Back in the day, if you were intent on committing career suicide, “job-hopping” was a sure way of doing it. We found two women who prove how things have changed.
Reneilwe Mokwele, 28, is a social media manager. Her shortest time spent at a job was 9 months and the longest has been 13 months.
“I’m in the marketing and advertising field. My career as a social media manager started in 2015. After acquiring my Public Governance and Social Sciences degree, I had no idea what I was going to do next. I got a learnership at Cerebra as a junior brand analyst, where I stayed for a year and knew then that I was more interested in social media rather than analytics, so that’s where I honed my skills. The experience at my first job was magnificent, it opened up my eyes to a whole new world of digital which I never knew existed and a career that I would have never selected or even thought of.
I left my first job because of uncertainty. My contract was about to end and I had no idea if the company would retain me or not, so I started applying for other jobs. By the grace of God, I got a social community management position at a small digital agency.”
When asked if she considers herself a job hopper, Reneilwe is on the fence. “That term stigmatizes. Things happen and I can’t stay at a company just for the sake of being “loyal”. If I feel it’s time for me to move on and an opportunity arises, by all means I’m going to grab it. I’m of the notion that people leave managers, not companies. If I had it any other way, I’d stay at a company for years but this industry is agile, it’s almost normal to “job hop” so I can’t settle just yet.”
Experts say there are quite a few advantages and disadvantages of job hopping and Reneilwe agrees. “For me, the biggest advantage has to be to the salary jumps. With every job I’ve received, the salary is higher and therefore I earn more than I what I did in my previous jobs. And the disadvantages include not being taken seriously by job recruiters. They see it as a negative thing and may use that against you because you might be labelled “unreliable”.
When asked if she has “settled” at her current job, Reneilwe says she doesn’t think so. “I don’t think too hard about it. What I know is, if an amazing job offer arises, I’ll definitely take it (in relation to both money and a position).”
Thato Twala, 34, works as an accountant. Her shortest time spent at a job was 11 months and the longest has been 3 years.
“I studied Cost & Management Accounting, started working in 2008 and stayed there for exactly a year. Most of my work experience is in Construction and Engineering in finance. Industries I have been exposed to are Manufacturing, Mining and Construction.
My first job was a great workspace to start in. I made awesome friends who I have kept in touch with until now, so every day at work was great. I left because I knew I wanted more to this work life. I just got too comfortable at times (read that as not being challenged). I was just doing admin work but I had an accounting degree. I felt like I didn’t study accounting just to end up not using it. In the three months before I left, there were positions open at the company and I was not considered for any of them. At the time, I was hurt about it because I didn’t understand why they didn’t consider me when they knew I had the required qualification. I later understood the “experience” requirement that blocks us from opportunities, in addition to the heads of departments.”
Thato doesn’t consider herself as a job hopper. “I consider myself ‘self-aware’. Self-aware in that I know when I need a change and the craving for change is loud. When a particular job has challenged me enough and I have given my all, it’s time for a new opportunity especially, in places where there isn’t much growth opportunity for the next level.
Some of the advantages of being self-aware include:
• Being exposed to new workspaces
• Additional work function exposure to add to your CV
• Meeting new people, some of whom have become good friends
• Increases in salary.
I haven’t really experienced any disadvantages from leaving jobs within a ‘short’ space of time. I left every job when I knew it was time.
But I could say it’s the preconceived idea that so-called ‘job hoppers’ are not loyal people or employees. It’s important to ask people why they left instead of making blanket statements or assumptions. Ultimately, say there is a story behind why people ‘job hop’ and it’s not always the one written by HR practitioners/consultants.”
Thato recently started a new job and is planning on seeing how things go in the next 2 years. “I have made a note to self that after 2 years I will review how I feel and the progress I have made. Honestly, I can’t say I have settled as I look forward to reviewing where I am now and again. The thought of saying I have settled scares me as it’s like I’m saying to myself there is nothing more to aspire to. That cannot be.”
Thato advises anyone who prefers to job hop to be self-aware. “Be self-aware – that will help with making the decision to move. Don’t be comfortable in any space – don’t be comfortable with the 3% to 5% annual increases. Go get more money. With every job change, go in and make an impact. Lastly, aspire for continual growth.”
By Amanda Ndlangisa