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Boing boing boing, bitches.

Job Hoppers vs. Career Loyalists: I Want to See Numbers!

Recently a little conversation sprang up on Twitter on the topic of changing jobs frequently as a strategy to increase your salary, i.e. job hopping. Respondents tended to fall into one of two camps on the subject.

One camp is the job hoppers. Desirae over at Half Banked had three jobs within her first five years out of school. Not to be outdone, Cameron at Save Splurge Deny Debt has had four career changes since graduation. Both gave a thumbs-up to the strategy.

The other camp is career loyalists. Included are Felicity at Fetching Financial Freedom and both Mrs. And Mr. Adventure Rich, who’ve held steady for six, five, and ten years respectively. As one user put it: “Lots of opportunities at my current job. For now, little reason to look elsewhere.”

This boggles my mind.

And kinda makes me want to do… this:


I’m a hardcore job hopper, and there’s a perfect cliché to describe why: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. It doesn’t matter how many opportunities are available at your workplace if none of those opportunities are yours in writing.

I’ve seen a lot of extraordinarily qualified, talented, hardworking, and beloved coworkers linger in a position—sometimes for years—awaiting a promotion that would never come. I’m sure some managers are unscrupulous enough to deliberately mislead, but many more are merely incompetent. They promise something in good faith, but lack the wisdom to anticipate the unexpected. The market turns suddenly, or a new leader comes in and shakes up old priorities, or unanticipated budgetary restrictions tie their hands, and poof! Countless hours of hard work and relationship-building, wasted. I feel so strongly about this that I made a chart to demonstrate how job hopping has worked for me.

Kitty's Salary!

Now, the beginning of my career was a little funky because I ran my own business for a while. It wasn’t so much a choice as a necessity; 2009-2010 was a very bad time to be a recent college graduate. Work was so hard to find I didn’t have much of a say in the matter. I digress. The chart notes the locations of all raises, plus two promotions (and one rejected promotion, which is a story for another day.)

Let’s see what my projected income would have been if I had stayed in any of those jobs for a longer amount of time!

I don't want this.

Wow. Seems that no matter which one I’d stayed in, I’d be making about $50,000 a year—half of what I actually make today. (The $80K job doesn’t count because I only had eight months worth of data. Plus I would’ve killed myself if I’d stayed at that hellhole another month, and dead people generally aren’t permitted to continue collecting salaries.)

Now let’s see how I really got to that $100,000 mark.

Boing, booing, boing!

Boing, boing, boing, bitches. I jumped. And I double-jumped. I jumped so high it looked like that move where you strategically abandon Yoshi to double-jump off his back after his double-jump.

My current job is a pretty sweet gig. It pays me twice as much as what many others were willing to pay, evidently. I got an unasked-for raise within my first year, and a $20,000 retention bonus not reflected in these base pay statistics. Best of all, the work is fully remote and exceedingly manageable. So you’d think I plan to stay here for a while, right?

Wrong. No matter how much I like it there, I’ll be a dust trail come 2019.

That’s because the potential gains are too great to pass up. I’ve very nearly doubled my salary twice in my life, and both times it was by changing jobs. No amount of generalized “stability” is worth another $100,000 to me. And I suspect that even somewhat meaty promotions wouldn’t be enough to match where I am presently.

Job hoppers: Back me up here. I’ve put my spreadsheets where my mouth is. If you’ve changed jobs frequently, add your data in the comments! Let’s show these Royalists the true Spirit of 1776.

Career loyalists: Convince me I am wrong. Maybe you truly have hit the employer jackpot! Regale me with stories of generous raises and easy promotions. And don’t skimp on those hard numbers.

General Rules:

  • Base pay only. No bonuses, stock options, or any kind of if-then-maybe money.
  • Raises under 5% are considered cost of living increases and do not count as raises.
  • Title changes count as promotions if it’s a clear step up.
  • If some extra awesome perk heavily factored into your decision (like onsite daycare, a company car, or fully remote work), feel free to elaborate on it.

84 thoughts to “Job Hoppers vs. Career Loyalists: I Want to See Numbers!”

  1. HELLO! It is I, job hopper who literally realized while reading this post that god damn, I am actually a hybrid of both approaches.

    My first job paid me $37K, my second job paid me $44K, and my third job started me at $55K and has moved me up four times over three years to $75K.

    But for context, that’s Canadian, so like… Probably $50K USD (I wish I was joking but I’m kind of not.)

    1. You join the ranks of lady centaurs and mermaids, you gorgeous, thrifty hybrid you!! Thank you so much for contributing!!

  2. I am a (former?) job hopper.

    My first gig out of school paid me less than 10K a year, but after a year I got a promotion to $24K. The following year, I asked for a raise and was denied, so I moved to a similar company closer to family for $31K a year. My final (so far) hop was to government work. I was supposed to start at $42K- including full health, dental, vision, and a pension. However the DAY I started my salary got bumped to $45K because our union won a deal.

    I’ve been here for 18 months and am now making a cool $55K a year with overtime work being set to come out to another $5K or so. Because even though I’m salaried, they still pay me overtime for any work over 40 hours- and all of that overtime? voluntary. The work/life balance is insanely nice and allows me to pursue side interests and projects. Couple that with the fact that our union contract has a guaranteed 9% raise each year for the next 4 years, and I’m pretty content not jumping ship. At least for now.

    1. God bless unions! A good friend of mine is trying to organize one right now, and it’s very difficult work filled with intimidation and disappointment. But I sincerely hope she succeeds, because it will greatly increase the stability, clarity, and happiness of everyone working there.

  3. Definitely believe in job hopping! My first job paid 50k, I jumped to a different career in the same industry and unfortunately couldn’t get a raise for that jump, it paid exactly the same 50k. After a year I got a raise to 52k.

    I decided to attend a coding boot camp which had been trending up in the last couple years, it cost 18k but my first fulltime job out paid 118k so it was totally worth it! I even got a 9% raise after 8 months. Don’t know how long I’ll stay here, the industry is pretty hot where I am (SF) and my experience/my peers experience seems the opposite from Budget On A Stick, where it’s been very easy to jump companies even within 6 months. I think generally people wait for a year to 1.5 years though.

    1. Though actually I forgot to add, I made a friend at my second company who provided so much value that he actually asked for a raise every 6 months! He still works there to this day, I think he’s been at the company for 4 years now. I think he must have started somewhere around 120k, and I know his most recent raise (after getting another job offer) brought him up to 200k+. I still believe this is considered the job hopper camp because they only gave him the crazy raise + promotion AFTER he said he was going to leave.

      1. Great information! The Bay area is interesting because noncompete clauses are so much rarer there. It definitely makes it easier for people in specialized roles to hop from one company to the next. That’s not something I even thought to touch upon, but definitely will in my follow-up!

