Job hopping or why people aren't sticking with one job in a company?


3 min read

A while ago, I had a chat with a friend about job hopping and stability. Stability refers to how long one stayed in each place they worked for. If they switched frequently, it is considered a bad sign.

Most Indian companies (I'm not sure about other cultures, let me know if your people do this too) consider this when filtering resumes. But this is a vanity metric.

People leave jobs for N number of reasons.

  • They had a bad boss/manager.
  • They are burned out due to overworking for long periods of time.
  • Their family/personal life forced them to look for a change.
  • They were underpaid.
  • They were denied a promotion.
  • They did not get a good raise.
  • They are working on a role that is a dead-end.
  • They have no clear responsibilities defined and expected to be superman.
  • Their contribution is not valued or they feel they're not doing good enough.
  • There is a change in the direction a company/project is going and they don't like it.
  • There is a change in immediate/top-level leadership and they don't like it.
  • Their daily job became mundane and repetitive with no margin for creativity and enjoyment.
  • They are just bored of working on the same thing for years.
  • Their technical opinions/suggestions are not valued by their manager or the company.
  • and so on.

All the above reasons are valid and respectable. Times are over where people worked one job for their whole life and retired with a pension. Don't cling to the past metrics, they don't make any sense in our world.

When I wanted to switch to my second job, my father was shocked. He asked, "The first job taught you what you know. Is it fair to leave now?".

He was talking about loyalty. But loyalty is a two-way street. If one isn't valued in a place, it is okay to move to the next place. As Apoorva Govind puts it,

True loyalty means leaving when your heart isn't in it anymore.

In the early years of one's career, it is actually good to experiment a lot and switch companies frequently. There is no way to learn about how it is to be working somewhere, without actually working for them. So how does one find an ideal place without switching?

Most companies only give a 3-5% raise for current employees. The inflation rate in India for example is 4.95% last year. Same companies start negotiations with a 30% raise to new hires from their previous CTC. With these two points, we should be looking at the general industry practices instead of looking at people who job hop.

If you're in a place of filtering resumes or part of the hiring decision tree, please reconsider your thoughts on this stability as a metric. There is no guarantee that if someone worked on their previous company for a very long time, they'll do the same with you and vice-versa.

Finally, I just want to leave you with this quote I read a few years ago. It just stuck with me and I hope it'll have the same impact on others as well.

Train your people well, so they can leave. Treat them well, so they choose to stay.