Jobs are no more for a life-time. Over the last couple of decades, it has been a trend all over the world. Baby boomers looked for consistency and long-term prospects while the new generation started thinking differently as socioeconomic changes were taking place. Expectations of work-life, workplace and ethics of work have slowly transformed. Further, organizations and communities have evolved too. Thus, employers’ approach towards the workers, their remuneration and their life at the workplace have changed too. As a result, the engagement between the employer and the employee has become a lot more objective, defined and focused on what’s in it for me.
Staffing is one of the functions of management – this has undergone quite a few changes.We see a lot more flexibility in staffing which means employers and employees at both the ends have agreed on clear terms to engage and dis-engage with one another. Both parties are clear about notice period, termination process, processes to measure the output of the employee as well as the employer, details of behaviours at work and so on. Layoffs are no more a taboo; neither they are rarest of rare situations. Performance measurements are no more once a year or a quarter; they are hourly, daily and weekly. Actions of rewards as well as punishment as a result of these measurements are immediate. Many organizations feel proud of these practices and recognize these as testimony of meritocracy. Given this environment which is heavily transactional and relies hugely on rationality, it is very difficult to engage an employee deeper at the level of his heart and create an emotional connect with the organization. Naturally, it is expected that employees will be opportunistic. Why should there be a fuss about job hopping?
Secondly, job hopping is facilitated by the developments taking place in our economy creating new jobs, advances in technology giving rise to new kinds of industry and roles and the evolving socioeconomic norms which pushes people to earn more. So, job hopping is inevitable. Is this good or bad for an employee?
In a short-term, an individual gets more pay, possibly better designation and a better role than the current one. It helps meeting an employee’s ambitions to grow or do different things in life. So, it’s good for an employee in the short-term. It gets a bit tricky when one looks into the long-term. For an employee, what matters is the professional value that one carries. It is important that one carries out a role over a long enough period of time so that one gets exposed to a range of situations and learns to deal with the ups and downs that the role goes through. Such a range of exposure helps one build competencies and skills leading greater professional capability. Like they say, rolling stone gathers no moss, it is important that one stays rooted to a role for a long enough time to add the desired depth in one’s capability and hence, value. Based on the industry and the level in an organization, one can decide what is the ideal tenure for someone to stay invested in the role.
Like any natural process, an employee’s capability goes through the cycle of introduction, growth, maturity and decline. So, it is important that one renews one’s capabilities before it starts declining. One must introduce a new lease of life into one’s professional capability to keep it fresh and relevant for an employer. Job change needs to happen at the right time so that one is able to move from the mature stage of competencies into another cycle of growth to maturity. So, one’s work life should have multiple phases of growth-maturity duo, where each duo represents one job.
Job hopping is inevitable. In the short-term, it is attractive but one needs to time it well. The right time to change a job is when one has matured in one’s role and sees the threat of a decline. Job hoppers bring a set of well-developed skills and experience which are valuable for an organization. They are ambitious and good planners. So, they turn out to be good assets for an employer if the job change happens at the right time!