        1. Wow I didn’t even think of non-compete clauses! I previously worked in NY and didn’t see these either, though I had a friend who worked on advertising technology who said there was some sort of non-compete involved

  4. Job hopping for the win!!
    My first job started at $60K. Two years later, after six months of being told I was close to being promoted, I was, moving up to $69K. Sneaky me, I had been interviewing for jobs when my promotion got delayed, so I ended up immediately leaving for a position offering $75K. When I was hired, I was told I could negotiate to $80K after six months, which would’ve made me ecstatic. Lo and behold, six months passed and nothing happened. Due to some shakeups when I hit the one-year mark, AND the fact that I had another job offer in hand, I negotiated from $75K to $90K which is where I’m at now. Although I’m still at my second job, that’s a 50% growth in 3 years, so I can’t complain. I’m sticking it out at my current job until I have the experience to jump even higher position at another company (as opposed to horizontally). Fear not, “sticking it out” is definitely under 2 years for me.
    While I believe in job hopping fully, I feel that I’ve been doing more of a hybrid approach in reality, kind of like Des.

    1. This is exactly the attitude that people need to develop about their employers. I often hear people say “I can’t leave this job, they promoted me last month!” in the same way they would say “I can’t break up with my girlfriend, her mom just died!” Silly humans and our desire to anthropomorphize everything. A business is not a person, you cannot hurt its feelings.

  5. Job loyalist and it’s worked out for me, though I well may be the exception rather than the rule. I started at 70k/year salary at my company and am now at 150k/year five years later. My total compensation with bonuses has increased at roughly the same rate. In that period I have been promoted three times. I’ve heard similar numbers from my co-workers, some of whom I am friendly enough to share salary information with.

  6. Right out of college my first job paid me $32k and while that was really low for Washington DC, they reimbursed all their employees 97% for tuition so I appreciated the basically free Master’s Degree 🙂

    My 2nd job at a nonprofit bumped me up to $55k and I’ve been here for about 4 years and currently at $66k. Since I’ve been here, my salary hasn’t raised gone up tremendously, but the benefits are great (healthcare paid for 100% including your family, 4 weeks vacation on top of federal holidays and 12 sick days a year, comp time, professional development through training etc.).

    However, since I started reading this blog I have asked for a raise and waiting to hear back and I’ve started to look for other opportunities to see what is out there. I sometimes find myself struggling with the fact that I work in the nonprofit world and it’s not as easy to get larger raises in comparison to the private sector.

    1. Oooh! A perk that good is definitely worth considering a temporary trade-off on salary.

      WE ARE SO THRILLED THAT YOU ASKED FOR A RAISE!! Please let us know how it goes!

  7. Howdy! Here’s my history since college (in per hour wages):

    May 2008 – graduated college
    Oct 2008 – 1st real job! $22 per hour, no real benefits (Health insurance? Lol, no.)
    Nov 2008 – Oops, market crash lay-off (but was able to stay through January)
    May 2009 – Terrible minimum wage job selling fruit at farmers’ markets (plus “commission”)
    July 2009 – 2nd real job! $17.50 per hour, but actual benefits this time. First health coverage since college!
    Oct 2012 – Switched to new job. Jump from $19/hr to $25/hr (but lost health insurance again)
    March 2013 – Quit! Started sabbatical, living on cash savings.
    (interim: misc part time work; began learning violinmaking, no joke)
    April 2014 – Actual job again. Contract worker, no benefits, $32 per hour (Ignorantly low.)
    May 2015 – Hired as an employee. Kept hourly wage, added benefits.
    Today – Still here, $34/hr. I get health, dental, vision, and some PTO.
    Very near future – About to embark on a freelance editing and architectural photography career! I’m very excited but also nervous as hell. I’m currently scraping up as much money as I can for a cash cushion before I head off into the wild blue yonder.

    1. GIRL I feel you on those 2008-2010 dark times. Graduating during a recession leads to an average lifetime earnings hit of 9%. Hopping seems like the best way to recoup those lost funds. Good for you for leaping forward!!

  8. God I wish I still had all that data!

    I did the technical interview for my last job. Generally when interviewing for programmers it is looked down on for job jumping so much. I feel like 3 years is long enough to be acceptable. (I usually do that long before going somewhere else.) But I for sure don’t believe in loyalty. Companies have ZERO loyalty to their employees.

    I haven’t gotten much of raises jumping. It usually jumps a lot on the second pay increase (7% or so)

    1. Totally agree on how job hopping can come across negatively when job searching. Companies don’t love investing in someone whose resume announces their intention to stay for only a year. I left my last position after 8 months…it wasn’t a problem getting a new position because I had a contact inside the company to vouch for me, but I feel I have to stick it out closer to 3 years to make up for it regardless. The retention bonus will make that much easier.

  9. Converted job hopper here! My first job out of grad school I made $64K, got a raise to $67.5K a year later, but hated it so much (the work, the people, EVERYTHING) that I accepted a contract position in a different but related field for $55K. I don’t regret the decision to switch careers, but I wish I had negotiated harder so that I didn’t have to take such a massive pay cut. I was converted to FTE 1.5 years later and received a raise to $62K. In the two years that followed I received various smaller raises to $65K and when I left was at $69K. During those last two years I was continually promised a promotion that never came and which finally made me look elsewhere.

    Now I’m in a position that I love making $85,000 with amazing benefits and good growth potential. But even still, I’ll definitely be out within the next three years. I’m not going to make the same mistake twice!

    1. LOVE THIS ATTITUDE, ALLE. A lot of people fall into a trap of thinking delayed promotions and broken promises are a problem at just their current employer–and that if they change once, they’ll be good. It’s really something that you should anticipate everywhere. I have a good friend who was burned waiting on a promotion that would never come. She applied for a new job at a senior level that promised a promotion into a VP role when the VP retired the following year. She made them stipulate the terms she had to meet to get that promotion, in writing, directly into her contract. Gotta learn that lesson!

  10. Job hopping is for me a smarter choice if it’s all about the money but sometimes it’s not. It’s about work culture, distance, future of the company etc. So it’s best to not set up camp but do a hybrid of both. It looks really bad if you hopped every year because when that market sours, it might hurt. Otherwise no I feel for those talented people who are there after 7 years but are too afraid to jump.

    1. Totally agree. I’m currently the sole earner in my household while my hubz makes a career change, so it’s 100% money-money-money right now. Once he’s gainfully employed, I’ll have the luxury of considering softer factors like commute and culture, but none of those things can be so bad that they’re ruining your life. A poisonous culture or torturous commute can seriously wreak havoc on your soul.

