As a counter argument to Catherine Miklaus' outstanding post, Are Job Hoppers Good for a Company, I offer this post. 

I recently told a potential customer (client) that he should stay longer at his current company, rather than jump ship after only about a year of working there.

We agreed to talk a short time later to determine in which direction he wanted to go with his LinkedIn profile and strategy.

Awesome, right? Yes and no.

A week later he replied to my email saying he had decided that he would stay put and therefore didn't need my services. He thanked me for my "awesome" advice and said he would get back to me when he was going to make a move.

My would-be customer is a data analyst at a healthcare organization in Boston. At the time he was impatiently waiting for a promotion he was promised months ago. Fearing the promotion wouldn't materialize, he felt it was time to make a move to another company where he would be recognized for his hard work and talents. He was 26 years-old.

Perhaps I'm getting old and think this young man was too impatient, but he made me think about how Millennials are constantly on the move for bigger and better things. Is this necessarily a bad thing? It depends. A Forbes article states that the average tenure for a worker these days is 4.4 years, but Millennials (born between 1977-1997) plan to stay at a job for half that time.

I work mostly with Baby Boomers (1945-1964) and some younger and occasionally come across Millennials. I notice a distinct difference in the work attitudes of the two. While the younger workers are on the move, the older ones are more content staying for a while.

One concern employers have of the Millennials is confirmed by this man's attitude, who at the time he talked with me had been at his company for nine months and the one prior to that eight months.

His choice reminds me of choices I made at his age. I was reckless and changed jobs like people change socks. I felt no loyalty toward my employers; it was all about me. This type of thinking doesn't sit well with companies, as the Forbes article states:

For companies, losing an employee after a year means wasting precious time and resources on training & development, only to lose the employee before that investment pays off. Plus, many recruiters may assume the employee didn’t have time to learn much at a one-year job.

One thing I emphasized that night when talking with my Millennial is how his resume would look. To employers his resume would show a job hopper, not someone extremely talented at what he does. He agreed with this assessment. Perhaps this is the reason he decided to stick it out for hopefully three more years.

His reason for leaving wasn't only because he wanted to advance quickly; he wanted to learn the latest and greatest software. I saw his point because I'm also one who likes to learn new things.

What about the plight of Baby Boomers? Some of my unemployed Baby Boomers feel as if they've been betrayed by the company they worked for for 25 years. They pride themselves for showing loyalty and commitment. So they wonder why they were let go unexpectedly.

To make matters worse, they're not as well prepared for the job search.

My Baby Boomers also tell me either training opportunities were not available to them, or they didn't take advantage of them to learn new technologies. Shame on them if the latter was true. How can we fight the stereotype that says older workers aren't as technologically inclined as Millennials when the older generation hasn't taken advantage of opportunities?

So, what's the answer? For the Millennials, their best bet is to stay put for at least four years; and for the Baby Boomers, they've learned their lesson by showing loyalty and growing comfortable at companies for so long.

Views: 544

Comment by Daniel Fogel on September 11, 2015 at 10:50am

Bob - thanks for posting.   A lot of the Millennials I chat with have gone through the experience of seeing one or both of their Boomer parents lose their job unexpectedly.   Many of these Millennials might not have known about the performance of their parents at the job, but saw the company cut ties with the employee on it's terms.  The people I talk to are less inclined to remain loyal to any employer.  The company will look out for its interests and the Millennials worker must take care of themselves.  They operate their lives like they are their own personal company, acquiring skills and experience, moving on to what they want to do next when they see fit.

Comment by Catherine Hess on September 11, 2015 at 11:36am

I hate to admit it, but my best opportunities always came after a hop. Better pay, more responsibility, more opportunities to learn... Maybe it's a generational thing, but I'm surprised when people stay long enough to feel betrayed by a company.

Comment by Bob McIntosh on September 11, 2015 at 12:38pm

Daniel, I understand the reluctance for anyone to trust or be loyal to a company. Those days are gone because of the way companies have treated their loyal employees, e.g. people who are tasked with training new employees, only to find that the new employee was slated to take their job. I've heard it all. What I'm talking about is leaving a job after a year or less. It may be good for a person's advancement in title and salary, but it looks bad to employers who are looking to hire full-time employees (as I've quoted the Forbes article). They wonder why a candidate hasn't stayed at one company more than a year or two. One of my customers went to an interview where the interviewer asked her why she was planning to leave her current customer after a year's service. She had been at her previous company for 7 or so years. So longevity wasn't an issue. 

@Catherine, your career trajectory has served you well. And I don't think all companies can be trusted, except when layoffs are required, to keep their employees on. However, there is something to be said about longevity. It says to potential employees, he/she was appreciated for the work they did. I believe there is a life expectancy of a job....Then it is time to leave. 

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