Job Hopping

Ask your mom or dad what they think about job hopping and you’ll probably be faced with a scowl and admonition not to do it. But google the concept and all of a sudden it won’t seem like such a bad idea.

Career websites are now hedging their bets when it comes to frequent job changes—defined by most as leaving a position within a year or two of taking it—citing changes in the job market resulting from the recession and the more self-oriented nature of Gen X and Gen Y workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that while workers overall average 4.6 years with their current employers, for workers age 20 to 34, it’s only 2.3.

So, is job hopping a good idea or not? Clearly, if you’ve been on the job for only a year and an offer comes along that is literally too good to pass up, you should take it. But if you’re just moving from one position to another at the same level because you’re restless or hoping the second will be better than the first, you might want to think again.

Here are some pros and cons to consider before you decide to make that change:

On the upside

  • Working at several different hospitals over the first 5-10 years of your career will provide you with a good overview of how respiratory care departments operate in different facilities.
  • Since not all departments offer the exact same set of services, you’ll get the chance to develop skills in more areas of the profession.
  • By spending time in a number of hospitals, you’ll meet more people in the field who can become part of your lifelong professional network.
  • Job hopping holds the potential to boost your salary faster than might be the case if you stayed in one place.

On the downside

  • Every time you hop from one job to the next you add to the concerns of potential employers who may worry that you will do the same thing to them within a year or so.
  • If you don’t stay put for longer than a year or two, you run the risk of always being the new guy on the team. That means you could be the first to go if the department is forced to lay off staff.
  • While job hopping does expose you to more people who can become a part of your professional network, some of those folks might not be inclined to help you in the future because they perceive you as someone who has a hard time committing to an organization.
  • Why you change jobs is important: if your resume indicates lateral changes for no real benefit, future employers will question your judgment and wonder if you left due to some grievance or another. Employers typically shy away from people they perceive as having negative attitudes.

The bottom line for RTs may be to think twice before hopping. As noted earlier, if someone offers you a great opportunity, go for it. If you’re just leaving because you think the grass will be greener elsewhere, take a breath and reconsider. The grass will probably be the same color over there as it is where you are today.