April 28, 2010

Job hopping: Career crack for losers

Filed under: Heads up, Job Search, Stuff I worry about

Over at Business Insider, Mark Suster laid down a rant: Never Hire Job Hoppers. Never. They Make Terrible Employees. A buddy of mine sent it along and said she thinks it’s entirely one-sided from the employer’s perspective.

I don’t endorse everything Suster says in his posting (he says a lot), but I think he’s generally right.

Any job hopper who’s fool enough to be one of 1,000 resumes on some manager’s desk deserves to be dumped into the trash can. Gimme a break — your work history shows you bounce around like a ping pong ball and you expect a manager to overlook it until she gets to meet you in person to see what a wonderful, unique individual you are and that your job hopping was due to extenuating circumstances that you can explain, given the opportunity?

Just stick a fork in your butt — trust me, you’re done. You not only job hopped, you’re advertising it to the world by applying for jobs with a resume. Do you really expect a manager is gonna “understand” when she doesn’t even know you? You are revealing that, on top of being a job hopper, your judgment sucks.

(If you try to hide your job hopping on your resume, you’re gonna get busted. Those clever techniques for obscuring when and where you worked — they make you look like you’re hiding something. Which you are. So cut it out.)

Does this mean your career is over? Of course not. I write this blog to help people deal with in-your-face problems, and this is one of them. But that fork sticking out of your butt — it’s real, and it hurts, and pulling it out is gonna hurt even more. There is no easy fix.

I’ve never known a job hopper who was not in pain. And I’ve never known a successful professional who wished he had five jobs in a six-year career. The fix is not to sell a little career crack to job hoppers and tell them that we envy their exciting lives. The fix is to help them become more stable and to build a healthy reputation.

Two suggestions:

  • First, toss out your resume. Trash it yourself, before an employer trashes it for you. And I don’t mean you should get a better resume. I mean, Stop using a flyer that says KICK ME on it. Period. No resume. Search for a job strictly through personal referrals and face-to-face contacts which enable you to make your case before your butt is kicked into the can.
  • Second, find a place to work where you can stay put. Penelope Trunk — who tells you loyalty doesn’t matter and job hopping is good — is sticking a needle in your vein, pumping you full of happy juice, and leaving your career to die while she drives off to the bank to deposit the GoogleAds checks she collects for advertising career crack to confused GenY’s. Stay off the juice. Stay put. Establish a reputation. Then trade on it.

You don’t have time to do all that hard work to be successful? That’s your problem, not an employer’s.

Now, here’s the coda: You don’t have to be loyal, and the reason might be that employers haven’t been loyal to you. You might have doubled your salary in each of the six hops you made in ten years. You might be the guru of whatever it is you do, free to wander anywhere you like. Good for you. Congratulations.

But when you can’t find your next job because you’re viewed as a job hopper, hop along. Remember that your career record is your own choice.

When Lazy Careerist Penelope Trunk offers you the needle, just say no. Kudos to Mark Suster for delivering tough love to job hoppers who want to get straight, and to savvy professionals who want to stay clean.

(If the distinction between job hoppers and consultants, and between temporary and full-time employees suddenly makes you nervous, check out Journeyman Or Partner?)


69 Comments on “Job hopping: Career crack for losers”
By If I Was Running A Company…Job Hopping « Tao of the Original Tracy Tran
May 17, 2010 at 9:02 am

[…] a Comment 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 […]

By Jeff
May 26, 2010 at 11:49 am


I agree with your buddy as everything you said benefits the employer while giving little value to the employee. If you don’t want to worry about job hopping offer the person a long term contract or adjust their salary to be competitive in the market. Otherwise you are saying nothing more than, I want you to work long term and be a good employee and give up your liquidity in the labor market but keep the option to let you go at any time. . . sorry but no thanks.


By Lisa
May 28, 2010 at 12:24 am

I love a lot of what you say here, but I see Penelope’s side, too. Who the heck ISN’T working for the money? If you’re not in the nonprofit world or an artist, you like a paycheck, right? And the best salary increases always come with a new job, not staying at one where you’ve already shown you will work for less than the new job might offer you.

Plus, the days of gold watches and pensions are long gone. A friend of mine lost her father last year to a massive heart attack. He was stressed because his employer had decided to lay him off after nearly 30 years of work and had doubled his workload for the last few months before his layoff date. No significant severance was offered. When he died, the company found a technicality and tried to screw his family over on his life insurance. This is a major US company that most readers here will have heard of, but I won’t name it–not because I think they’ll track me down and sue me, but because it’s not about the company, it’s about the modern workplace environment. Loyalty isn’t expected from employers, so why should employees walk loyally right off the dock into shark-infested waters?

I was laid off from a dot-bomb (love your term) where I had loyally worked unpaid overtime every week and had weeks before my layoff (not a lot of weeks) been told by the CEO personally that he’d give me a raise if he had the budget and that he couldn’t possibly be more satisfied with my performance–and that I had, verbatim, “nothing to worry about” and was “essential to our team.” A week after they laid me off they offered me my job back with a 40% salary cut and more responsibilities tacked on.

