Corporate Culture: Confessions of a Compulsive Job Hopper!!


Its that time of the year. Everyone is talking about it in hush tones. Its everywhere – around the coffee machine, in cafeteria, at parking lot, smoking area and even at desk when no one (read: boss) is around. They say its all becuase of the economy doing better. Worst is over. Right time it is, someone quipped! For what? Duh-uh, its the right time to switch your job! With growing sales and companies getting fresh orders, Industry is being generous and offering huge increments. Why not make the most of it?

Its true. People are leaving their current jobs for higher salary bracket jobs or positions elsewhere. Attrition is up. Human Resources teams are having tough time grappling with resignations, retention and creating back – ups. Every year, during appraisal some employee churn is expected. But, 2010 seems to be a tad higher than normal as lot of people delayed their switch as there were hardly any interview calls in 2009, all thanks to some-US housing-market-downturn-investment-bank-burst-financial-services-requiring-bailouts. Naukri.com re-launched their signature ‘Hari Sadu’ campaign albeit without the bluntness of the previous version. Hewitt Associates is going ga-ga over the kind of increment people would get. Good times, they-are-a-coming!

Employees who aspire for a steady career and trust in showing loyalty to their employers are fast receding. I mean look around in your team, how many people have been like more than 5 years with the company? More and more employees are becoming ‘job hoppers’. 6 -7 years back, people would frown if you change more than 2 jobs in lets say 4 years, now its not unthinkable that someone has changed 2 jobs in 6 months!!! Difficult and detrimental? Nah, says Mr. Compulsive Job Hopper (CJH). On the contrary, he believes that its a fast way of growing both in designation and salary. He calls it ‘Inorganic’ route to personal growth, pretty similar to how organizations grow – when they can’t do it inside the  company, they acquire other companies! In case of an employee, he acquires a new job.

I got curious. I asked him for how he does it (and where he is going, how much raise he has got etc.). Here’s an excerpt from our no-holds-barred conversation, which took place with rounds of tea in the cafeteria:

Me: Hey man! Heard you’ve put down your papers?

Mr. Compulsive Job Hopper (CJH): Yeah, (I) got a better opportunity – both work wise and in salary terms. Some offer they have made!

Me: Good for you! Congratulations! Calls for a party! So, how much they are offering? And, are you going on same designation?

Mr. CJH: Are you crazy? Why would I leave my job if I were to go on same designation. They have given me a lead position with 40% hike. I told you, they made a compelling offer which I would be a fool to say no to!

Me: Oh! But, haven’t you joined this place six months back? Is it a good move career wise? I mean it spoils your cv? isn’t it?

Mr. CJH:  All BS. Yes, I joined six months back, but my learning curve was over. I mean, I wasn’t learning anything new here, stopped growing! plus, I was underpaid! Market is paying much more to a guy like me. So, I tried, and with my skillset, got it easily!!

And CV…No one looks at that. All recruiters do is ‘keyword search’ on these portals. If your CV matches their keywords and you pass some basic criteria for the job, recruiter will be behind your back with calls/mail etc. These days, recuiters have become the new sales guy. They just need to complete their target. They chase numbers and fill position. They do not hire employees any more. Everyone’s just a resource for them.

Me: I still don’t get it. I mean six months is barely a period where you can learn about a company let alone being profitable for it…

Mr. CJH: Not any more! Gone are the days, when you had ‘honeymoon period’ of prolonged Induction-Orientation-Onboarding-Training-Etc., These days, before you come, its more likely that you are assigned to a project. From Day 1, you have your task cut out. You are earning for the company the day you join and becoming profitable in no time. So, it really does not matter that much!

Me: Hmm… But, aren’t you an exception? I mean not everyone is lucky like you…and how many companies would be ready to take some one like you who has just joined a company six months…

Mr. CJH: Dude, you are seriously out of touch from the realities of job market! Have you heard of poaching ever? Competitiors will fall over each other to get a guy from our company as they have loads of knowledge on how the other company works. Plus, for companies smaller than us, I am God!

