The Most Important Tip For Job Hoppers: Join People, Not Firms

As the new year deepens, now is the most exciting time for job hoppers everywhere.  I’m convinced we’ll see more employee turnover at various industries than over the past two years combined.  We’ve got two years of itchy people waiting to leave their firms for better opportunities.  Are you one of them?

If you are, remember one thing: join people, not firms. Isn’t that the same you ask?  No, it is imperative you differentiate between the two.  Joining great people means working with people you respect, and working for people who support you.  Working with great people means not hitting the snooze button five times because you dread going to work.  When you see people get promoted within the ranks, you cheer for them instead of secretly contain your jealously.  Great people encourage each other to succeed.

A great firm, on the other hand, can be entirely different.  Procter & Gamble, Apple, McKinsey, Genentech, and Google are great firms in their respective industries.  Getting a job at one of these institutions is like winning the lottery to some, and as such, they are “braggable firms” to your friends and loved ones.  Yet, I caution you to not blindly aspire to work for a place just for its prestige.

How often do we see people quit their dream jobs out of misery due to a bad boss or untenable work environment?  They say that the average person changes jobs seven times in their careers.  That can’t be pleasant and good for the nerves, can it?  You can work for Google, but if you’re in one department that has a lazy, demoralizing manager whose already worth millions and doesn’t care one lick about you, why bother?

I encourage job hoppers to insist on interviewing their perspective new employers as much as they interview you.  Yes, we have 10% unemployment, and 17% underemployment, which necessitates humility in your search.  But, humility is a given no matter what the unemployment rate is.

You owe it to yourself to meet as many people you potentially will work with as possible.  The prospective employer wants to make sure you are a good match as well.  No amount of prestige is worth being in a miserable state.  Join good people and you will never want to job hop again!  That is of course, until a better opportunity comes a long……….

Readers, what are your thoughts on why people job hop so much?  Is it the need to feel appreciated?  Is it the lack of fit?  What are the main reasons for so much movement?

Do you think it’s worth joining that prestigious firm in your industry despite disliking the people you’ll be working with?

What amount of money or percentage increase would it take for you to leave your job for a miserable opportunity?

Keiju (Regards),

Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

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Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. Moneyreasons says

    You are correct! I haven’t looked for a new job in years. At the very minimum, I’m going to polish up my resume and post it on a few job boards. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about my weaknesses, so if I do jump ship, I’ll be a better version…

    I think a lot of people might even be looking for side income (either your own business, consulting, or existing). I’m open to that too… Then again this could just be me…
    .-= Moneyreasons´s last blog ..Stop Waiting For Magical Moments To Happen =-.

  2. Investor Junkie says

    Hmm when I worked for others I job hopped every few years. But you are correct, interview them as much as they interview you. After all you have to spend at least 8 hours working with these people. Will you like working for your boss? My last boss was great and still talk to him today.
    .-= Investor Junkie´s last blog ..How Much is 1% Costing You? =-.

  3. Elle says

    So true! I’ve received so many mentors from work, I recommend that you seek out a place where they help you gain skills. A supportive network does wonders.

    I worked for different size companies, some known and some local companies and the people made the difference. You can find a well known firm that has a great environment, but you have to investigate during the interview process.
    .-= Elle´s last blog ..Net Worth Review:January 2010 =-.

  4. 20smoney says

    Fantastic post. “Latching” on to a mentor or somebody who can help you in your career is a great way to progress in your career. Especially, in times of economic uncertainty.
    .-= 20smoney´s last blog ..Finding Deflation =-.

  5. David @ MBA briefs says

    Why do people job hop so much? Speaking for myself I’ve tried to stay ahead of the layoffs and industry downturns, and as soon as I see the writing on the wall I start looking. I’ve been lucky through the years but I’m not so sure this time. I’ve never worked for a company who really valued their employees, or at least valued my contributions and saw my potential, so I do take this into consideration when I look for a new position. You just have to be careful to have a good answer for the inevitable interview question about changing jobs.

    Do you think it’s worth joining that prestigious firm in your industry despite disliking the people you’ll be working with? People can turn Shangri La into the 5th Circle of Hell, but if you can tough it out your career will be all the better for it. Just keep repeating to yourself “It looks great on my resume, it looks great on my resume…”

    What amout of money or percentage increase would it take for you to leave your job for a miserable opportunity? I’m cheap (and easy), and since my industry is in a death spiral I would gladly lateral into a position if it had any upward mobility or long term potential.

