Is “Job Hopping” a Bad Thing?
For many years the conventional wisdom was that leaving a job after two or three years was a bad idea. Hiring managers frowned upon it and derisively referred to it as “job hopping”. When companies provided a life-long career path for their employees (today they’re “stakeholders”) and had great pensions and health care plans, employee loyalty made sense. Today it’s a far different story, particularly among publicly-traded and venture capital fund managed businesses where it’s all about short term profit and earnings per share.
I have to laugh when hiring managers at one of these enterprises expresses concern about a job candidate that has had several jobs in the past ten years. I would say to them “Are you really worried about hitting your financial performance goals ten or even five years from now?” This is particularly laughable when a successful sales professional is interviewing with another company in her market. Here’ s why: Melissa finished in the top three in each of the past three companies she worked for her first two years in each company. In year one the quota was attainable, and she was 125% to plan and make good money. In year two they gave her a quota of prior year actual sales plus 25%. Frankly, that’s punishing success. She worked even harder in year two and came in at 100% to plan but made less money. So, in year three she started looking and found a job where she could earn what she’s worth. Guess what? At the company the same thing happened. So, after three years there she moved again. Each time she delivered excellent sales growth but was basically penalized so she left to earn more.
Is Melissa a disloyal job hopper to be avoided? If you were the new VP of Sales and wanted to jump start your career at that company and drive sales would you want Melissa on board? I would. The difference is that I wouldn’t penalize her for being successful by saddling her with unrealistic quotas that reduce her ability to earn money. That is about as short-sighted and dumb as one could be yet not uncommon when CFOs rule the roost and carp about sales people “making too much money”. Am I wrong?
Frank Manfre www.frankmanfre.com/career-coaching