If thats not it, there are bunch of startups and MNC companies setting up offices here. These guys are the best of the lot as the mutual need or synergy greatly matches – I want a bigger role with even bigger salary and these companies want to set up teams quickly with guys who have local/relevant experience. There is nothing like joining a ‘Pilot Batch’… And as per Penolope Trunk, Job Hoppers Makes the Best Employees…

Me: Sounds exciting…So this will be your …

Mr. CJH: 5th job in as many years…However, it was very important I spend couple of years in first job…You are more or less fresher with a year’s experience…Once you have solid ground, get ready to launch yourself…Look at me, I am all set to handle team, while my peers, who persisted with one company or changed one or two jobs are just individual contributors…

Me: I get it. Its a junior-middle management phenomenon…I am sure it does not happen at senior management level…

Mr. CJH: Nope. the phenomenon is all pervasive. These days all levels hop alike. In fact, senior management guys do it relatively easy as they have loads of experience, vast and reliable networks and references. Also, they can any day say its a strategic move to handle challenging roles and blah their way to plum jobs with ESOPs as icing…

Me: (rather enviously) Dude, you are a champ. Tell me how you do it… Even I am pissed off these days and seriously considering switching…

Mr CJH: Simple. Just follow these rules and stop getting underpaid and becoming undervalued

  • Prepare and keep your CV current. Opportunity can knock anytime…
  • Put your CV in job portals all the time. Just remove your name, current company name or any specific reference that can reveal your identity. No body needs particular details about you. They just need skill sets, which they find through key word search. So, design your CV in such a way that all key words pertaining to your role feature in your experience summary. And ya, don’t forget blocking your company from searching your profile!!
  • Keep adding recruiters and industry peers in your linkedin profile. Check your profile on linked on atleast once every two days. Get recommendations from clients, peers, juniors and managers on linkedin. These days, linkedin is hot, and is secure too!!
  • Keep asking your network, alumni, friends about job openings in their companies….
  • Befriend your HR if you want to switch to another role in same company, but different department. Be current on what’s happening in your company…

Me: Whoa! Those are some tips…I will try to execute it one by one…but don’t you feel any moral obligation towards your company? I mean six months is barely a time…

Mr. CJH: I knew you would ask…You can’t keep off morality and sentiments for too long, can you? Anyway,  even I am aware of this morality debate and I faced the same dilemma while I hopped for the first time. But, I have understood for a fact that if you want to be a true professional ‘Never’ get attached to one company…you and your company are fulfilling a mutual need…When that need is fulfilled, it is not beneficial for any of them holding on…Don’t these companies fire people at will when they are performing badly, facing downturn etc. So, its all objective relationship at the end of the day. Need not get emotional on that…After you change 2 – 3  jobs, it will feel OK. and as they say change is permanent…

Me: Hmm…(Shaken with all this talk..) So, will it ever stop??

Mr. CJH: Yaar, it will – but only when I would have found my dream job  and a career/company that matches what I want to do in life…I shouldn’t stay in a job that I don’t like/doesn’t help my career…Beside, there is no harm in exploring all possible options… ha ha..just kidding..this is what you say when someone ask you a question like that…It will stop, only when I earn more than Industry average and my friends… 🙂

Me: I am depressed… 😦 …let me go back to work I have to finish by today…

Mr. CJH: Whatever … (goes back to have another tea…visibly amused and happy)

This is it. Enough of blogging. I am going to prepare my CV, update my Linkedin, network with friends (esp those who are in HR department). Recuiters here I come…India is Shining, why shouldn’t I?


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9 thoughts on “Corporate Culture: Confessions of a Compulsive Job Hopper!!

