I was scanning through my LinkedIn notifications when I came across a thought-provoking article written by Orlando Crowcoft, News Editor at LinkedIn. One of the key takeaways from Crowcroft's interview with Farrah Storr, Editor-In-Chief of Cosmopolitan, was that you shouldn't be afraid to change jobs regularly.
In Storr's word's "... the brilliant thing about moving around is that you become very adaptable, you see different styles of leadership, and also different ways of being a boss."
To clarify, Storr never defined "regularly" or if "moving around" meant changing employers. Regardless, changing jobs on a regular basis may bode well for your adaptability, progression, and earning potential, but before you start job-hopping, there are a few things you should consider first.
1. It looks non-committal.
Moving jobs more than once every two to three years throws up red flags in the minds of potential employers.
Although there may be legitimate reasons, changing jobs on a regular basis makes candidates look like they have commitment issues among other things. With the amount of time, effort, and resources that go into finding and training a new employee, employers want to ensure that you're going to stick around after you're hired.
If two candidates have similar backgrounds, experiences and both interview well, then the one with the most stable job history will rise to the top. I'm not saying that you should pass up a great opportunity. I'm saying that you need to be careful of "shiny object" syndrome. Just because something looks new and exciting doesn't mean you need to jump ship.
2. The grass isn't always greener. Sometimes, it's just different grass.
Every job and employer has its pros and cons. You may be leaving one problem, but you'll always be faced with another. Sometimes, the best development opportunity is to learn to address the challenges at hand.
If you leave a job every time a problem arises, you won't build resilience and sharpen your problem-solving skills. At some point, the responsibility to change the situation and influence the environment is yours.
The most rewarding careers and jobs aren't the ones that are the easiest. The most fulfilling work often comes through facing hurdles, developing the skills to manage challenging people and issues, and overcoming adversity.
3. Reaching full potential will be tough.
It takes a while before full potential can be realized. The longer you're with an employer, the more familiar things become, the stronger your network grows, and as a result, the more efficient you become.
Every time you start over, you have to develop new relationships, acclimate to the culture, build new teams, and tackle the learning curve. It takes time. According to Training Industry Quarterly, reaching a point of full productivity takes anywhere from one to two years. Throw in the added complexity of management, and you could be looking at close to three.
Reaching "full potential" is dependent upon your environment. You may be a fast learner, but there are some things you can't shortcut.
Sometimes, changing jobs can be good for your career. Sometimes, it's an avoidance tactic. Be disciplined when considering a new opportunity outside your organization. Weighing the benefits against these three considerations will provide a gut-check to ensure switching jobs is worth the risk.