    Great post – keep ‘em coming!
    .-= David @ MBA briefs´s last blog ..Do positions of power corrupt people or attract people who are already corrupt? =-.

  6. thriftygal says

    People job hop because employers don’t take care of them. If they want to retain the best of the best, they need to continuoulsy provide incentives for their employees and take care of them. I was stuck at a horrible company becuase of bureauracratic stipulations before my current job, and the 2 places are like night and day. If the firm has employee-friendly policies, having a less-than-perfect middle manager won’t be as huge a problem as it would in a bad company.

    I thought about how much it would take me to quit my current employer and I probably won’t leave for less than a 50% increase (so I guess I’ll be here for a long time!) becuase I have great benefits that I doubt other employers could match. Now if you double my vacation time and throw in flexibile hours then I’d probably have some thinking to do.
    .-= thriftygal´s last blog ..5 Obstacles To Financial Success =-.

  7. Jon says

    I’ll be teaching English at the University and living with some friends.

    As far as taking weekly screenshots of the fund, I’d be happy to give it a try. Unfortunately, I have a 3 year old mac that is the smallest size they had at the time (I’m a cheapo), so I don’t know how much help it would be.
    .-= Jon´s last blog ..5 Investments for Gramma =-.

  8. LeanLifeCoach says

    Years ago at a seminar I learned 70% of people quit their job due to their immediate supervisor. My experience supports this. Money is important but I know I have given it up for an opportunity to do the work I enjoy.

    Another great idea… don’t just interview them, try them on for size. Ask a prospective employer for permission to spend a couple days in the trenches working with the people that you would be assigned with. This gives you an opportunity to interview a lot more people as well.
    .-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..Why Can’t I Save Money? =-.

  9. Evan says

    “What amount of money or percentage increase would it take for you to leave your job for a miserable opportunity?”

    I often think about this question. I like what I do, and the peopel I work with, but I would say double my salary and I am O-U-T. 50% would get me thinking about it though.
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Switzerland Oldest Bank Says F.U. America =-.

  10. Monevator says

    The other reason to be careful who you work for is often your future hopes will come from *people* not from firms.

    I haven’t sent anyone a CV for a decade, for instance, although I’m probably a slightly odd case.

  11. admin says

    @20smoney
    You’re right, having a good mentor is key! Like latching on to a rising star, are an already brightly burning star. He or she will only help. Another nod for “people” not “firms.”

    @David @ MBA briefs
    Love it… “from Shangri La to the 5th Circle of Hell”!

    @thriftygal
    You’re lucky to feel that you won’t move for at least a 50% bump. I have a feeling most people will leave for much less, if not actually less!

    @Jon
    A 3 yr old computer is 3 years newer than mine! :)

    @LeanLifeCoach
    Not sure if asking to “try before one buys” is going to work. That might be too ballsy of the prospective employee. Interesting idea, but needs to be carefully asked.

    70% due to immediate supervisor huh? I can believe that.

    @Evan
    Double the salary, and I think most people are out Evan! Does a bear poop in the woods? I think so!

    @Monevator
    Why wouldn’t you want to send a firm someone’s CV and help that person along if there’s an opportunity? The more you help, the more you will be helped imo.

  12. WellHeeledBlog.com says

    Sounds cliche, but people are really so important. And as you said, there can be micro-cultures within the same company, depending on the department, location, group, etc. People won’t stay at a place where they are vastly under-compensated, but I don’t think money is the #1 reason (at least, not $5K or 10K) why people change jobs. If someone feels like they are valued, fairly compensated, challenged by their work (but given support to accomplish their goals) and is doing something meaningful (doesn’t have to be curing cancer – just working towards a goal that is bigger than JUST A PAYCHECK), they will be happy workers.

  13. Charlie says

    I’ve interviewed about 200 candidates over the last few years and one of the first things I check for is how long the person has stayed in each of their jobs. Frequent hops raises a red flag. I think one of the main reasons people hop jobs in less than 1 year is that they didn’t do their research before they signed their offer! Signing on to a job just b/c you got an offer w/out really understanding what you’ll be doing is a big mistake. If it’s not something you’ll be happy doing, you’ll be miserable, make your coworkers frustrated, and you could even get fired if you aren’t motivated to do well, or aren’t capable (lying in an interview about your skills will come back to haunt you).

