Guys, we Bitches can’t thank you enough for stepping up and volunteering your salary histories for our recent article on job hopping. If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out. And feel free to skip straight down to those juicy, delicious, nutritious comments.
We discovered some really interesting trends, and we’re going to break them down for you now!
Overall, commenters were big fans of a hybrid approach. Job hopping was universally endorsed as an essential move, regardless of career path, even by serial job monogamists. But occasionally stopping to rest once you’ve landed in a good position was also extremely popular.
Here are some of the factors that made people stay… and go.
Some jobs are just plain convenient. Take this entry from Ronnie:
Job hopper here...
Internship 2012 – unpaid
Library 2013 – $13.86/hr
First contracting job 2013 – $48,000/yr
Second contracting job 2014-2015 (same company) – $52,000/yr. I was offered a job and threatened to leave so they offered me $56,000/yr
Third contracting job 2016 – $75,000/yr. Unasked for raise to $83,000/yr
Just got offered a job through an old manager at a different company for $95,000/yr… Trying to decide if I should take it cause [at my current job] my boss is awesome, it’s closer to home, I love the mission, and my husband works right next door.
Factoring convenience into a job hopping decision
A raise of $12,000 should be a no-brainer. But look at all the things that are perfect about their current placement: great boss, strong sense of purpose, convenient location.
Convenience factors like a short commute and friendly coworkers aren’t about money or benefits. Rather, they’re about quality of life. Chances are reasonable that at least one of those factors would slip away in a new position.
If I were in Ronnie’s shoes, I’d flip the question. “Let’s pretend I work for $95,000/year, with a boss I like but don’t love, at a company whose mission isn’t especially interesting to me, and I commute for half an hour each way, every day. Would I take a $13,000 pay cut to make my boss friendlier, my mission more inspiring, and my commute shorter?”
I would also strongly consider taking the competing offer to Awesome Current Boss and asking if they can match it. Or even just meet it halfway.
Money is money, but quality of life is a very wise factor to consider in your calculations!
Almost everyone agreed that job hopping is key to growing your salary. Yet many shared stories about sticking with an employer longer for hard-to-pass-up intangible benefits like a short commute, awesome coworkers, or tuition reimbursement.
For example, Harper writes:
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 second job at a nonprofit bumped me up to $55k. I’ve been here for about 4 years and am currently at $66k. Since I’ve been here, my salary hasn’t gone up tremendously, but the benefits are great. (Healthcare paid for 100% including your family, four weeks vacation on top of federal holidays, and twelve 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 am waiting to hear back. 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.
Factoring education into a job hopping decision
First of all, can I just say what a thrill it gives us to know that people are actually doing the things we advocate on this blog? Piggy and I spend our free time writing Bitches Get Riches because we want to warn other young people away from the things that made us fail, and toward the things that made us succeed. It truly makes my heart sing to hear that we’ve encouraged someone to ask for a raise!
As expensive as education has become, a job that reimburses such a large percentage of a higher education is a perk with tremendously high potential value.
Of course, this only applies if you actually utilize it. If one of Harper’s coworkers at the same job was also underpaid but wasn’t taking advantage of the education benefit, they’d be a fool to stay. But Harper made a super smart move that sounds like it’s paid off nicely. A master’s degree slightly decreases her odds of being unemployed. And it increases her potential salary in the future by an average of $10,000.
I’d love to see someone with a master’s degree making more than $66K even if they work at a nonprofit. Harper, your assignment is to get up to $95K within the next three years! You can do it! We believe in you.
Ellen brought up a great point my childfree-by-choice ass had completely overlooked.
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.
Factoring maternity leave into a job hopping decision
This is a fantastic point for future parents to consider.
But you know what? Employers are not allowed to be assholes about it. Because they’re not the ones GROWING A NEW HUMAN IN THEIR GUTS.
To quote FindLaw, a lovely free legal education site:
Unfortunately, women are often subject to certain forms of employment discrimination—even before being hired for a job. Despite warnings to the contrary, some employers ask inappropriate questions during the job interview process that border on illegality including questions about a female applicant’s family life, marital status, and child rearing plans. Employers often ask questions of this nature due to the assumption that female employees are not as committed to their work, or will be absent and less productive than their male counterparts. When these assumptions surface during the job interview and later in the hiring and firing process employers face the potential for violating laws aimed at preventing employment discrimination.