  1. 🙂 Nice fun post ….well written ….. Fun apart … this works well in IT industry …. and that too with Tech / domain skills … and some companies who hire in heaps … not sure if this can be the case with other industries .. having said that JH is also like an art …some people are good at it and manage it pretty well than others … its good in its own right … you might have come across this funny interview of Mr JH doing rounds in mails, I like the way it has been linked iwith financial stability of a person …

    Some, rather most organizations reject his CV today because he has changed jobs frequently (10 in 14 years). My friend, the ‘job hopper’ (referred here as Mr. JH), does not mind it…. well he does not need to mind it at all. Having worked full-time with 10 employer companies in just 14 years gives Mr. JH the relaxing edge that most of the ‘company loyal’ employees are struggling for today. Today, Mr. JH too is laid off like some other 14-15 year experienced guys – the difference being the latter have just worked in 2-3 organizations in the same number of years. Here are the excerpts of an interview with Mr. JH :

    Q : Why have you changed 10 jobs in 14 years?
    A : To get financially sound and stable before getting laid off the second time.

    Q : So you knew you would be laid off in the year 2009?
    A : Well I was laid off first in the year 2002 due to the first global economic slowdown. I had not got a full-time job before January 2003 when the economy started looking up; so I had struggled for almost a year without job and with compromises.

    Q : Which number of job was that?
    A : That was my third job.

    Q : So from Jan 2003 to Jan 2009, in 6 years, you have changed 8 jobs to make the count as 10 jobs in 14 years?
    A : I had no other option. In my first 8 years of professional life, I had worked only for 2 organizations thinking that jobs are deserved after lot of hard work and one should stay with an employer company to justify the saying ‘employer loyalty’. But I was an idiot.

    Q : Why do you say so?
    A : My salary in the first 8 years went up only marginally. I could not save enough and also, I had thought that I had a ‘permanent’ job, so I need not worry about ‘what will I do if I lose my job’. I could never imagine losing a job because of economic slowdown and not because of my performance. That was January 2002.

    Q : Can you brief on what happened between January 2003 and 2009.
    A : Well, I had learnt my lessons of being ‘company loyal’ and not ‘money earning and saving loyal’. But then you can save enough only when you earn enough. So I shifted my loyalty towards money making and saving – I changed 8 jobs in 6 years assuring all my interviewers about my stability.

    Q : So you lied to your interviewers; you had already planned to change the job for which you were being interviewed on a particular day?
    A : Yes, you can change jobs only when the market is up and companies are hiring. You tell me – can I get a job now because of the slowdown? No. So one should change jobs for higher salaries only when the market is up because that is the only time when companies hire and can afford the expected salaries.

    Q : What have you gained by doing such things?
    A : That’s the question I was waiting for. In Jan 2003, I had a fixed salary (without variables) of say Rs. X p.a. In January 2009, my salary was 8X. So assuming my salary was Rs.3 lakh p.a. in Jan 2003, my last drawn salary in Jan 2009 was Rs.24 lakh p.a. (without variable). I never bothered about variable as I had no intention to stay for 1 year and go through the appraisal process to wait for the company to give me a hike.

    Q : So you decided on your own hike?
    A : Yes, in 2003, I could see the slowdown coming again in future like it had happened in 2001-02. Though I was not sure by when the next slowdown would come, I was pretty sure I wanted a ‘debt-free’ life before being laid off again. So I planned my hike targets on a yearly basis without waiting for the year to complete.

    Q : So are you debt-free now?
    A : Yes, I earned so much by virtue of job changes for money and spent so little that today I have a loan free 2 BR flat (1200 sq.. feet) plus a loan free big car without bothering about any EMIs. I am laid off too but I do not complain at all. If I have laid off companies for money, it is OK if a company lays me off because of lack of money.

    Q : Who is complaining?
    A : All those guys who are not getting a job to pay their EMIs off are complaining. They had made fun of me saying I am a job hopper and do not have any company loyalty. Now I ask them what they gained by their company loyalty; they too are laid off like me and pass comments to me – why will you bother about us, you are already debt-free. They were still in the bracket of 12-14 lakh p.a. when they were laid off.

    Q : What is your advice to professionals?
    A : Like Narayan Murthy had said – love your job and not your company because you never know when your company will stop loving you. In the same lines, love yourself and your family needs more than the company’s needs. Companies can keep coming and going; family will always remain the same. Make money for yourself first and simultaneously make money for the company, not the other way around.