  14. admin says

    @Charlie
    Wow, 200 candidates is a lot! You must have a lot of good interview skills and immediate insights when you meet with people.

    @WellHeeledBlog.com
    Micro-cultures is a good term. Bingo. How’s the hunt going?

    @Tracy
    Yep, a lot of industries have TONS of movement. It’s like musical chairs, you wouldn’t believe.

  15. J. Money says

    This is very true, especially in niche markets. I’ve followed the people I trust to all my previous jobs in the past 10 years because I knew they were onto something. And when they leave I know they know something’s up ;)

  16. kosmo @ The Casual Observer says

    I’m a team coordinator for a team of about a dozen folks within a massive company. I’ve been with the company for twelve years and have basically worked with this same core group for about a decade.

    The group is split into two very different ethnic groups, and are also divided between employees and contract workers. Despite these differences, we are one team – everyone enjoys working together and is comfortable enough to crack an occassional joke about anyone on the team (or to be on the receiving end of a joke).

    Other team coordinators envy my team because there is minimal internal strife.

    I’d gladly work with these folks anywhere.
    .-= kosmo @ The Casual Observer´s last blog ..Division =-.

  17. FinEngr says

    @Charlie

    Open question. What do you consider “due diligence”? And how do you go beyond the superficial “first date” rhetoric?

    Many companies look good on paper, but how do you dig deep? Even asking loads of questions via phone/email can only get you so far right? Or if you get the chance to speak with another employee/possible peer individually, my experience has been they’ll upsell the company until you’ve made the deal – then give you the dirt.

    Thoughts?
    .-= FinEngr´s last blog ..Which Way Are You Outsourcing? =-.

  18. admin says

    @Credit Card Chaser
    It’s true. I love working for myself from 7pm onwards! It is a blessing to also work for a company and with people you admire. It’s hard to beat the camaraderie, health care, and a stable paycheck. The best if you can get like an entrepreneur sized income, while having stability, and having a fun side business.

  19. Charlie says

    @FinEngr
    I hear ya. Current employees have to protect themselves first, so they probably aren’t going to say “the boss is a total @**” in case you end up joining and rat them out. Try talking to people in the industry at other firms and get a sense of what your desired firm’s strengths/weaknesses are. Dig around on the internet too and prep some well thought out questions asking for specific details. And study the job description – people that walk into an interview and ask me “so what would I be doing” aren’t going to get my vote.

  20. kosmo @ The Casual Observer says

    @admin That was a poor choice of words. The group is comprised of individuals from different ethnic groups. There is no clique-ish split (in fact, that was the point I was trying to make :)
    .-= kosmo @ The Casual Observer´s last blog ..Pay Day =-.

    • admin says

      Kosmo – Oops! Thanks for clarifying then. Isn’t it amazing how words mean different things to different people? Words can be dangerous if used inappropriately!

  21. Monevator says

    @Sam – No, I’d happily send along someone else’s CV, that wasn’t what I meant. I do this all the time, and have helped at least half a dozen people into jobs. Probably a dozen.

    I meant *I* haven’t sent a CV – I get all my work from word-of-mouth, and they never ask for a reference. Like you say, it’s all about the people.

  22. admin says

    @Monevator
    Thanks for the clarification! I thought that’s what you meant, but just in case, I thought it’d be fun to challenge your assumption :) “I haven’t sent my own CV to find work” is crystal clear.

  23. Lillie says

    I have been on the other end where the boss was definitely from another planet and made my life miserable and I couldn’t wait to move on. On the other hand, I am currently in a situation where I love my co-workers and we mentor and support each other. Another plus is that I am my own boss working a part-time business that allows me to mentor and support others. It’s the best of both worlds and once I retire, I’ll devote all of my time to my business and being the best boss ever.

  24. Kathryn C says

    Hi! I think you can learn a lot from working for a bad boss or working with bad people. Long term, it doesn’t work, but if you’re at a good company and you’re getting what you want out of it (experience, savings etc), and can just tune them out and get your job done, it might be worth it.

    Also, you learn how to “manage up” (ie manage your boss without them knowing you’re managing them) and also you learn how to deal with loserville colleagues, and they’re every where in the world, so it’s a good skill to have. Things aren’t perfect all the time so we need to know how to manage the situation so people don’t drag us down.

    Granted, I’ve been told I’m good at “compartmentalizing”…. I”m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing…but it helps me get what I want to get done and not be bogged down by wackos at work.

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