Gabazira's blog

The Effectiveness-Lab

Job hopping and what it says about you

Learn to build a world you yearn for in the world that you inherited.  To those individuals that job hop: serve a minimum of four years in a job. It’s not that difficult if your mind is programmed to view employment through a personal effectiveness than efficiency lens. Job hopping is indeed more of an employee than employer centric matter

Yesterday, I met someone that has worked for one organisation for 40 years. This person started working before I was 10 years old. The worrying thing for me is that I look ten years older than this individual. And the admirable thing for this individual is that they still look incredibly young – lanky, straight-bodied, and full of positive energy.

This person’s long tenure got us thinking about job hopping. Job hopping is a pattern of changing jobs every year or two, of one’s volition. In HR-speak – it’s called voluntary-exit.

Next stop?

Is it good to job hop? Is job hopping inevitable in a turbulent, fast-moving business environment? An environment in which skill requirements change as fast as the products and services brought to market. An environment in which staff loyalty doesn’t last very long. A world of scarcity and complexity, but also opportunity – this kind of societal fogginess, encourages job-hopping. Perhaps some kind of job hopping in a turbulent world is acceptable, but not excessive and impulsive job hopping

Apparently, even professions and institutions that have time immemorial remained the same, because of the devotion and passion of those that serve them, are now experiencing job hopping. Observing what is happening in our Church, even honchos of us the faithful, now acknowledge that it’s near impossible to hold on to staff forever at one of the oldest institutions in society. Lately, Churches have been forced to write business plans; and Church staff, even in the service of God, become dissatisfied with what they are doing, disagree with their leaders and have resigned and moved on. Yes, priests are job hopping!

But – do all the above justify job hopping? Is there something amiss with the individual that clocked 40 years in one organisation? What is in their DNA? What is in the DNA of the institution they have served that long? Are these two a rare species today?

Teasing out what differentiates job hoppers from those that don’t hop:

Well, this is our view on job hopping and what drives it. Those of you that are efficient at what you do are more likely to practice job hopping than individuals that believe in effectiveness. Yes, we know it’s a different way to look at this issue.

Some people will ask how effectiveness and efficiency relate to job hopping. These individuals are used to blaming employers for job hopping. We consider job hopping an employee-centric matter

For those people that have an efficiency mindset, the end justifies the means. In effect, these people don’t always think about what is right or fair. As long as the end is or looks right, they will jump ship and move on to their next employment world. Simple as that. They will excuse their lust for the ‘good end’ to dump employers.

On the other hand, is the effectiveness mindset. To this lot, doing the right thing is far more critical in their values regime, than doing things ‘right’. They are the Puritans at the workplace. The end doesn’t justify the means. They practice more thoughtfulness before changing employers. The efficiency lot consider them silly and naive. Mainly because some employers don’t even value puritanism at work and the Puritans seem to be flogging a dead horse

Yet, the effectiveness mind brings a lot of positivity in the workplace. They:

  • Encourage those that want to jump ship, to remain in the company
  • Lessen the pain from certain employer vices, where that is the case – they are the ideal role models to the rest when it comes to perseverance and tenacity in a job, despite what it throws at them
  • They bring reality to those that have a myopic view of work and the workplace – they preach about all workplaces having dirty-linen and that it’s about finding coping mechanisms as you work to fix them
  • They present a different paradigm in regards to work satisfaction. This type of worker is satisfied when they do good at work and for the brand, even when it takes a toll on their mind and body. They make work look like the traditional priesthood. Now, is this not a dying species?

So what?

We quickly delve into the implications for both schools of thought. It’s not healthy to have short stints in jobs on your CV – employers and other individuals may interpret many things from that: i.e. that you aren’t reliable, not thick-skinned enough and therefore can’t stand the pressure, aren’t competent enough in your technical area, your past job/s have been a fluke, etc.

While long tenure derives immediate trust and confidence in you. You would rather lose trust when appearing before the interview panel than at the time someone is reviewing your CV. Solid experience is attained out of long tenure in a job and company. Mind you, it takes on average 10,000 hours to become an expert at something – that is approximately 4 years of working hard, for 48 hours a week.

Now, we are acutely aware that some employers may not want you to serve them that long. Increasingly, employers may not grant longer than one to two-year contracts. In effect, employers can make you an involuntary job-hopper. Well, difficult as it may be, work hard to get your contract extended multiple times – it’s about proving your quality at the gate; and as much as possible work with employers that appreciate the value of personal commitment, hard work, a learning attitude and belief in a long tenure

Our advice to those individuals that are job hopping: serve a minimum of four years in a job. It’s not that difficult if your mind is programmed to view employment through personal effectiveness than efficiency lens. Learn to build a world you yearn for in the world that you inherited


5 responses to “Job hopping and what it says about you”

  1. kinuthia hellen wambui Avatar
    kinuthia hellen wambui

    Great message-the turn over of staff tells a tail,however if the brand remains without a correct demographic data management is at risks.Always maintainance of staff is key for continuity.


  2. Great article. However, you do not prescribe the optimum number of years one should spend in a job and neither do you prescribe the maximum!! May be subject for your next blog


    1. Thanks Enoka for reading the blog – optimum & maximum tenure come down to several dynamics: personal factors (what I at times call the hygiene factors between employer and employee) – new assignments to work on to maintain viable engagement at work + continuously learn and of course, company fortunes

      So for the above reasons, I took a minimalist approach and gave the least number of years to spend in a job and didn’t define the rest 😜


  3. This will be a very long lecture for people born after 1980 (millennial). Research has shown that whatever the work environment and conditions – they will job hope. That is them by nature!

    But what are you the CEOs and your HRMs doing to keep them in the jobs for long? This could be a thick holiday package!


    1. Okugga – yes, the millennial management challenge should become a specialised area of study for managers

      It’s critical to the survival of the modern organisation and we should take it seriously

      Thanks for reading the blog!


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About Me

Apollo B. Gabazira is an Ugandan OD. junkie fascinated by matters that render organisations/individuals effective or not. He blogs on effective leadership and management. He is a devoted green-farmer and breeds the Ayrshire cow at Nakabugu, Luuka district, Uganda. Apollo is quite effective at what he chooses to do.


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