    Q : What is your biggest pain point with companies?
    A : When a company does well, its CEO will address the entire company saying, ‘well done guys, it is YOUR company, keep up the hard work, I am with you.” But when the slowdown happens and the company does not do so well, the same CEO will say, “It is MY company and to save the company, I have to take tough decisions including asking people to go.” So think about your financial stability first; when you get laid off, your kids will complain to you and not your boss.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Corporate Culture: Confessions of a Compulsive Job Hopper!! « My Turf… -- Topsy.com

  3. I think Job Hopping is a result of bad match form both ends candidate and employer, they compromise on certain areas which in long run results in job dissatisfaction.

    Job seekers don’t have any ways to say I would love to work in this or that domain, technology or company. Similarly Employer don’t put extra efforts in expressing their needs clearly in job descriptions.

    Everyone just get into a mutually beneficial decision which ends in either employer giving you pink-slip or you saying bye bye.

    We need a medium to present our needs more clearly.

  4. Sachin: first of all I must say it was refreshing to read about contemporary issues other than IPL, movies, and politics on your blog.

    Now about Job Hoppers, it is just my opinion, that I will personally never recommend nor hire an employee who is a frequent job hopper, and on top pf all that tries to justify those moves. No matter what, generally speaking, a JH would tell me that

    [1] He/she was not diligent in screening and selecting their last job, that they have to leave there so soon. Exceptions apart, I can pretty confidently point to hoppers just by talking to them over a coffee.

    [2] He/she will not be a team builder. A good organization that has a unique technology will never hire a person who may leave at any point with all the tribal knowledge. The case may be different if the position is such that training for the job is easy, and employees disposable.

    Lastly: money is important. But it is not everything. In a recent survey (I will post the link when I can find it), the number 1 reason for people to leave their job was not money, but issues with their team/boss. They couldn’t fit in the company/team culture, and that stress and friction can be really detrimental.

    Keep blogging!

  5. @ Siddharth: Thanks for liking it..

    I would disagree to scoff this as ‘IT only’ phenomenon, though chances and opportunities available make sure that the CJHs or JHs are more in IT…I know for a fact that all sunrise and high growth sectors like Retail, Consulting, Financial Services, Telecom, Media etc. are replete with JHs…

    And your email forward is wonderful…you can see the similarities in how job hoppers think may be….But haven’t come across this one…Issues pretty much are same, but how you handle them differs. As one reader has pointed out, love your job, not your company…

    @Lalit: I definitely agree that the due-dilligence process lacks from both employer and employee…In most of the companies I know, HR does ask employees after month or two that whether your job is what you expected during the interview…I mean why ask this question when you hor for a specific position and reject so many candidates…

    Truth is, recruitment is an inexact science…I bet people who take hiring decision, do so on gut feel 8 out of 10 times…. But, yes, employees who would voice their displeasure on job not matching would warm the bench, or thier days are numbered in the organization.

    @Prash: Double Thanks dude…for your comment here and on Indiblogger….

    On the biggest reason behind leaving the job, I 100% agree with you…However, if you look at the motivation, money is the biggest reason, why people change jobs. Having said that, Age has a correlation with underlying motivation towards a job. Initially, it starts with money only, but after marriage and kids, its security and money…

    Anyway, I agree JHs are risky proposition…but I would say, some of them are high performers too…thats how they move around so quickly…

    Thanks all of you,

    Keep visiting my blog…

    cheers,
    Sachin

  6. I have not yet entered the market as such. I’m a freelance writer and having worked for the likes of Bindass and UTV in terms of new media, the environment is very volatile and ‘poaching’ as you mentioned here happens a lot. This is a Dilbert moment I had: I left my job at UTV to join MTV and found myself working with the *exact same people*. They had left the former to join the latter. Suddenly, my reason to have UTV in the first place was null and void. FML. 😛

    BTW, great blog. Will be dropping by here once in a while for gain some real-world perspective. Awesomely worded… 🙂

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