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Titilayo Olurin: Are You Guilty of Job Hopping?

Life is in stages, and rather than being in a rush to move to the next, you should enjoy the stage you are in now and stop to smell the roses.

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“Again?” my friend scoffed in disbelief.

It was certainly not the response I was expecting. Some warmth or enthusiasm would have been nice. I had, after all, called to share my excitement with her.

“Wait, Titi, are you serious?” There it was, the disbelief in her voice. There was no mistaking it this time, and I was as puzzled as I was shocked at her reaction to the news I had just shared.

“Didn’t you start this one in January?” The tone of disbelief had now been replaced with what might have been concern. “What happened?”

“A better offer,” I replied gruffly. My excitement had waned and suddenly, all I wanted to do was end the call. Yet, it was supposed to be one of our regular weekend phone calls, when we talked about everything and laughed over the most mundane things for as long as the airtime of whoever was making the call would permit. A practice we had grown to love since she moved out of town in December last year.

Long after the phone call, and as I went about my business, I thought about my friend’s words: “I am worried about how this would look on your CV.” That explained her response to my announcement of a new job. I had not taken the job yet, but I was almost certain of taking it. The pay was way better than what I was receiving at my current job. So was the work environment. Plus, it was a bigger role. I had told her this much. Still, three jobs in four years seemed like a lot, she insisted. Of course, it was my decision to make, but her words left me weighing the pros and cons of taking another job in the span of five months in a way that I might never have.

Job Hopping: What is it?

“Titi, you are job hopping,” my friend said to me, describing my deliberate switching of jobs constantly. It could be a big turn off to hiring managers and companies, she was convinced. A notion which Omolola Fadipe, an HR expert in Lagos with over a decade of experience, supports. “No matter how good that candidate is, no matter how much experience they have, we are skeptical about hiring such because immediately they see a better offer, they will move,” she says. 

Fadipe further explains that job hopping is often used to describe a situation where “an employee changes jobs at every slight opportunity. You know, when you change your job within a very short period of time, that is job hopping.”

She asserts that it is not to be encouraged, especially when one is trying to build a career. “To us as hiring managers, it is something we frown at. In fact, I interviewed a man recently for the post of an accountant. He had three years’ experience and had changed jobs like seven times. Funny enough, where he was, before he came for the interview, he had spent less than three months. And he was already looking for another job. Then I asked him, ‘Why are you changing this job?’ He said he was changing it because of the pay. Where the pay is good, he moves. So, I said, ‘When you join us, and you get a better offer, you are also going to move.’ Because of that, despite the fact that he had what we wanted, we did not hire him.”

Another HR expert, who works in Lagos and would simply like to be referred to as Ibitope, is of a similar opinion but insists that switching jobs within a short time span is not always a bad thing, as there are times when you need to look for something “better, different or refreshing.”

Job Hopping: Why do People do it?

“As much as we would like to say stay, it would be mean to suggest that you continue in a toxic work environment. Staying at a job that gives you no peace of mind will adversely affect your mental wellbeing and, ultimately, your work,” Ibitope says.

Janet, a graduate of the University of Ibadan who recently switched jobs, admits that she did it to leave a toxic environment. “There was so much gossiping and backbiting and taking credit for other people’s efforts. Worst of all, my superiors talked to me as if I was their house girl rather than a graduate with a degree. Even my parents don’t talk to me that way,” Janet says.

Noting that there are other reasons why one might have to switch jobs within a year or two, Ibitope queries, “What do you do when you have to relocate because you just got married or you want to pursue your education further? What about when you have to move in with a sick relative in another state so that you can take care of them? Or you want a change of environment where the cost of living is cheaper?”

The promise of higher pay is another reason why people switch jobs often. It, in fact, tops the list of many, as Janet admits, “I have had three jobs since 2020, and I am not ashamed to say it. I was looking for something where the pay would equal my duties. There is no point working in a place where I spend all my salary on transport and cannot feed myself or save a dime.”

Though she does not believe that getting a better pay is enough reason to leave a job, especially if it is the same role or almost the same, Ibitope argues that “it is okay to leave” when a new job offer comes with the prospect of career growth and development, as well as opportunities and exposure.

She opines, “You should not stay at a job where you do not have satisfaction or fulfillment, or where there is no opportunity for growth. It can only be destructive to your career and yourself. No good can come of it.”

As lame as it may seem, some people switch jobs because they are bored and restless, and want something different and exciting. Others want challenges and adventure that can keep them on their toes. And yet others want to make a career change and pursue something in a new field. It is, however, important to note at this point that there are negative effects of job hopping.

Why Should You Stop Job Hopping?

When you switch jobs too often, you do not stay long enough at a place to make an impression, impact or difference. You do not stay long enough to have a support system or make real friends.You do not stay long enough for actual growth or promotion, and you do not give your career the chance to grow. Sadly, I have learnt this the hard way. I have now decided that I will no longer pursue the immediate benefits of switching jobs without thinking of its lasting effect on my career, and it was for this reason that I eventually turned down the job offer I told my friend about.

In Fadipe’s opinion, the focus should not be on money but on building a career. “I will advise that it is better to stay in a place for at least three to five years before moving. When you do that, it gives employers confidence to entrust a role to you. They believe that you are stable and you are ready to work. It is advisable that candidates or employees are always patient to build their career rather than running after money.”

The truth is that life is in stages, and rather than being in a rush to move to the next, you should enjoy the stage you are in now and stop to smell the roses.

Have you ever been guilty of job hopping? Pray tell, what was your experience?



Features image: Dreamstime

Titilayo Olurin is a writer whose stories and articles have been published on various online platforms. A love junkie, as she often describes herself, Titilayo is on radio every week talking about relationships, dating and family. She spends most of her time curating and creating content around these same topics on her Instagram page @toastlinewithteetee. You can connect with her on Instagram and Twitter @titilayo_olurin.

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