Author Topic: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?  (Read 6358 times)

TimmyTightWad

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Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« on: May 21, 2015, 03:06:21 PM »
Hi all,

I'm in my early 30s and  have been working for about 10 years. I have been a software engineer for the last 4 of those years.
I'm working for my 5th company over that span, so that's an average of 2 yrs at each job. Save for the time I switched careers (took a 15k paycut) each job change has netted me between 10-17k in additional yearly income. I've been at my current job for a year and half making the most I've ever made and I'm already thinking about leaving to get another 10k+ raise.
A couple of points to add context to my situation:
  • There is the perception that there is ageism in the IT world. I'm in my early 30s and have only been working in this industry for 4 yrs, I have no idea how long before I'm too "old" to get hired somewhere. Because of this I think I need to accelerate my earning potential as quickly as possible. On the plus side I'm African American, we only make up <5% of the software engineers or something like that. I get the feeling most of the ppl I work with don't know many AA. I routinely hear ppl saying they thought I was 25 yr old even though I don't look young (bald head, dadbod etc). 
  • I work in the mid Atlantic region mostly in the bank/pharma industries. I have a genuine interest in technology and software development.....but could care less about the companies/industries I work in. In other words I have minimal loyalty
  • Because I had a recent shift in my career I think I could easily scrub my resume/linkedin to essentially erase the first half of the last decade.
  • I only leave companies for more money, for the most part I'm satisfied with the work that I do and the people I work with
  • TPP is in the works, I have no idea what impact this trade agreement could have on the issuance of visas to foreign tech workers. Demand/wages could go down. I should get the getting while it's good

When I was in school a decade ago all the career counselors advised against being a job hopper as potential employers would look unfavorably upon that sort of job history. I could see how it could be problematic but I think things have shifted enough in our economy where employers realize that employees are less and less loyal.

Just curious how you guys feel about job hoppers, would you hire one? Is it even a concern in this current economic environment or an outdated way of thinking? As long as I can get hired *somewhere* for more money should I even care......FIRE is my main goal?

Urizen

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2015, 03:27:32 PM »
I work in libraries, which are about as long term a career as it gets. The general idea in libraries tends to be: when you hit a full-time position, any full-time position, you stay with it until you absolutely cannot. So, the idea of job hopping isn't so much frowned upon as non-existent. People just don't expect to see job hopping librarians (at least it seems to me).

That said, I job hop. I think that job hopping is fine, so long as you are smart about it. And by smart, I mean you don't job hop for a stupid reason. Don't job hop because one coworker is annoying or you want to live in a different region or you want to have a different title. I job hop for the same reason you do: because the job is better. The pay is better which usually means the overall package will be better. I don't job hop just to do it.

Since I only job hop to a better position, I'm not worried about if people will frown on me job hopping. If I'm begin hired into a better position, my new boss clearly isn't concerned with my job hopping. If I'm going into a better position, then I want to job hop. That's just all there is to it.

That said, always make clear to potential employers why the dates of your employment are what they are. If they ask, have an answer ready to explain that you aren't jumping around because you're undecided on your life. Take charge. Tell them it is because you went to a better job. Be honest about it and they should understand.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2015, 04:47:40 PM »
I'm a tech consultant / management consultant / contractor.  I work for a management consulting firm (like Deloitte, Accenture, etc) and they send me out on contracts at different companies.  Yesterday, I celebrated my 4th year with my consulting firm, and in that time I've been on 3 separate contracts - each one paying a higher hourly 'bill rate'.  I *HIGHLY* recommend this.

I think of myself as a 'Tech Whore' - the company I work for, get insurance thru, pay into the 401K with... is my 'Pimp'. 
I'm the 'Techx-worker' - logging billable-hours that are paid at a "low-3-figures-per-hour" bill-rate.  I take home a pre-defined percentage of that rate for hours worked, plus a minimal 'salary' + computer equipment stipend paid monthly.  I put my entire monthly 'salary' into the 401K (max). 

The longest I worked somewhere was 12.9 years at a Major NW Software Firm.  I was a real 'company-guy' and for my efforts, I got put in the 'life-boat' drill annually, and raked over the coals at review time regardless of the value I generated for the company.  Never.  Again.
Hop my friend... hop.

stlbrah

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2015, 12:29:20 AM »
What about hopping out of boredom in the tech field?

I know it sounds bad, but I find that after a few years I am not learning that much anymore and am better moving on.

