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.
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!
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, 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.
- 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.