  11. I work in the nonprofit sector and have been at my current job for nearly 5 years. I started out at $41k, bumped to $50k then $59k, and just got bumped again to $72k. While I’m grateful for the promotions and raises, I am making less than I would be elsewhere for the work that I do, and I’m making less than my predecessors (the last of whom made ~$85k). I also spent more than a year making $59k for the same work I’m currently getting paid $72k to do. I’ve needed to keep my position because my employer is flexible and I’ve relied on that flexibility as I’ve dealt with family crises, but if it weren’t for that, I’d absolutely be outta there. It SUCKS not getting paid what you’re worth just because HR knows your salary history in detail.

    1. Great point, Liz. Nonprofits often have lower pay scales than corporate jobs, and also expect longer hours and greater emotional commitments. The trade off is, ideally, getting to feel like you’re making positive impacts in your community.

      It’s great that at least you KNOW you’re being underpaid! I once worked very closely with someone who I considered a mentor. She knew that I made far less than I should, but she never said a word about it to me. I was devastated when I found out. Friends don’t let friends work for peanuts!

  12. Ok, here is the dissenting opinion. I worked at one company for over thirty years. My compensation went from the highest starting offer in my graduating engineering class to 24x over that time. My job went from summer intern to VP and GM. I had an eight minute commute and some of the lowest costs of living in this country. I walked away from the job when it stopped being fun with way more than I’ll ever spend and now do entertaining and lucrative side gigs and volunteer work. My wife chose to retire very early in her thirties. Our three millennial kids are highly educated and in great jobs with no student debt. I maybe could have made even more if I had moved around but I have excess funds, so who cares? I spent my career with my best friends. The network I built sustains my side gigs and my volunteerism. I have no regrets about being Mr. one job. …. But, unless you are the guy who is destined to run the company, like I was, I agree you’ll have to move around. I advised many of my friends and coworkers who were stuck behind me of that and watched them soar at other companies. So I guess I do agree even if I took the other path.

    1. This whole story is completely incredible to me! Thank you for contributing such a valuable dissent!

      I feel like the key here might be coming in with the right tone set for yourself. Early in my career, I felt very overlooked by my leadership. But the last two jobs I’ve had, I got partially based on the referrals of existing employees. Both times, those “ins” trumpeted my greatness up and down the hallways, and really sold me as a rockstar employee before I even arrived.

      The difference was palpable. I got invites for exclusive networking events, multiple offers for high-level mentors, and much more visibility throughout the org. The way you described coming in with a high offer to me means you were viewed as valuable and successful from the start. I definitely want to internalize that lesson and learn how to do for myself what those referrers did for me.

      1. That is an astute observation. Your brand at a company is everything and it is painfully hard to change early impressions even if they are unfair and inaccurate. I was judged to be the fair haired Teflon hope of the future. I was good, but I won largely because I read people well and built alliances that were much stronger than my competitors. Anyway you can’t over value the political side of work. Some think that part is sketchy but I saw it as part of the game.

      2. I’m coming to this conversation late (just found you! you’re awesome!), and I have to agree with Steveark.

        For context, I work in a very niche area of sales where the top earners can earn millions a year. The challenge is getting in the door with the right people and getting trained by a superstar. Otherwise you’re just another grunt.

        I spent the first 5 years in this field taking whatever job I could find and eating a lot of shit. I got my current job, stayed for a year, thought about leaving, and then got reassigned to one of those legendary superstars. I only found out he was a big deal when I started interviewing elsewhere and hiring managers at other companies would literally respond, “YOU WORK WITH BOB??” It was like saying I worked for one of the Beatles.

        Could I get paid more elsewhere right now? Maybe. I could probably get another $20K base pay right now if I jumped. But I looked at people who are five years ahead of me who took similar jobs, and forward movement for them is still slow. Some are earning $100K per year, which isn’t bad but it’s not exemplary, and they still have minimal negotiating power with a boss and are slaves to a crazy work calendar.

        Then I looked at people who were formerly apprenticed to “Bob” (my new boss). These people are multi-millionaires. They run their own companies. They could be retired right now if they wanted to. They hobnob with powerful people. They work on the most interesting projects with the companies of their choice.

        So, I decided to stay with Bob.

        I’m not earning a ton of money yet, but the training I’ve already received from him has been phenomenal. I can’t think of anywhere else in the industry where I’d get this kind of attention and apprenticeship. Bob told me on my first day that he’d like to see me in an executive role and creating jobs. Key words: “If your dream is to become a more senior [MY JOB ROLE], you are thinking way too small. You should be thinking about owning companies one day.”

        So, I agree with Steveark. I think job hopping makes sense for most people, especially women. But if you’re in the rare position where you’re being groomed to run a company, AND your mentor has a track record of keeping their promises and rewarding loyal apprentices, then yeah, you probably want to stay. These situations are rare but if you find yourself in one, it can change your life.

  13. OK so first off, so awesome to be mentioned in this. Second, I really always considered myself loyal and would find a great job that I stayed in forever and was promoted. Then life promptly kicked me in the groin and laughed in my face.

    Out of college I had the opportunity to own my own bar. I was taking home very little $24k ish to turn around the failing business. Two years later I was still taking in the same but put it for sale because I was getting married and came out with a good profit.

    After that I used my finance degree and got an entry level financial advisor position. After licensing I was making 35K base with a lot of bonus incentive. Turns out I was in a shit position and didn’t know anyone with money so I went to another advisor shop.

    Made a base of 45k that also had bonuses. That job became a dead end very quickly. The only promotions would be move 1000 miles to home office or take a manager position in my branch. My branch manager was going nowhere. I was #6 in the company in assets brought in with not much else to show for than a good job. Off to look for another job at that point instead of working hard for a 2% raise every year.

    My current role is an office job paying 65k. I enjoy the work much more and the paychecks are nice. There are plenty of options to move up in the company and I will be vocal about them when I feel I can bring something to the table. I have been in my current role for 7 months, but at least I enjoy it and there is opportunities that can be had.

    Well that is a brief summary of my career changes. All have been worth it and meant big changes to our budgets. Sure you can cut out $5 of coffee a day and feel like you are making a difference. Or you can take your career in your own hands and greatly increase your earnings! Awesome post and thanks for letting me be a small part of it!

    1. Love this! I have also been in the position of seeing that the only possible role was already occupied by someone who had zero intention of going anywhere. It feels like walking on a crowded sidewalk behind someone walking verrry, verrrrrrry slowly. Sometimes the easiest way to get around them is to cross the damn street.

      I’m fascinated by the idea of owning a bar… My partner and I have talked about opening a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant sometime in a distant future where we’re both ready to retire.