Pooperman

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2015, 05:35:25 AM »
I've hopped twice already. Started ~$40k 2 years ago and will start my 3rd job next month at ~$80k. Job hopping allowed me to double my salary in 2 years! Millennial have no love of corporations and there's no reason to be 'loyal' to one or another. Pensions? Gone. Replaced with 401ks that every company has and they suck 9 of 10 times. What matters (and what gets you to FI quickly) is a high savings rate. What better way to save more than to earn more?

lpep

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2015, 06:00:06 AM »
I've hopped twice already. Started ~$40k 2 years ago and will start my 3rd job next month at ~$80k. Job hopping allowed me to double my salary in 2 years! Millennial have no love of corporations and there's no reason to be 'loyal' to one or another. Pensions? Gone. Replaced with 401ks that every company has and they suck 9 of 10 times. What matters (and what gets you to FI quickly) is a high savings rate. What better way to save more than to earn more?

Couldn't have said it better. I'm younger than you, OP, but I'm aiming to do exactly what you're doing--since there are no pensions any more, there's no reason to stick at one place, especially since:

Quote
I get the feeling most of the ppl I work with don't know many AA. I routinely hear ppl saying they thought I was 25 yr old even though I don't look young (bald head, dadbod etc).

HA! Love it :)

cerebus

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2015, 06:12:22 AM »
I've pretty much tripled my salary over the last 3 years this way. Job hopping is absolutely ftw especially in tech and at the moment I spend like all my time daydreaming a scheme to make another significant increase by moving. The quickest route I can come up with off the top of my head is home-based freelancing for overseas clients. That would be a goldmine if I can get it right.

marcela

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2015, 07:48:04 AM »
In May of 2013 I left a job where I was making 18k. My next one paid 27k, I was there for 3 months and then was laid off and found a new job paying 38k in December 2013. I just started this past month a new job making 55k with more benefits. I've effectively tripled my income in 2 years by being willing to move on. I'll probably stay in this position another 1.5 years to get a graduate certificate (funded by the position) and then move to another job in the 80-90k range.

The only negative comment I've gotten on it was a brief question at my last interview and I responded that I had been underutilized and unchallenged at my previous position and was looking to get into a position where I had more hands on work. It helps that my industry is notorious for short tenures.

waffle

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2015, 08:23:24 AM »
From an HR perspective I don't see a problem with it and wouldn't hold it against you. If you were job hopping every few months consistently I would question it, but you are averaging 2 years in a position. I say if you are in a position for 2 years you will be fine.

pdxvandal

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2015, 10:13:35 AM »
Absolutely it's OK. As a previous poster said, few employers are loyal to their employees anymore and typically either give zero raises or 2-3% on average yearly. Oh, and they can let you go at any time but expect at least 2-4 weeks' notice if you leave. Hypocrisy.

I left a job in 2005 making 33k to making 39k, then left in 2007 for a job making 50k, then left in 2008 for a job at 58k. So, nearly doubled in three years. No way would I have had any raises/promotions close to that if I didn't hop around.

In fact, I just left a startup yesterday to begin a job Tuesday making 12k more with awesome benefits. I do hope to stay in this one for at least three years to vest in the retirement program to ensure FIRE. After that, who knows? Good luck.

Exflyboy

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2015, 10:26:37 AM »
As an ex engineering manager I can tell you for a fact if you don't job hop you get screwed!

I was hiring brand new grads who were making $10 to 15k MORE than those who'd been there for 4 years.

Needless to say a new grad is a liability whereas a 4 year "veteran" is a valuable employee.

Your doing exactly the right thing by hopping.

AlwaysBeenASaver

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2015, 10:27:21 AM »
I'm a techie too, and yes, job hopping is perfectly acceptable and the best way to keep your salary going up. In fact, my prior job was at a pre-IPO company in silicon valley and they didn't like it when a candidate had been at their previous job for too many years - said that often techies get stuck only knowing the technologies that company uses if they stay there too long.