I could keep giving examples, but my point is this: These days, a loyal employee is a stupid employee. If you want a drone who works their 40 hours, gets their paycheck and is happy that way until you later lay them off, hire a loyal person who never job hops. If you want a smart employee who constantly learns more about their job, wants more responsibility, takes on extra work without being asked, and expects to be valued in return, consider the job hoppers–at least, those of them whose past hops have successfully landed them more money and more responsibility, and whose past employers speak of them in glowing tones.

Further, I found it repulsive that you referred to a fellow writer in your field in such crude and unkind terms. I know you’re a headhunter, but that doesn’t mean you have to embody the worst stereotypes in the field! If I were ever in a position to choose between working with you and Penelope and had only her job hoppers post and your response to base my decision on, I’d pick Penelope in a heartbeat, because she didn’t feel the need to personally insult a colleague in her post.

Having read other posts on your blog, I know you’re a blunt guy but not an intentionally cruel guy, yet I think this post was out of line and turned a difference of opinion into a personal attack.

By Len Bakerloo
May 28, 2010 at 7:07 am

Recent college graduates have a problem… they don’t have experience. They might take short-term projects to make ends meet, but most of the paying jobs don’t teach skills, they require that you hit the ground running.

In his free on-line e-book titled, The Recession-Proof Graduate, (http://charliehoehn.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/recession-proof-graduate1.pdf), Charlie Hoen suggests grads 1) Get some real skills, 2) Identify prospective employers, 3) Propose that you do short projects for them, for free.

Your article helps make the case against this tactic… thank you. Such a collection of short projects will just look like job hopping on a resume.

At Humongous Shortage of Work, (http://www.HumongousShortageOfWork.com), Kotow Shergar explains all the ways Charlie is wrong. And he does it without even wasting his time reading Charlie’s book.

Now, you too, can avoid wasting your time reading it.

Thanks for the additional reasons to not work… Lots of different work on your resume will just look bad.


By Tech Job Love » Blog Archive » The Working Geek news roundup for 2010-06-17
October 2, 2010 at 1:19 am

[…] Job hopping is career crack for losers: (corcodilos.com) […]

By There is 90% Employment | The talentGraphz Blog
November 1, 2010 at 6:24 pm

[…] http://www.corcodilos.com/blog/1824/job-hopping-career-crack-for-losers […]

By Kathy
June 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Nick – Take this in the spirit it is intended…F you.

I’m seen as a “job hopper” according to my resume. This so called hopping? Within the last year a lay off (lost a government contract, damn that deficit), another one that lost their contract to do home appraisals with Bank of America, a job that I was promised would become full time after a month that never did (and therefore had to leave rather than lose the roof over my head), a store that closed just before my one year anniversary because the owner wanted to change careers and didn’t want to bother to sell the place first…

Because of this, I can now only get phone sales jobs that plan to get rid of who they hire in 90 days or less just as “business as usual” (and so they don’t have to put you on the health insurance).

But you just keep assuming the worse of people in my position and lose out on getting a good employee who has had to be a “jack of all trades”….just because they’ve had the misfortune of working for a bunch of screw-up employers.

By Nick Corcodilos
June 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm

@Kathy: Please read my post again. “Does this mean your career is over? Of course not. I write this blog to help people deal with in-your-face problems, and this is one of them.”

Career coaches and resume advisers teach people to hide the fact that they’ve bounced around, but it doesn’t work. I made it clear that people jump either of their own volition, or because their employers have screwed them.

My point is that a new employer won’t see that distinction. That’s the reality. If you march around looking for a new job while pretending someone’s going to “get it” and realize it wasn’t your fault, you’re screwed again.

I offered two suggestions. I’ll repeat them, because I think you’re so angry that you’re missing the point. Both suggestions are up to you — not to the next employer. You must decide to do something to help yourself.

1. Forget about resumes. There is no way to hide job hopping. So don’t rely on that dopey piece of paper that screams, “I may be a problem.” Rely instead on developing and using solid personal contacts who will strongly recommend you. Make that your “foot in the door.” Not the resume. A strong referral is more trusted by a manager than a resume. It’s the best way to get over the hump.

2. Lay down a record of stability. This means, pick the next company carefully. Extra carefully. Your recent experiences may not be your fault, but the system is gonna make you pay for them anyway. So choose thoughtfully. Make sure where you go next will help you establish a credible record.

You can F me all you want. That doesn’t change the perception of employers. Only you can change that. And crying over your experiences and getting mad at me won’t help. My job is to be pragmatic, and I try to offer concrete suggestions.

Or you can try to come up with one more clever way to hide your job hopping on your resume.