  14. Oh man, I think I’ll have to write a separate post about this — really interesting topic. 😀

    For now, (1) You’re awesome, and job hopping has served you well (2) Here’s where I’m coming from:
    2011: 67k
    2017: 100k

    I made a major switch within the company several years in, and my salary has been climbing faster recently because of that (10% promotion bump, followed by 3% bump later that same year, then two 5% bumps the following year). Benefits are great, I rarely ever work more than 40 hours a week, I’ve been able to learn quite a lot (including getting a Master’s degree fully funded), and my coworkers are great.

    This doesn’t mean I haven’t looked around, or that I’m unaware of market rates, however. I’m more of an accidental loyalist than a loyalist on principle.

    I’ve had several interviews over the years, as has my supervisor, actually. My boss highly recommends always having your options open, as he does, but the gig at work has just been better. Quite a few people leave my company (usually for startups) and come back some years later (overall retention is high, I just work at a large company). HR tells us that the promotion and salary rates for returning job hoppers are the same as the loyalists, but I haven’t actually crunched the numbers myself.

    Realistically, I could likely get paid 10k-20k more elsewhere, maybe up to 30k at the max. It’s highly unlikely I’d still only have to work 40 hours a week, though, and the benefits would *likely* be worse, so the hourly rate would not be *that* huge of a difference. Additionally, my skillset is slightly odd at this point; it would take more effort for me to find a new job than someone with a more normal career history, especially considering I’d really rather not have a long commute, etc.

    Completely dismissing the idea of staying at the same company for more than X years *can be* as short sighted as never considering job hopping. Being a loyalist is serving me well, as I’ve got a pretty solid in-company network at this point, and I could likely work in more of a part-time advisory capacity on an as-needed basis when we reach financial independence for a little more cushion (which is fingers-crossed coming up in a few years, anyway ^_^).

    1. Awesome comment!! Love these details so much. You know, I probably need to fess up that my biggest jump (from 47K to 80K) was into a company with THE WORST culture I’ve ever encountered. I had no way of knowing about it because their Glass Door reviews were all enthusiastic 4-5 stars. Spoiler alert, it’s because managers were forcing employees to leave fake glowing reviews to aid recruitment. THAT is a horrifying saga for another post!

      But I say this because, sometimes companies that offer sky-high salaries are doing so because they’ve driven off tons of talent in the past. Companies with a great culture + work-life balance can generally get away with offering less because the people who work there like it enough to stay. And there’s certainly something to be said for that!

  15. The question I have to ask is whether job hopping and company hopping are the same thing. I’ve worked for my current employer for a decade this July. In that time my salary has doubled from a not low position to start. But, my job today has nothing in common with my job a decade ago. I have jumped departments and even technically careers within the same company. I do believe company hopping is an easier path to pay raises, but, hopping around divisions in a large company can also be lucrative.

    1. Great point! I would consider it job hopping if you move around internally, especially onto new teams you didn’t work with in the past. I currently work for a Fortune 500 with over one hundred thousand employees, it’s very easy to move around internally and have each experience feel brand new.

  16. 2010: graduated
    2010: scrambled to put together multiple part-time jobs, made just about $20k
    2011: $10/hr full-time (basically no benefits for the 1st year)
    2012: Lateral job-jump to $13/hr
    2014: Promoted to management, $45k salary+ bonuses (but since I was no longer hourly, I became the OT-preventer…I basically worked non-stop, holidays, nights, weekends…brutal)
    2014: Major job/industry change: $40k (free healthcare, very short commute, lovely work environment, early summer Fridays…lots of non-money benefits!)
    2015: Promotion & raise to $45k
    2016: Cost of living/5% up to $47,500
    2017: Actively looking, working on punching up my resume (and self-confidence) while figuring out how to balance making more while not losing too many of my current excellent benefits–I don’t want to accidentally jump back into a miserable situation.

    1. Sounds like the spot you’re in right now has some pretty rad intangible benefits… Even if you know on paper that they’re no longer “worth it” compared to another role that offers you a large pay bump, they’re still so hard to walk away from! Especially if you know the pains of a truly lousy workplace.

  17. I’ll put in a plug for both career loyalty and the military!

    Now, we move around a lot and the housing allowance part of our paycheck is affected by that. Just FYI. I’m going to list the amount I would have made if I’d been the same rank and in the same location the whole year. Keep in mind we don’t pay taxes on portions of our income, so the numbers are worth more than they seem too. Also, I feel it’s worth mentioning since civilians aren’t likely to know this: I’m single-no-dependents. If I was married to a civilian and/or had children, I’d be paid an additional amount to support them. Yes, you earn more in the military just for having a family.

    2004: $37,927
    2005: $39,007
    2006: $52,147 (promotion)
    2007: $59,065
    2008: $70,180 (promotion)
    2009: $74,075
    2010: $78,733
    2011: $62,265 (deployed, so 100% tax free and housing & food paid for)
    2012: $84,509
    2013: $85,923
    2014: $98,416 (promotion)
    2015: $98,789
    2016: $120,097 (moved to a high Cost-of-Living area)
    2017: $122,243

    Add to all of that a host of benefits like cheap shopping at the commissary (groceries) and BX (mall), more college degrees than any person will ever need that are 100% paid for, free healthcare and dental, a damn strong sense of pride in what I do, and the opportunity for one of the most kickass pensions that exists, and I think staying loyal to the military for a career (20 years or more) is a damn good idea financially.

    1. What branch are you in? My parents were both Army, and I can confirm that the financial perks were SWEET. They’re retired now but they still shop at the commissary and the BX at the nearest Air Force base just because the prices are so good. Their college educations were paid for, and they saved enough by living in military housing for many years that when they got out of the Army they could put a significant down payment on a nice house in a rural area.

      I wish I’d found your blog sooner! Military finances are a whole ‘nother ball game.

      1. Oh wow, say thanks to your parents!

        I’m in the Air Force. And yes, military finances can be a bit special. That’s why I started the blog, haha! But you couldn’t have found it too much earlier, it’s pretty new! Still figuring out this whole blogging thing.

  18. Let’s see. I started at a truly shitty $18k/yr, increased to $24k or whatever I could make on commission a year later. Then I got an unsolicited job offer with another place for about $50k, plus benefits, so it was a no brainer (though my boss was pissed and called me a jerk). Shortly after starting, a new contract was signed and my salary went up to around $70k plus some enhanced benefits. I’ve had regular increases since then and am around $135k now. Expecting another increase soon.

    The pay increases have come with more responsibilities and greater autonomy, which I enjoy.

    For reference, I’m Canadian and work in a professional field with the provincial government.

    And that boss who called me a jerk? I’m his best resource person due to my particular area of expertise.

    1. HAHAHAHAHA!! There is nooooothing Bitches love more than gaining leverage over a shitty old boss. It’s like a PG revenge fantasy.

