Hopping May Be the Right Choice for You
The benefit of job hopping is that you can (ideally) get a salary increase with every role, get a new and exciting change of environment, and also learn how to work with or under different styles of peers and managers.
This isn’t something that works for everyone, but if you get bored easily or hate monotony, maybe this style of employment is something you should consider. A career path in which you often transition into new roles and/or new companies may be energizing and motivating to you.
What’s the Big Deal?
A lot of people struggle with the worry that they are making the wrong choice about their careers. We constantly compare ourselves to our peers, wondering if they have made better choices than we have.
The fact is that there are pros and cons to both job hopping and long-term employment, but neither one is objectively better or worse than the other. It comes down to which option suits you best and will make you happiest. Take some time, do a little research, and figure out what sort of path will bring you fulfillment.