What job hopping has taught me

5 min read
fix me

Photo by kaip on Unsplash

This post is not intended to be used as a promotion campaign about the benefits of job hopping; it's just a reflection on the valuable lessons my journey has taught me over the years.

In my particular case, rather than a decision was a consequence of different circumstances of the time I was in my career. What I am trying to say is that it was not initially planned to be like so I'd like to explore the advantages and disadvantages that emerged from this scenario.

What I have learned

Flexibility

Comparison are not always a good reflection, but one of the benefits or skills that I have developed due to job hopping it's definitely the flexibility and the adaptability to different environments.

Within this rapidly changing environment, I was able to work with companies of different sizes, different business domains, and different countries. This ended up boosting my understanding of what it feels like to work with people from different cultures, where expectations may differ. Even in simple aspects like conducting a meeting, and finding alternatives when giving feedback to co-workers.

While entering a new company hence a new team, is when this adaptability that I am referring to notices the most. I have been told that I was able to adapt to the way of working and the context, of the team's agreements quite fast. Able to provide my fresh view during the onboarding.

Whether we are referring to a new domain or a new team, as I have been in this situation many times before I understand where to focus on, how to ease this process for my new colleagues and become productive as soon as possible.

Perspective

These experiences also brought a more holistic perspective to my view. I have seen multiple ways of doing the same thing, and different approaches to fighting against the same concerns, such as company reorganizations, transformations from distributed teams to business units, and migrations from monolith to microservices, just to name a few.

Mistakes made in one context became valuable lessons, preventing their recurrence in the future. So whenever I deal with those problems again, my brain will be preventive to avoid failures that I have already gone through.

Moreover, this would make me less hesitant to switch jobs if there's something at my current employer that I can't tolerate, or if this requires a battle I don't have the energy to face.

As I have completed many rounds of interviews, I was exposed to public speaking multiple times, which gave me better tools to deal with stakeholder management.

In this process of changes, I have also learned to stand for myself, what I like and what I don't like, and where I would like to take my career. There were times when I decided to change roles, and this new path was not an option within that company.

Drawbacks

While job hopping has its merits, drawbacks exist, and from them, I can tell that job hopping has unfortunately a bad reputation in the field.

As someone who has been moving between countries, and dealing with visa sponsorships, staying in the same working place was not always an option.

I want to clarify that while I chose to make some of these changes, there were situations beyond my control. This includes company politics and decisions like acquisitions or the absence of stimulating projects during my time at consultancy firms.

Career laddering

At this point I can already mention one of the downsides, I had limited time for growth and development within the same place. When I managed to get the trust, and the confidence, for one reason or another I was moving out forcing myself to go through that process over again.

Building a career in place, getting to know the capital knowledge of an organization, and seeing a product evolve over the years and achieve big milestones are some of the things that I recognize that I have missed, and would have been nice to see. There were times when my contributions as an individual or as a part of a team, were I wasn't able to see any results.

Feeling misjudged

According to those who stayed in one place, it seems to bring happiness and motivation, the ability to switch roles, learn different aspects of the product, and witness the company's changes. Building trust also offers freedom and possibly a better work-life balance.

During initial interviews, I'm often asked why I've changed jobs frequently. Job hopping is typically viewed negatively in a career, but in my case, it has helped me develop skills that might have been harder to acquire otherwise.

I recently went through an interview process where I was rejected after multiple rounds. According to their feedback, they were worried about my commitment and questioned my loyalty. Despite explaining the reasons behind each job change, they remained skeptical. It's fair, but interestingly, their concerns also made me reconsider joining them.

From the other side of the fence, in a recent informal chat with a manager, he explained that for him, job hopping was a reflection of people who can stand for themselves, are sure about what they are looking for, and are not willing to spend time in places where they don't feel comfortable or misplaced.

Final comment

Despite the challenges, job hopping has positively shaped me, offering a distinct set of skills, a broader network, and diverse perspectives. It's been a journey of constant learning and adaptation, and I wouldn't exchange it for any other career path, as it has molded me into the person I am today.

I know that I am not alone on this, and we shouldn't narrow this negative view and blame on the employee, since the reasons could be outside of its control such as layoffs, re-organizations, acquisitions, companies going down, lack of career opportunities, hyper-growth affecting the company cultures, just to name a few.

Market trends and paychecks deserve a separate chapter. Switching companies is one of the easiest and simplest ways to increase our salary, often seen as shortcuts, compared to building a career in the same place.

From my perspective, it was never deliberate, and interestingly, every time I seek a new challenge, I approach the research as if the new place is going to last forever.

Thanks for reading ❤️

Written by Manu

I am a product-driven JavaScript developer, passionate about sharing experiences in the IT world, from a human-centric perspective.

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