  19. Hop hop hopper! I don’t really understand the concept of promotions and moving up within a company, ha, but my background is in publishing and digital/marketing where organisations are generally pretty flat. Theoretically I can see how this might be feasible in a MegaCorp?

    I had 4 jobs in …. 5 years, and would not be where I am today otherwise.

    1. No, that’s how it is for me too and I’ve worked in two Fortune 1000s. Some companies, large or small, just don’t have a culture of promoting internally. That’s mostly what I’ve encountered, though there are some comments on here giving me hope that there ARE some good eggs out there.

  20. While I definitely see the benefit of job hopping (my salaried work has gone from, in AUD, $51.2K (paralegal) > $58K (paralegal/admin support) > $67K (legal grad) > $72K (junior lawyer) since 2014), I have no intention of leaving my current employer, possibly for years, because:

    1. It’s a government legal department with a monopoly on a particular area of law that I love;
    2. Good internal promotion opportunities within the next 2-3 years especially;
    3. Good pay at the moment for a junior (AUD, $72K) with the probability of a jump to ~$99K within 2 years;
    4. Great culture that fits my personality; and
    5. I’m gonna need a sure thing in the near future re: maternity leave.

    1. That sounds like a pretty sweet set-up. And from what I’ve heard from friends who are working mothers, establishing strong roles and relationships makes maternity leave a much smoother experience.

  21. Job hopper here..

    Internship 2012 – unpaid
    Library 2013 -13.86/hr
    First contracting job 2013 – 48000/yr
    Second contracting job 2014-2015 (same company) – 52000/yr I was offered a job and threatened to leave so they offered me 56000/yr
    Third contracting job 2016 – 75000/yr unasked for raise to 83000/yr

    Just got offered a job through an old manager at a different company for 95000/yr… Trying to decide if I should take it cause my boss is awesome it’s closer to home I love the mission and my husband works right next door.. Advice?

    1. I mean my current job is closer to home and the rest of shit I said… Just realized that’s confusing.. after reading all these other posts you two are my soulmates… Glad to know someone gets me. Never thought someone of average intelligence such as myself could make so much money but it’s all about 1. Working hard and not being an asshole and 2. Job hopping!

      1. Bitches welcome you, Ronnie! We’re so glad you’re vining on our shit. Comments like yours make our days!

        It sounds like you have a pretty great gig with your current employer in terms of location and other intangible benefits. If I were you, I’d take the new offer to the current job. Tell them it was an offer that fell into your lap, and you’re sorely tempted by the money. Even if they can’t fully match the $95K, they might at least be able to meet you halfway, and it’s a win-win for everyone.

  22. I’m a firm advocate of both. Job 1: I negotiated a 70% raise and one other promotion. I jumped to Job 2: for a 10% raise (but moved to a HCOLA) and then within a year negotiated my 15% raise and another 15% raise plus a huge promotion the next year. I had another raise evaluation coming months after that but instead jumped to Job offer 3 for another 15% raise and promotion which I negotiated up to a 20% raise.

    All of this was awesome but it also had a serious cost to my health.

    I’ve been holding steady at the latest job for a while because the freedom of this job is unprecedented and I have nearly every perk of being the boss without any of the hassle of running my own business. The money will come when and if I choose to change my circumstances but it would almost certainly mean having to take on specific tasks that I hate and a ton more travel.

    At the start of my career that wouldn’t matter but I’ve had a debilitating illness this whole time and sacrificed my health enough – it’s time to make the money AND enjoy my life, not just make more and more money without regard for life or limb.

    That said, I nearly quadrupled my income by doing both hopping and negotiating in a notoriously pennypinching industry so I am in Camp Do What It Takes.

    1. SO PROUD OF YOU. Get that money, baby!

      Both Piggy and I know what it’s like to reach a physical breaking point with stress. It’s no joke. Ultimately, life is for the living, and no matter how much money you make, you have to be in a position to enjoy the security and freedom it brings. If working for slightly less means you physically feel better, that’s absolutely the right choice to make!

  23. I’m with @FelicityFFF – my reply deserves (and will eventually get) a full post, but here’s where I’m at: The best growth is going to come from finding a career that you have a huge passion for, kicking ASS, and regularly calibrating yourself against the external environment. I’m going to skip requirements one and two for the moment…what I mean by “calibrating yourself” is to ensure that you don’t go more than 2 years without a serious external exploration that allows you to either (1) job hop OR (2) go back to current employer with leverage for more responsibility and pay.

    I’ve been at my current employer for over twelve years. Here is my salary history – to make it easy, I am not showing bonus or other forms of comp. My salary has increased over $152k and grown 407% from my first entry-level job. You can see the big increases where I got promotions or negotiated bigger bumps (large percentage change), and you can also see how critical those first few years of my career were, when I was gunning for a management role (March 2006 promotion) very early.

    I share these numbers because I find it *fascinating* to see salary changes, and also because its incredibly important for women, particularly to talk about money and ask for more when they’ve earned it.

    Date Salary % Change
    May-03 $37,500 n/a
    Dec-03 $47,500 26.7%
    Mar-05 $63,500 33.7%
    Mar-06 $90,000 41.7%
    Feb-07 $95,000 5.6%
    Apr-07 $99,300 4.5%
    Jul-07 $104,300 5.0%
    Apr-08 $115,000 10.3%
    Apr-09 $118,000 2.6%
    Apr-10 $120,360 2.0%
    Jun-10 $130,230 8.2%
    Apr-11 $135,439 4.0%
    Oct-11 $150,000 10.8%
    Apr-12 $153,750 2.5%
    Apr-13 $159,900 4.0%
    Apr-14 $164,700 3.0%
    Apr-15 $171,360 4.0%
    Apr-16 $174,790 2.0%
    Apr-17 $190,125 8.8%

    1. “I share these numbers because I find it *fascinating* to see salary changes, and also because its incredibly important for women, particularly to talk about money and ask for more when they’ve earned it.”

      ^ THIS ^ THIS ^ THIS ^ THIS ^ THIS.

      Thank you so much for contributing. Very much looking forward to a full post on it! And I loooooove (and spire to) these numbers…

    2. I’m with you here, FF, validating externally and then decide if to leave or not. I just never gotten a more fulfilling or better paid job offered and even if I would think hard about team/ boss/ is it worth it. I started at AUD90,000 and brought this up to just over SGD330,000 (at ten percent income tax ;-)). But I left 12 years later from my employer on a package worth just over an annual salary. Plus I can always go back to my employers/ career if I choose since my network is still very strong.

  24. Job hopping ftw! In the first three years of my career (where I’m at now), I hopped my way to job #4. I don’t think HR would be happy with me sharing numbers, but I was able to double my salary in three years. Unfortunately, it seems like there’s a pretty low cap on raises so I’ll need to find a way to grow into another role!