Even though asking these questions is illegal, I still know multiple women who’ve either been asked outright or felt indirectly prodded on the issue. So make sure you know your rights as you explore job opportunities. FindLaw’s site has a great list of legal versus illegal questions, and some of the illegal ones are pretty subtle, so I definitely recommend checking them out.
We Bitches are strongly pro-choice—and being pro-choice goes both ways. If it is your choice to KNIT TOGETHER THE FABRIC OF A LIVING BEING, no employer has a right to judge you, punish you, or try to dissuade you. Your body is yours to do with as you please. That’s a right businesses must bow before, however “inconvenient” it is for them in the short term.
If you know ahead of time that you’d like to become pregnant, lining up a stable position with generous maternity policies is an extremely shrewd move.
Here’s more of our thoughts on reproductive rights and advice about job interview questions:
- The Most Impactful Financial Decision I’ve Ever Made… and Why I Don’t Recommend It
- How To Get an Abortion
- On Pulling Weeds and Fighting Back: How (and Why) to Protect Abortion Rights
- 10 Questions You Should Never Be Asked in a Job Interview
- Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them with the Confidence of a Mediocre White Dude
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 I got a $45K salary bump 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.
If you have the good fortune to land a union job like Michelle—especially in an industry that isn’t widely unionized—definitely consider all the perks you may be leaving behind if you jump ship. Good komrades are hard to find!
Guys, I have a confession to make.
I’ve had a half-written article on the ethics of non-compete clauses sitting on my desktop for half a year now.
I haven’t been able to finish it because I keep getting anger headaches whenever I try to work on it. BUT I WILL WORK THROUGH THEM 4 U, because you should all be aware of the insane degree to which non-competition clauses screw workers over.
Listen to Jing’s story about working in an area with no such clauses. Doesn’t it sound heavenly? Folks changing jobs whenever their supple and capricious human hearts desire, scoring raises left-and-right…
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 that had been trending up in the last couple years. It cost $18k but my first full-time 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’ experiences seem 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 a year to 1.5 years though.
Before you boing-y boing-y over to your next position, go back through your hiring paperwork and make sure you didn’t sign a non-compete clause. Even if you did, it’s worth it to explore if it’s even enforceable in your state or your situation. Sandwich artists of the world, rest easy—not all of them are.
Cookie taste-tester is a real job
Even among career loyalists, the concept of job hopping was widely appealing. But Steve offers us this extremely interesting take.
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 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.
Factoring the perfect workplace into a job hopping decision
I have so many thoughts about this.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Steve has a few things going for him that a lot of our readers don’t. Specifically, he’s a male engineer likely in the same generation as mine and Piggy’s parents (to be fair, we don’t know that his kids aren’t in some kind of Doogie Howser situation). Those factors are important to consider as you frame this advice. Your milage may vary.
But what I really like about Steve’s comment is how much emotional maturity shines through. “I maybe could have made even more if I had moved around but… who cares… I spent my career with my best friends.”
This is something I can’t really say about my own career. I’m very good at what I do, but I’m not very passionate about my company or its mission. I’ve made friends with coworkers—great friends, even—but I often lose touch with them once I’ve hopped away.
Sometimes, you have to know a good thing when you see it. If you love what you do, and you love who you do it with, and your leaders believe in you, and you have “enough” money, stay put right exactly where you are. You’re a professional cookie taste-tester. Your job is the envy of all, and you should thank your lucky chocolate chips.
I’d like to end with an entry from Alle, who also has a great attitude about her job—though it’s the opposite of Steve’s in many ways.
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 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!
The point here is that so many people who commented were able to grow their salaries substantially during a job hop. The Doubled Your Salary in One Move Club has way more members than even I could’ve guessed.
I’m sure that many of them got a job that paid them much more than they were used to making, and mistook it for a ceiling.
Friends, if you’re going to jump, jump like there is no ceiling.
Consider the lilies in the job hopping field
Sometimes, even if you like the job, and it pays you well, and the commute is short, and your boss is swell, it’s still time to jump. Because you never know what’s out there. You never know what you will find unless you look. You never know what you will get if you don’t ask. And you’ll never know how much leverage you have until you start to push.
A huge thank-you again to everyone who’s contributed their personal info. Sharing salary information is still a social taboo, and you’re all very courageous to flaunt your paychecks like a flapper’s knees.
Always remember that salary secrecy is a tool of oppression. Rest happy knowing that any time you share this information, you’re taking a sledgehammer to the walls that keep young people, people of color, women, LGBT people, and disabled people from wealth.