Job hopping describes the current trend of job mobility that some people in some sectors, especially millennials, from technology and digital-focused sectors, strive for better opportunities for their professional development. In this post, we analyze this trend and how it affects employees and their well-being.
What is job hopping?
In short, job hopping is understood as the tendency of some workers, especially young people and those in sectors linked to digitalization, to change jobs quickly, seeking new professional experiences at a higher rate than the average worker.
Job hoppers are supposed to be highly flexible and adaptable to change. They are also known as job jumpers because their job mobility (within the same company but mostly between different companies) is interpreted as jumping from job to job faster than usual. It makes sense: no one leaves one company after another within a few months or a year of arriving there, blowing good turnover rates out of the water if they don’t handle change well.
What drives job hoppers?
The job hopping phenomenon is often explained as if those who engage in it are on the hunt for new professional challenges, new sources of inspiration, motivation, self-improvement, and job satisfaction. This is probably true in many cases and also, in many others, hides what is simply boredom. Beyond the difficulties of integrating into the job when you are new, we should not rule out an absolute lack of patience.
This is an enemy quality of today’s world and implies the ability to let professional projects develop and consolidate, that is, to allow them to reveal a “reasonable maximum” of their potential, a clear picture of how much they can give and how much they can’t, before giving way to the next challenge. In the case of job hopping, this process is short and very limited in both form and content. Everything is quickly exhausted, and you have to move on to the next screen.
Not for life and not for next year.
Apart from its advantages for job hoppers and companies, job hopping consists of taking the current paradigm of the private sector work environment to its peak.
This is based, among other principles, that there is no such thing as a job for life (nor, probably, should there be). As a result, employee life cycles within the same company or, at least, within the same position have a timeframe more similar to a political legislature (around four years) than the civil service tempo of the past.
Job hopping and work commitment
Given the rise of job hopping and the advantages that some companies find in this phenomenon, there must be some difference between a job hopper and a disengaged worker who will leave the company prematurely. In this sense, it is essential to avoid the company interpreting your life cycle as a conspicuously rushed employee as a premature departure rather than a natural and good ending for both parties.
One way to avoid this is, whenever possible, to approach the contractual relationship in what is known as “project work” (which can last for three months, six months, or a year, for example).
This way, the job hopper does not join the company in a long-term commitment fiction that does not exist. Instead, it makes an honest and productive but short-term commitment: they will arrive, do whatever they have to do (i.e., solve the company’s need) and leave for their next opportunity without the timing of that happening being jarring.
Job hoppers’ needs
Some people need a high level of stimulation in relationships so that anything that sounds routine, normal, or flat seems conflictive and emotionally unregulated.
Some people indulge in job hopping, whose threshold of stimulation to achieve job satisfaction is very high. Therefore, they need a high degree of tension, novelty, challenge, and originality in the professional projects and are quickly deflated (lose job commitment) by the expired nature of novelty, which is condemned to become known and, therefore, the enemy of job motivation.
Problems with job stability?
Job hoppers are good at adapting to change and, in fact, seek change as a source of job satisfaction. What they do not adapt to quickly, it seems, is stability, consistency, and duration.
In reality, beyond stability and commitment, every private-sector worker is, by definition, something of a mercenary. No one belongs to anyone; professional projects last as long as they last, and, sooner or later, all workers leave the company to go to another that suits them better, just as they landed there from previous professional experiences.
This is not negative in itself, nor does it exclude the existence of a strong work commitment and a positive sense of belonging of the employee to the company when things are done well. Job hopping would be the case of the labor mercenary taken to its extreme so that, in a sense, the only stability they seek is that of change.
In a sense, job hoppers have more to do with the structure and philosophy of a self-employed person than with an employee who wants to “make a career” within a company. Simply because to make a career, you have to, at the very least, stay, and that is precisely what job hoppers avoid.
Emotional well-being for companies
At ifeel, we seek to attract and develop the best talent, as well as to help companies to achieve it. Therefore, both their project and those who carry it out grow together harmoniously.
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