  25. I stayed with one company for 7 years and now have 4 years with my current employer. My income at both increased substantially but I actually took a pay cut to switch companies (because I also switched functions and now have a lot more upside potential). I could see myself staying at my current employer for a while. Raises and bonus are generous and perks are hard to give up, get better with seniority, and aren’t offered by other employers.

    Here’s my gross income by year:
    06 – 30k
    07 – 55k (lots of OT)
    08 – 70k (included relocation cash bonus)
    09 – 57k
    10 – 71k
    11 – 85k
    12 – 162k
    13 – 145k (switched companies mid year)
    14 – 99k
    15 – 115k
    16 – 135k
    17 – 150k anticipated

    1. YAY!! I’d hoped some people would contribute histories with pay cuts! I’ve never taken one myself, because so far my career path has been pretty straightforward. But I’m reaching the ceiling on my first career track, so it’s a strong possibility for my future.

  26. I’m a little bit of both!

    Job 1: 33k –>38k–>43k–>48k (they kept promoting me without my asking)
    Job 2: 43k
    Job 3: 54k (contract. Offered me 70k for full-time, but I said no)
    Job 4: 63k–>73k (promoted)
    Job 5: 80k–>83k

    I don’t disclose my current salary, though 🙂

    1. “Offered me 70k for full-time, but I said no.”

      ^ Yo let’s be real. Sometimes, when I’ve had a bad day, I put on a red lip, toss my hair around in front of the mirror, and whisper “they offered me 70K for full-time, but I said no” to my reflection.

  27. I’ll be honest, I haven’t read all the comments yet but I am feeling a little anxious about my own situation. In my field (animation) everything is contracted, not salaried, so job hopping is more like… Going unemployed and hoping you land a gig in a province that pays more (as the industry is not unionized everyone pays the bare minimum of ‘industry standards’, any raises are likely to be negated by increased cost of living)

    However, I can’t be too negative because it is likely I’ll pick up more skills which each job and hopefully be qualified for positions higher than my own, maybe even permanent! (And oh boy is it anxiety-inducing to consider “job hopping” after landing an extremely rare permanent position… ) I’m jealous of everyone commenting here where that’s the norm and it’s like… A sport. Lol.

    The fluidity is very very good though and I have a lot of opportunities to switch things up instead of forcing myself to leave a place, which is grand. And a lot of resources available to bump up skill level which will allow for better opportunities & self employment.

    Also, I’m only two years out of school+in the one company the whole time (with breaks in employment) so a lot of this perception could be naivety. Hopefully good things to come!!!!

  28. This is so. valuable. I stumbled upon this site today and can’t believe I’ve found a community of women talking candidly about money. Phenomenal! Thank you for providing this forum.

    I’m a product designer in San Francisco, and definitely a hopper. Negotiating, luck, and job-hopping have served me so well… I’ve bought a home in one of the most expensive places in the world, and I’m gunning for financial independence in my mid 30s. As someone who comes from a small town, blue collar upbringing, writing out my salary trajectory actually gives me goosebumps:

    2009 10/h – internship at a small agency
    2010 55k – tiny agency
    2010-11 65k > 75k – small agency
    2011-12 95k > 105k – big company #1
    2013-15 130k > 143k > 147k >152k – big company #2
    2016 180k – mid-size startup
    2017 190k – big company #3

    In 2016, though my salary was higher, it was technically a pay cut when you factored in bonuses and RSUs (stock that I immediately liquidated and invested).

    I’m currently at a really good company that pays me very well (total comp including bonus and stock is 286k), but I’m actually less happy and challenged on my particular team. So I’m considering another move to either a different team at the same company, or to a different company. I sometimes worry that this is TOO much hopping and will bite me later. I’d like to find a place I want to stick around for a while.

  29. Super damn late to the party but whatever. I’m a job hopper.

    Job 1 out of school 52k
    Raises to 57k then 65k
    Switched roles same company stayed at 65k then raises to 70 then 73 when I left.

    New company started and ended at 95 was there for just under a year

    Now making 110

    Want to work my way up to 140. That’s my ideal minimum amount but gotta switch companies for that to happen.

  30. Job hopper here!!

    #1 2010 – one year 32k
    #2 2012 – one year 38k
    #3 2013 – two years 48k
    #4 2015 – two years 92k
    #5 2017 – current 80k

    All with more job responsibility, time off and money!

  31. I came across this old post…I’m a career loyalist

    Year 1: $34,000, $2,000 Bonus..
    Year 16: $185,000 Salary, $44,000 Bonus, $92,000 Restricted Stock Award.

    You can dock $25k off of the restricted stock for appreciation if you want for the appreciation during the four year holding period, but still increased my pay over eight-fold staying with the same company.

    Disclaimer: I job hopped inside the company and moved geographically when they needed a “fix it” person

  32. Job stayer here! I’ve been at my current company for 7.5 total. One area that could make a difference to staying: having significant stock/options. Not a small, token amount, but a life changing amount should things go well. I’ve been fortunate to be in that position (startup I worked for was acquired, then that company went public). I don’t think that’s something that you can plan for, but if you’re at a company with significant ownership there’s additional reason to stay if theres growth!

    I have turned down DOUBLE my salary before, but partly because of that ownership (also because moving kinda sucks and cost of living is a serious thing – double salary doesn’t mean double extra income). Switching jobs could have led to more salary for me, but staying led to more money overall.

  33. OK – Here is my data, but it is a combo of jumps and staying. I will start with post college, because before I had a degree, I was only worth $9/hr:

    1st job, 2070-2010: starting $45K, ending at $57K
    2nd job, 2010: starting $73K, promoted to $85K within 1.5 yrs, then was being pursued by competitor and bumped up to $100K, then promoted to $117 which grew to $138K plus took over a project so it is now $151K.

    Currently, I’m considering a jump to a job that pays $190K, but with the long commute (2 hr ea way) and way that taxes eat up pay, it may not be worth it. I’ve decided to take the extra commute time to build a side business in sales and investing.

    If I had stayed at my 1st job, I would be capped at under $80K unless I got a promotion. Even the top dogs don’t earn what I earn now though. Plus, I hated it. I like my current job and have gotten to hire people around me that I like to work with. So just stop job hopping when you find a place that makes you happy and pays well.

