It’s accepted wisdom that most professionals, especially those pesky millennials, will and/or should change jobs every 3 to 5 years. It’s generally agreed that this is the “new” way to send your career into overdrive, rake in dump trucks full of money, and gain the undying admiration of your peers.
But guess what? Looking at Bureau of Labor Statistics data (link) shows us that new entrants to the work force have always (at least going back to the 1980s) hopped jobs more frequently than those more established in their careers, and at about the same rates as today.
It makes sense – when we arrive on the job market as newly minted workers, we may not be sure where we want to end up, and if we are, it might take several steps to get there. Also, certain necessities like eating people-food and sleeping indoors may push us to take jobs that aren’t the Grand Passion that those folks on the TED Talks are always raving about.
The idea that you need to force yourself to job hop every few years “just because” is a false premise that creates a Burden of Expectation. Turns out that’s also a video game in the Final Fantasy series. Cool. Anyway, what that term means (in the non-video game sense) is that you’re going to lose sleep and cause yourself angst because you think job hopping is something expected of you.
It’s not. So relax and do what comes naturally. Stay in a job if you like it, and move along if you don’t.
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