By H Chaudhry
November 14, 2011 at 9:52 pm

This is a a highly misleading and opinionated article. I am 33 and into my 6th job with average tenure of 1.5 years. I am proud of it. I have tripled my salary from the first job that I started after graduate school and I have always climbed the ladder to now a Sr. Manager with a major utility. Do not listen to these head hunters people. They and their whole industry is out dated and on verge on elimination.

No offense Nick, but what does make you an expert on what Managers think ? by the way who are these managers any way ? What is the job of these managers? Isn’t it to maximize their companies profit with decisions that yield the most?, perhaps the correct human capital.
I am one of those managers that happened to have hired two people in recent past with similar career history as mine, and they are proving to be great. If they decide to leave after some time, good luck to them but while they are here, if they are performing at the level I demand, I am OK with it.

My advice to people is go for the best and stop listening to these so called “Recruiting” / HR experts. If you have skills, they will hire you. Just remember, the companies will not keep you when they don’t need you either! It goes both ways and We (the real managers) understand that.
Off course if you are an administrative level person, you don’t have much to market and stay at the job that you have!

By H Chaudhry
November 14, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Just to put things into prespective, I was interested in few position, I applied to all of them with my Resume of my job hopping history. Out of these 8, I have recieved 6 calls for interview.

I was searching for some tips to explain my career in addition to my usual defense lines of skill set etc.

Generally, I read articles and never respond but this article is so far from the truth, I have to comment.

Good luck every one !

By Approach The Market – Job Hopping Through The Recession?
March 12, 2012 at 11:58 am

[…] view with great definitions in an article for Business Insider , Nick Corcodilos in his great blog ‘Ask The Head Hunter’ and followed the subsequent discussion on LinkedIn.  This got me thinking about some of the CVs I […]

By jobhopper
August 23, 2012 at 11:44 am

Corporate-loyalty died a long time ago. If corporate America isn’t willing to take the time/money to re-train their existing employees nor are they willing to hire those who have hopped to acquire those skills, the only option left is to out-source or take on contractors. I think your view is self-serving as it creates demand for your services since it’s harder to find those with tenure that have the necessary experience — enter the head-hunter. I for one say hop and keep hopping as long as it serves your purpose. If there is 1 company that doesn’t like your resume, there are 10,000 more that could care less as long as you have the right experience/skills.

I agree that personal relationships are more powerful then a resume.

By Job Hopping - The Trouble with Itchy Feet | FreshGigs.ca
May 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm

[…] Headhunter Nick Corcodilos was equally adamant, and he raked a blogger over the coals for giving ill advice. Corcodilos wrote: […]

By Radio Roundtable: The Job-hopper's edition - CustomScoop's Media Bullseye
October 2, 2014 at 10:01 am

[…] job dissatisfaction, and job-hopping. Bill Sledzik has written about it, as have Todd Defren, Nick Corcodilos, Mark Suster, and of course Jason Calacanis. (And for a decidedly different take, Penelope Trunk […]

By Is Penelope Trunk Feeding Gen Y "Career Crack"? - Ms. Career Girl
January 17, 2015 at 3:39 am

[…] Nick’s recent blog post titled, Job Hopping: Career Crack for Losers, Nick offers some very different advice than Penelope […]

By Some One
February 24, 2015 at 3:16 am

Sadly, thanks to applicant tracking systems and job matching to an idiotic degree, job hopping, however, it happened will make things harder for you. Most hiring managers are idiots. They dont see the advantage of it, even if you make it through the ATS which is not designed to handle real world resumes. I may add that most companies are pretty much the same as each other these days (see ATS) and if you can stick around in one company for a while you might as well. And I am a job hopper. And no, I had no choice but to be one.

By Will Walker
June 27, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Funny how employers expect the world of their employees and potential employees yet offer practically nothing in return. Typically a very small pay check that you have to fight to even get when your supposed to get it. Real easy for a fat *ss know nothing hiring manager to sit at a computer screen and pass judgment on perfectly qualified individuals without ever seeing or speaking to them. Then if your lucky enough to get an interview, the only thing the manager is interested in speaking to you about is your personal hobbies and your personal and social life which is not only irrelevant but none of their business either. The worst part is…you know your not getting the job from the moment you answer the phone and find that the person that could hire you is in fact gayer than gay and your just a little too straight for their liking. Hate my post or not…it’s all 100% true and I could go on and on true story one after another. The point is its always the person submitting the resume that has some sort of problem. Never the employer.

By Jim Slicer
January 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm

This advice is little more than mental flatulence, directed at a non-existent group of workers. If Nick were to send me his resume and I found this horribly designed, poorly executed website with no awareness of UXD, I’d advise him to look elsewhere. I definitely would take a job hopper who cared enough about design and had the skill to build a decent website. This place is atrocious.

By Nick Corcodilos
January 27, 2016 at 6:31 pm

@Jim Slicer: Advice and suggestions about the site welcome. I’m a headhunter and writer. So I keep the site simple.

Post a comment