  34. I can’t begin to tell you how unbelievably frustrated I am with the whole hop or stay decision, right now. I have been riding this fence for so long there are splinters in my ass. I saved the “Santa isn’t coming and neither is your promotion” blog, printed it off and put it on my mirror, my facebook and my Linkedin. It lit a fire under my ass to get moving. Unfortunately, all that did is set my splinters on fire and my ass is more sore than it was in the first place.
    I started my first big girl job at a low rate because I didn’t know how to negotiate and was desperate for a job. They actually gave me a raise every 6 months for 4 years because, in their words, “We feel you are worth a lot more, so we are going to bring you up as quickly as we can.” That was an awesome feeling, but a problematic (read nasty and vindictive) co-worker and direct boss made my life too unpleasant to stay after 4 years. I jumped ship without a bump in pay. The 2nd company said they would have to start me below market rate and see how I did for 6 months before they could review my performance. They said I could look forward to a more significant raise after that initial review. Lo and behold, 6 months passed by and HR blew off the review and raise. I got nothing. After the first 12 months here, I had a stellar review along with a not-so-stellar 2.5% raise. Let me add that in the entire time I have been working at company number two, I have a really amazing boss and coworkers. Like really amazing. (No, REALLY!) My boss comes in often with Starbucks for me, buys me lunch occasionally, and tells me all the time how much he appreciates everything I do. He’s patient. He’s funny. He lets me work whatever schedule I want to work and is completely flexible if I need time off for something. My coworkers are all wonderful to work with, pleasant, helpful, kind. The work itself is fascinating and I actually love doing it. I no longer dread Mondays. The office is comfortable and close to home. The place is a fucking rainbow of delight. . .EXCEPT for the fact that the head of HR is a goddamned bridge-guarding, gold-hoarding troll. She seems to take joy in squashing everyone’s dreams and withholding raises. The staff hates her. People who leave cite her as the major reason and, somehow, the company has not figured it out yet. She continues to carry on with her reign of oppression.
    So after reading the fabulous blog, “Santa Isn’t Coming & Neither Is Your Promotion,” I put together a packet for our HR rep with salary reports for a person with my skills and experience level. I got the reports from Glassdoor, Payscale, and Robert Half (a recruiting firm). I also found and printed a job posting which showed that a person with HALF of my experience could expect to start at a salary $20k higher than what I am currently making. So I delivered this packet to my HR rep and copied my boss with a letter requesting a formal equity review. The HR rep called me downstairs for my review to inform me that the numbers on “those sites” are all made up and manipulated by employees and do not represent the real market rate. She also claimed my skills, experience, and education were all taken into account when I was hired and I am getting exactly what I am worth. My review from my boss was (as expected) stellar and he even requested in writing in the review that HR should do everything they can to reward me appropriately for my outstanding contribution and performance, saying that I am a genuine asset. HR “rewarded” me with a 3% raise this year and sent me on my way.
    So of course I have been hitting the sidewalk, applying at other companies. The pay is definitely up where I said it was, so I can look forward to a giant raise when I get where I am going; however, I am fucking furious. I LOVE my job. I LOVE my work. I LOVE my coworkers. and I LOVE my boss. I look forward to going to work every day. So it makes me incredibly angry that I have to leave to get my actual worth. My boss and coworkers are frantic because they suspect I am leaving, but they have no ability to help me get the pay I need to stay. The worst thing is, it isn’t that the company doesn’t give raises as a rule or has low pay for everyone. Raises do not seem to be tied to performance or experience at all. A girl who started last year with no prior experience just went in and asked for a raise and is now making more money than I make even though I have over seven years experience and a perfect 100% score on my reviews here. It’s positively painful. I have a really great coworker who is now stuck handling the work of two people because someone got sick of HR’s shit and left. HR just handed all of her work off to my coworker and she is now doing the workload of two people. She is amazing but she’s exhausted and fed up. We were commiserating over lunch and she said at least she got a 4% raise this year to make up for what HR called “the little bit of extra work” she is doing. Then we shared salary rates and realized that she is still making less than I am, even with her 4% raise, and even though she has been there 5 years longer than me, and even though she is doing the work of two people. It’s really sick.
    Too late to make a long rant short, but needless to say, I am just furious. I don’t want to leave this perfect job and at the same time, I have no choice. My sister said it’s a toxic/abusive relationship and the first time you may be a victim. If you stay you are a volunteer. So now I am on the hunt for another place where I can be as happy as I am here, but with the pay I deserve. 🙁 Thanks for the “Santa Isn’t Coming” blog. I needed it. You can bet I will be negotiating a much fatter starting salary for the next job.

    1. Yes! I’m rooting for you! Go for it girl! It’s not an amazing place to work if the pay is that low and unfair. There might be other GREAT jobs out there that also pays super well and guess what ? you can refer your current coworkers and get referral bonus and help them get pay raises by job hopping as well.

      I’m more of a career loyalist getting ready to job hop … but first looking to build some niche skills!

  35. I say job hop!!! I was able to increase my pay that way. And when you see a place that can’t hold on to employees, that is the time to strike like a Cobra. You ask for more money for impossible to fill positions and bank every dime. If you are fortunate enough to get great benefits, that is far better than just great pay alone because they tax the pay, but not the benefits.

    Great post Kitty!!!

    Yours truly,
    Your Friendly Neighborhood Greenbacks Magnet

  36. (I thought I already posted this feedback, but it didn’t show up so posting again)

    I just recently found you, but I love your takes! However, I have a couple issues with this post…

    The projection of your income from your first few jobs is a straight line, but salary increases compound and will not typically be a straight line. The % increase may decrease over time simply toward COS increases, but the line should nonetheless curve upward. Unlikely to reach your current income of 100k by the end of the period, but also not 50k.

    You included a rule that create bias in the responses in favor of your argument: “Base pay only. No bonuses, stock options, or any kind of if-then-maybe money.” Bonuses and stock options are the exact kind of factors that benefit a loyal employee. The longer you stay with an employer, the more of such benefits you may get and additionally the less you may have to work due to tenure-based PTO. Additionally, when you leave an employer after ~3 years, you often give up unvested 401(k) matches and other benefits (hard assets).

    I’ve worked at one and only one company since I graduated from college. My base salary is now just under 4x where I started, if I adhere to the rule to exclude bonuses and stock options. If I include those as you should for an apples-to-apples comparison, I’m now at 6x.

    I think the best way to compare job-hopping to loyalty is to measure accumulated wealth, not base salary.

    1. Thanks dude!
      Also, we moderate all comments before posting them. I just hadn’t gotten around to approving your previous comment yet. 🙂

    2. The reason I focused on base pay is that alternative forms of compensation often only have real value when a certain set of conditions are met. Those conditions can be quite narrow.

      Stock options are valuable only so long as the company is valuable. For example: when PG&E was thought to be responsible for a massive wildfire in California, its stock became Monopoly Money overnight. Its value has bounced around since that initial plummet, but it’s a good case study for how essential portfolio diversification is. Lots of start ups reel recent grads in with promises that their stock will one day make them millionaires. The reality is that 90% of startups fail, and of those that succeed, few are runaway successes. We call them “unicorns” because they’re vanishingly rare.