I find that job hopping not only keeps my salary trending upwards, but also it keeps my skills expanding. I've generally stayed within my field, but I still encounter different technologies and methodologies in use at each different company. Expanding my skills keeps me more employable as well as more interested and less bored.

lil_miss_frugal

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2015, 10:50:50 AM »
I've been working in IT for about 4 years(I'm also African American). I've recently been hired as a programmer, so basically the same as a software engineer. I think it's not as bad when people in this field "job hop" especially if you're a developer of some sort and you're a contract worker. I still try to stay at a company for at least 2 years before I consider going elsewhere. I don't do contract work so I would prefer not to "job hop". I also think it depends on the industry you're working in and whether or not it's frowned upon.

asiljoy

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2015, 01:41:47 PM »
I'm also in the IT world (data mostly for BI), and I'd say depending on where you want to be/your goals, staying too long in any one project could actually hurt you. There's a theory that if you stay at one job/one department/one project past 3 years, you're no longer further your technical skills, but just learning domain knowledge that wouldn't be transferable to another job. I may be jaded, but given that there really isn't any inspiring reason to be loyal to a company and accruing that knowledge, I don't see any problem with jumping for a higher salary especially if it'll get you more experience/expand your skill set in the area you want to work in.

That said, I've de facto done it. I'm on my 4th job in 7 years, all but one I've left of my own volition and in all cases, I ended up in a better position. For the ones I left, in my interviews it was barely a topic of discussion why I was leaving. Just be sure not to say something derogatory about the place you're leaving; instead make it about you wanting a new challenge/to learn more about X/the drive's too far...literally say anything other than something bad about your current place of employment.

mozar

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2015, 04:15:40 PM »
I don't think you need to erase job history yet. I am 32 and I keep mine on because my degree is relevant. From what I hear people just start dealing with ageism in their early 40's. I'm in a field where job hopping is frowned upon, but I do it anyway. It never comes up with recruiters who are serious about hiring. My last job I didn't even inyerview. Employers can see my resume, I figure they wouldn't email me if it bothered them. People think I look young also (I'm a petite black woman). I think (white) people are either not familar with black faces, or they're not looking. But I wouldn't worry about it. My dad looks pretty young but he is experiencing ageism (he is 57). There is not much you can do when it starts happening, recruiters are pretty good at figuring out what decade you are in. I say get it while the gettings good.

Calvawt

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2015, 04:41:10 PM »
I have seen instances of job hopping affecting other roles, but I think IT is a much more dynamic field. 

When I am hiring an accountant, financial analyst, medical coder, or medical biller i definitely look at the job history.  There have been times where I declined to interview a candidate for too much hopping, but most of the time I just ask them to explain.

If you are getting job offers then it is not yet an issue for you.  I think 2 years is a safe margin.


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aschmidt2930

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2015, 04:52:59 PM »
In today's world, I'm not even sure I would call averaging a position every two years job hopping.  Two years seems to be a typical amount of time to spend at a company, especially for the young and lower to middle title positions. 

BlueHouse

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2015, 10:44:46 AM »
People think I look young also (I'm a petite black woman). I think (white) people are either not familar with black faces, or they're not looking.
This fascinates me,, because I've actually said and heard the words from others that it's hard to tell how old AA people are. Yes, I look, but, as you say, maybe I'm not as familiar with black faces.  Darker skinned individuals certainly do not seem to show signs of aging the way that my Northern European family does.
I have learned that there is a certain timeline when you start to see the effects of sun damage and wrinkles around eyes and when skin around lips begins to thin. This seems to happen later to AAs but I am not familiar with the timeline.
I've also heard it's possible to tell the age of people by looking at their teeth. ;)

BlueHouse

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2015, 10:47:31 AM »
I forgot to mention:  I really don't think Job-hopping matters anymore and agree that it's the only way to advance quickly when young.

stlbrah

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Re: Thoughts on Job Hopping to increase Income?
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2015, 11:20:42 AM »
As an ex engineering manager I can tell you for a fact if you don't job hop you get screwed!

I was hiring brand new grads who were making $10 to 15k MORE than those who'd been there for 4 years.

Needless to say a new grad is a liability whereas a 4 year "veteran" is a valuable employee.

Your doing exactly the right thing by hopping.

I am debating hopping again (IT field) even though I am in a great company. Engineering in my job title, but not really an engineer. At 27 I feel like I should be going for quick advancement that will help me FIRE rather than pensions/401k etc that takes 5+ years to to fully vest.

I feel like all the best opportunities go to external candidates, and the high pay. When I started at this company, I made about 15k more than long-term very dedicated hardworking employees. I felt sorry for them. I was recently promoted to a position that is easy and low workload, and work from home. While it may sound like a dream, id rather go for higher pay and earlier FIRE.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2015, 11:22:19 AM by stlbrah »