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Paradox25's avatar

Can job hopping be justified (please read details)

Asked by Paradox25 (10058 points ) April 26th, 2014

I’m talking about a situation where maybe you were laid off and had to take a job well out of your normal career field in order to live. You have realized during a certain amount of time on the job, and maybe after a negative evaluation or two, that this line of work is not for you and you know that you’re not going to able to perform better within the time frame the company expects you to. You also know this company will terminate your employment if you don’t perform according to their standards. You desperately try to find another job in order to give such a company a two week notice in order to avoid putting down that you were terminated from a job on future applications.

Another scenario I can think of is where I left a hellish low paying job in order to try something new and better paying, only to find that I bit off more than I could chew. You have no way of knowing what a work experience will be like until you actually work there.

I’m asking this question because I’ve been forced to take jobs that I didn’t necessarily want to, but had to due to things like bills and living expenses, I mean you have to work to live. This has also put me in an odd predicament where I’ve worked at many jobs within the past seven years, where I average about six months to two years at each place. I did work at three previous companies for a while where I was actually working in my career field, but when the last place closed down I’ve struggled with my jobs ever since. I always give the company a two week notice prior to leaving. It seems that many employers have used my job hopping against me, where the person/s interviewing had pretty much made this clear to me during the job interview.

Not just confining this question to my own experiences, I’m asking two questions here. I wanted to know why job hopping is looked down upon considering the nature of the job market, and the natural urge most people have for wanting to better themselves. Moreover, I’ve noticed that many white collar workers I’ve known, and including those in management positions change companies frequently too, even more so than myself and always seem to get job offers. Is job hopping looked down upon more if you’re a blue collar vs a white collar worker, or is it viewed the same in the eyes of most employers?

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10 Answers

livelaughlove21's avatar

My husband had 5 jobs in three years but was only terminated/laid off once. He left all of the other jobs because he was offered a better one. He’s had 7 jobs total (at the age of 24), but only 4 are on his résumé. He’s been at his current job for over 3 years; blue collar. I think it’s justifiable if you’re just starting to find out what you want to do and there’s upward movement occurring. Big gaps of unemployment are a bad thing.

CWOTUS's avatar

Try to avoid becoming defensive about your résumé. You don’t have to “justify your life” to anyone. Yes, you may want to find a good way (without going into endless detail, that no one but your mother or spouse or closest friend – who hasn’t got anything better to do sometimes than listen to a spiel – is going to be the least bit interested in) to explain some apparently disjointed moves when you get to an interview stage.

That’s why your résumé should not be in the form of a published book, where everyone gets the exact same copy to read. When you’re applying for a job in your chosen field, then list jobs on the résumé that are germane to that field. Leave gaps if you must. Those gaps you can explain – should you be called in for an interview – as “detours” in your career. No one is going to care what you did, really, as long as you didn’t break the law or promises, and that you didn’t abandon work on a whim.

So, be prepared to explain – in short words and short sentences – why you have some gaps in the résumé that some prospective employers will look at, and leave it alone when the interviewer’s natural interest is satisfied.

Judi's avatar

I had a period or two where I hopped around a bit. On my resume I usually just skipped jobs that I worked at less than a year. I only out years, not months on my resume since most of my jobs were 5+ years. I was never asked but prepared to explain gaps as time I took off to raise my children even though I did have crappy jobs that didn’t last during that time.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

You’re lucky to even get part time work anymore thanks to the greed of many of our brethren. Get out there and pay the bills, because life in the Parks or on the Beach with no money coming in is not for everyone.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Why not? If you’re gaining skills it always is for the better.

Cruiser's avatar

As a business owner the number one quality I look for is loyalty. An applicant who has history of job hopping would have a less chance of getting a job in my company than an applicant who had a resume that demonstrated loyalty and commitment to the career they are pursuing.

downtide's avatar

My partner job-hopped for a little while after being made redundant about 5 years ago. He took a low-paid job but the pay was too low for us to live on so he left after six months and took another, in which he didn’t survive the probationary period (for reasons too complex to go into here). The next one was better and he stayed a year; he would have possibly stayed longer but he was offered something much better about six months ago and not only did he survive the probationary period, he’s being hailed as a miracle-worker. His previous job-hopping didn’t have any detrimental effect in getting his current job.

Paradox25's avatar

@CWOTUS Yes, I usually do only display jobs that are relevant to the position I’m applying for. The application process of some companies however expects you to post every job you had worked at within a certain time frame, and some companies do extensive background checks. A few of those jobs I had gotten laid off, and with others I felt I had very good reasons to leave those jobs.

You are right, I should not have to explain my life details to potential employers, but they appear to think that political correctness during their hiring process will garner them the best employees, when my own experience tells me this isn’t true. I’d known many long time employees of companies who were nothing but trouble makers, were not great workers and more the less gamed the system. Many of these ‘loyal’ employees would spend more time either bad mouthing the company or trying to get others (especially newer workers) in trouble over actually being very productive or helpful.

I’m also not sure why employment gaps are a big thing either. The fact is getting jobs is not very easy today, and with employers who get rid of employees very quickly, or with lay offs it’s quite easy to lose one’s job and end up with gaps. You’re also not going to be worrying about spending your free time volunteering if you’re struggling to eat your next meal and pay your utility bills. I’m good at explaining myself, that is when I get lucky enough to get the job interview in the first place.

Damn, ten years ago it was quite easy to get a job. Not today though, and now you have to spend an hour on an application, go through extensive background checks and compete with tons of other people just for a job washing dishes for minimum wage.

Paradox25's avatar

@Cruiser I was loyal at my first two companies, but they closed down. On top of this these were positions pertaining to my field that I busted my butt going to school for, and these companies treated me decently. Most jobs beyond this were either not in my career field, or the company simply sucked to worked for. I wish life was as black and white as your assumption that job hoppers don’t make potentially good loyal employees, especially when the circumstances are right.

I may have to relocate since it appears that some out of state companies were interested in me (my resume is public on some career sites). I’m a bit short of funds right now to even do this.

Judi's avatar

Some employers will still pay relocation fees. Don’t discount those opportunities. If you get the offer or even to that point in the interview process (past the first interview probably) you might want to bring up that a hurdle for you might be the expense of moving. I can’t explain it but when hiring people there is something refreshing about someone who can state what they will need to be happy in the position.

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