      Since you get a bonus yourself, you know that it’s taxed way more heavily than a normal salary. A bonus of $5,000 may translate to $3,000 in your pocket. $3K is still nice, but it’s a shock to a lot of young professionals. Also, many bonuses are contingent on company performance. I remember one bleak year where my company made an unwise acquisition, and there were no bonuses at all. (At least not for us little people.) This year my company had a great year, and I actually got 110% of my bonus—but in other years, I’ve gotten 70%, or 85%.

      Also, I don’t like long-term incentive 401K bonuses or other financial rewards contingent on remaining at the company. What happens when you get laid off, or you get sick, or you need to move to be closer to an aging parent, or take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity elsewhere? Even if you plan to stay at a company, life doesn’t always work that way.

      A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. All of these incentives look great on paper–and can be great, if they work out–but they’re not guaranteed. That’s why I don’t want to count them. It’s great that they’re working out for you, but I would never encourage a reader to build a financial plan that relies on that money consistently coming through.

      1. Hi–Bonuses are not taxed more heavily than your regular salary. Your income is totaled up at tax time and you are assessed on the total. Bonuses are not in different “categories” of income. They seem like they’re taxed more heavily when you receive them, because payroll software automatically assumes that the temporary bump in income is permanent, and withholds more to compensate.

        This is a really common misconception that needs to end. Absorbing this misinformation disincentivizes folks to chase higher bonuses. Similar to people who think that a raise in their base pay will “bump” them into a higher tax bracket and they’ll end up losing money overall. That’s not true either.

  37. Hi! Just stumbled upon your site and absolutely LOVE it! So refreshingly candid!
    At this risk of being the “last ant to the picnic”, below are my stats. I am a SKILLED job hopper; in my industry (commercial Insurance) it is the only way to move up if you are female. (Sadly, the industry is still VERY MUCH male dominated, and frequently feels like a “boys club”).
    NOTE: I’m older than the majority of your readers, so my stats go back 24 years. 🙂
    Job #1 – (1995 – 1998) – $20K starting; $25K ending
    Job #2 – (1998 – 2002) – $30K starting; $45K ending
    Job #3 – (2002 – 2004) – $51K starting; $52K ending
    Job #4 – (2004 – 2007) – $64K starting; $71K ending
    **Self Employed** – (2007 – 2009) – commission-based earnings – averaged about 45K annually.
    Job #5 – (2009 – 2016) – $55K starting; $91K ending
    Job #6 – (2016 – 2017) – $100K starting/ending
    Job #7 – (2017 – 2018) – $105K starting/ending
    **Sabbatical** (9 mos) – 2018 and 2019
    Job #8 – (2019 – Present) – $80K

  38. I see that people are still contributing to this, so I thought that I might as well. I haven’t been out of college long (2016 grad), but my job hopping has been really effective so far, and now that I’m making a more reasonable (read: livable) amount and at a company with regular raises, I’m planning on staying for something like 2-5 years to even it out a little.

    Job #1 – (Spring 2017-Spring 2018) – $26k
    Job #2 – (Spring 2018-Winter 2018) – $25k – Temp position
    Job #3 – (Winter 2018-Fall 2019) – $32k starting; $33k ending
    Job #4 – (Fall 2019 – Present) – $42k

    1. **Job #4 – (Fall 2019 – Present) – $42k starting; $47k promotion Jan 2021 🙂

      I had an opportunity from my manager from Job #2 in Dec 2020 — apparently she’s moved to a different Bureau (#2 and #3 were very low level state government work) and was hiring two positions I’d be a good fit for — the pay scale is similar to job #4, but I could probably make the case for them to start me in the middle of it (mid-50ks/low-60ks) and if I go back to state work it should be in the next couple years. I want to even out my work history a little more (do at Least 6 more months here, though I’d happily do another 2 years, especially if I continue to get 5-10% raises/promotions), and asked that she think of me next time. It’d be smaller raises/less promotions (likely), but better benefits, especially once I reach a cumulative 5 years.

  39. For some context, I work in software development, where job-hopping is trending to the norm and not the exception.

    I have worked at 5 different companies and 8 different positions since 2011. I averaged between 1-2 years per position, with the longest being 2.5 years. My salary has increased an average of 27% with each company change. The last jump – I was laid off, unemployed, and still negotiated my salary to the tune of a 31% and a 5K sign on bonus.

    Two of my peers – One has had a new contract every year, but hasn’t experienced the same salary increase. The other has had 3 jobs in 5 years, but her salary increases are minimal. – 10% average. She does try to negotiate, but she’s never willing to walk away if they don’t agree to a higher salary. She just accepts the ‘no’ and takes the first offer.

  40. So I’m way late to this party, but I’m a career loyalist – working for state government.

    Started in 2006 at $40K, “promoted” twice (one advancement from traineeship to full title, one actual promotion), will be making $90K or so at my next step increase. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. It really is the benefits that made the difference!

    1) Right now the single biggest factor to me: My son is transgender and will over the next several years be needing the related medical care. Our health insurance plan is very clear that it covers absolutely everything related to gender dysphoria and that NONE of it is to be considered “cosmetic” in nature.

    2) The health coverage in general is really good, and included mental health parity back in the bad old days before that was the law everywhere, and we had situations in my family where that was VERY necessary.

    3) Flexible scheduling including the ability to maintain full-time seniority for most purposes while working 75-90% of the standard schedule. When I went back to grad school for my MSW and had to figure out how the heck to work fieldwork around it, the solution was to go to an 80% schedule (30 hours/week instead of 37.5) and work three 10-hour days at my job so I could do my two-weekday field placement.

    4) My agency reimburses tuition for two college classes a year including at the graduate level, so that was helpful when I was working on the MSW. (It was also helpful when I did a certificate program at a community college that gives me more options for job transfer and got about 3/4 of it paid for.)

    5) PSLF, assuming it gets fixed. I’m hopeful though?

    6) To start you get 15 days of vacation (I now get 25!), 5 days of personal leave, two floating holidays plus the standard government holidays, and depending on bargaining unit between 8-13 sick days a year.

    7) Because of ALL of the above? My husband, who works in IT, can job-hop! We have my steady, benefit-covered situation as a baseline and it gives him a lot more flexibility.

  41. I may be somewhat neutral on this.

    One of my good friends (who I met in my first job out of college! this job was her second, though) and I have been an interesting case. I’m on my fourth job in six years, and she’s stayed at the company where we worked together. We’ve been neck-and-neck on salaries over the past two years.

    That said, I’ve hit a point where I’m planning on staying at my current company for a while, but she’s now looking to hop. We’ll see what happens!

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