Last week (thanks to Ask A Manager), I read two articles on job hopping. You can read Nick’s take and Mark’s take on job hopping. To summarize, both said if you job hop a lot before the age of 30, you’re screwed and when you get your first job, stays for at least 3-5 years. Essentially, most of the things they I agree with.
Actually, people who are in college, should start intern hopping after their sophomore year. If you’re in college, graduate school or a recent grad, take the opportunity to go into three different internships: one employer with less than 100 employees, one medium employer with 100-500 employees and one large employer with over 500 employees. Before they get their first full-time job, the person should have a perspective of each size, culture and personality and the person will have an idea who they want to work for.
After their internship, I agree on both articles that people who are coming into the workforce should have a made up “entry-level contract” of 3 years in their mind. The new employee must show development in those three years. The first year is the getting to know stage, the second year is getting use to the job, and the last year of the “contract” should be the overall package that has been trained and learned from the past two years, which includes learning the organization culture. After those three years, the person now can be a “free agent” if he/she wants to stay or go for “greener pastures.” By any chance if you leave before 3 or so years, employers will question not only your commitment, but what happened that force both sides to part ways. There are circumstances that you have to job hop, but if there is a below average response to that question, start searching for a temp agency to re-establish your working career.
If there is one thing I disagree with the articles, it’s implying that you must be a team player and toe the company line. It is important to be a team leader, but it is more important that the person has a tone and direction with the organization. Hence, why you see in the qualifications section of the job posting, “Independent, but can able to work with a team.” Besides, if everyone thinks like company people, we’re back to the 1960s again.
What I’m telling people who are coming in the real world for the first time is to have perspective, plan, and be proactive before entering the workforce. These three years are your first impression in your working career, so don’t squandered this opportunity or you will lose your footing early. Now, if you want to start your own company, I hope you have a great support system and a lot of luck.