As Spark News has discussed plenty of times before, the job market has shifted drastically. No longer does an employee stay with the same company their entire career, but rather hops from company to company amassing skill sets from each position. However, have any of these savvy job hoppers taken a moment to step back and think how their job hopping could actually harm their career? Spark News is going to take a guess and say, no.
An op-ed piece from CNN’s Dan Schawbel suggests that hopping from job to job can result in a lack of maturity and skills that are needed in order to succeed in the workplace. According to Schwabel, building a career within a company can be a large asset that we’ll explain later. Spark News agrees that Schwabel makes a good argument and that many of his points are valid, however it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone. An employee with a great job and the opportunity to move around laterally or upwards may want to leave because they don’t agree with the company’s policies or simply dislikes the company’s environment. In that case, no matter how many times you move around internally, you’re still stuck inside a company whose values you disagree with or business styles you dislike. In this case, finding a position within another company is likely the better idea, since walking into work unhappy and agitated day after day is certainly not a great idea for anyone’s career. Or health, for that matter.
Let’s say that you are happy with your company though and simply want to broaden your skill set or acquire a new job title. Before you start applying for a new job with a different company, consider your current company. Staying with the company you work for longer than six months shows that you are stable and reliable. Furthermore, you won’t have to make a drastic switch and start all over again. So what can employers and employees do to make their relationship together more long-term and beneficial for both parties?
Let’s start with the employers. Often times, employees feel as though the work they are completing is insignificant or not meaningful. In so many words, they feel as though they’re getting nothing out of it. Companies can retain more of their employees if they made sure their work was meaningful. Schwabel also suggests that companies can work to understand generational differences, become a social company and support the value systems they put into play. In relation to their companies, employees want to know that their career paths are long-term and secured. Elcio Barcelos, a Vice President of staffing at HP states that “companies need to be able to provide diverse career paths for individuals today.” Without this, employees may be up and out once they feel as though they’ve conquered their position. Schwabel also suggests that companies need to loosen up on their policies and resist blocking social networks at work. Spark News found this to be interesting and, since Schwabel left no explanation for his suggestion, we can’t quite argue against his reasoning. However, it’s difficult to see why employers should allow their employees to surf the web and check-up on their personal social networks while at work simply because they want to.
So, what can the job hoppers do to stay put for longer than six months and truly build a strong bond with their employers? Schwabel put it bluntly when stating that some employees simply need to put their attitudes in check. Spark News agrees with this statement, especially when it comes to the social media suggestion tackled just moments ago. Yes, you would like to be allowed to log onto Facebook for a couple minutes every hour at work or check your Twitter feed without the fear of being fired. However, ask yourself, why? Social media and the internet is responsible for much of the decrease in productivity at work along with cell phones and other electronics. On top of that, most people don’t understand “a couple of minutes.” A minute or two turns to 20 and 20 to an hour. Doubtless, many people have found themselves staring blankly into Facebook only to find that their last hour evaporated into a sea of so and so’s status updates or that attractive person’s photo albums. Yes, it happens and work is not the place for it.
Aside from this, employees need to be more proactive with their careers. Not getting challenged at work? Ask for more difficult projects and express your need to learn new skills in your position. Don’t wait for the work to come to you. If you want to stay on top of your game, you need to chase the work yourself. If you are asking and never receive, then consider your options. But asking for more challenging work will likely yield good results for both you and your employer.
Staying with a company for a long period of time shows other employers that you are loyal and capable of maintaining a good working relationship. From an employers perspective, job hopping can mean that you weren’t able to build a good work relationship or that you didn’t give your last employers a chance. If they hire you, will you leave them in just six months? Think about these factors before you give up and search for a new position elsewhere.