Career, Self-Improvement

Myth: Job Hopping Is Career Suicide – Tan Lili

One of the secrets behind long-term relationships is this: The belief that there is only one person in the world for us is flawed because, in our misguided search for that “perfect someone”, we are likely to give up too quickly on who could have been our life partner. Tan Lili wonders, can the same be said of job hoppers? 

job hopping hopscotchSomeone once told me my resume looks bad. Apparently my list of past work experiences signals I’m a serial job hopper – a major red flag for potential future employers. Considering I was about to submit my resignation letter to said person, her words haunted me for nights.

I’m 110-percent committed to my decade-long relationship and I’ve learned – and am still learning – to love every single part of my boyfriend, warts and all. The grass will always be greener on the other side; you’d merely be in a perpetual pursuit of an impossible dream. So why couldn’t I apply the same groom-your-own-grass-first mentality and stick it out at one job for more than three years? Was she right – was I really a job hopper?

Lucky you.

Lucky you.

Of course, that was before. After days and nights of self-questioning and reflection, I realised that I had been drawing a faulty parallel between the two. It’s true that the idea of finding a perfect partner is flawed because no one is perfect. It’s also not wrong to liken the notion to your job search. “A healthy relationship is about finding alignment. Once you feel there is interest and likeability, you and your partner can work things out,” says Chan Ngee Key, career management coach at Springboard Talent. “The same can be said of those looking for the so-called perfect job. It doesn’t exist. As long as you are interested and you enjoy your role and the company, you can make the best of your choice.”

And there lies the one difference in my case: My relationship is constantly growing; professionally, I wasn’t.

A surefire sign to consider a job change.

A surefire sign to consider a job change, I’d say.

I’m not so sure I like the label “job hopper” because it implies the person is a fickle-minded wanderer. Like my previous jobs, the decision to leave wasn’t made on a whim. As much as I was attached to my then-company, there wasn’t any room for growth – and that was reason enough for me to move on. “A lack of career growth within the organisation, when you can no longer effectively contribute in your role, when your job is taking a toll on your health … these are all legitimate reasons for you to explore a new job,” says Chan. “Job hopping was markedly more frowned upon in the past, but the mindset has evolved over the years. If you left your previous jobs with valid reasons, your resume shouldn’t reflect badly on you as an employee.”

Here are some benefits of regular job change (for the right reasons):

  • You build a valuable network of contacts
  • You become familiar with the inner workings of your industry
  • You adapt quickly to new surroundings
  • You get to pick up new skills
  • You tend to make more money

As for me, leaving a salaried job for Material World is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career. It’s been more than a year since its inception, and the room for growth still seems infinite. In hindsight, I don’t regret any of my career choices. The lessons I’ve learned from every one of them are invaluable, and I carry them with me as I move forward along my career path. So, no, I wouldn’t say I’m a job hopper; I’m a smart worker.

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as (now, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction. Follow her on Twitter @TanLiliTweets.