"Job Hopping" or Seeking Financial Security & Career Growth?


For Generation X & Y (I fall right in the middle), we came into the career world faced with recessions that led to downsizing, layoffs, pay-cuts, etc. , and many are forced to make periodic job transitions, or, as some call it, "job hop". Uncertainty is what we know. I spent 3.5 years in my 1st nursing position. When I see the term "job hopper", I cringe. Then I remind myself how my learning had plateaued, my responsibilities expanded with no formal opportunities for career advancement, and I saw a 10% staff reduction in the form of layoffs or early retirement (Would I be next???), leading me to realize an important lesson. Employers are not necessarily loyal to their employees. This lesson led me to ask the question: Should I be loyal to my employer, committing my career to one or two jobs? Well, you can guess the answer. I hope to find the perfect job with a massive learning curve and tangible opportunities for career advancement that I can settle into well beyond 3.5 years, but should I be labeled for the duration of employment of my 1st nursing position?

Questions for you & me:

1. Can you still contribute to an organization by only committing 3-5 years while you're there? I think it depends on what you do while you're there.

2. Do nurses "job hop", or are they seeking financial security and career growth? The latter, for the most part

3. Does this come down to a difference in generational experiences and perspectives? Yes!

4. Are there valid reasons to "job hop"? yes, & please stop calling it "job hopping"


1 Post

i know exactly where your coming from and no its is not job hopping, it is about personal development and progression.

one of my tutors always said to our cohort never be in one place more then 2-3 years because you become safe and stagnant if in one place to long, he also said he would not look at a cv let alone consider someone who had not had a broad experience.

i qualified jan 2008, and started in a&e in our small local hospital from qualifying, after two years ( and feeling safe and stagnant needing a challenge) i went to itu i stayed there six months, had a few issues with a member of staff, and also struggled with the isolation of being in a closed room for 12 hours. i missed the mdt working of the emergency dept between departmental staff and the specialisms that came to the dept. my old manager knew i was unsettled and unhappy and made it possible for me to go back. i went back summer 2010, but have now moved again.

i was feeling the need for a challenge, that i was not moving anywhere, or developing further, i have aspirations of being a sister or practitioner one day and knew where i was it would never happen. not i only have i gone from the emergency setting to a acute medical ward i have also gone to another hospital.

i wanted a challenge and that is what i have, a whole new ethos of working, a whole load of paper work to get used too. i have never had to do before, skills ive acquired but do not use.

often feeling like a secretary.

i miss the people i work with and emergency setting, but i will make the most of this challenge and change make the most of it.

changing jobs is about what you want, if you want career development and finacial gain along the way, it means moving. if you want to be settled happy comfortable and development or finance is not an issue stay as you are.

management do not stay loyal, it is each for their own when something goes wrong instead of looking at why and changing it or increasing staff, they look at the little people on the work floor and they will be treated unfairly or go before the topdog.

you have to think about what you want and do what you need to get there.

at the momment i feel unsure about my choice, i have gone from a job where i could do anything asked off me, and confident in everything i did, to the complete opposite, but im sure i will prosper long term.

good luck

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

It's wise to have a plan for your career trajectory and re-evaluate it periodically. I think we have different definitions of 'job hopping'. To me, staying in a job >2 years is certainly not 'hopping', it's just moving on. Positive reasons for changing jobs are: explore/learn a different type of nursing care; increase your level of responsibility; better work schedule to accommodate personal/home life, including return to school;etc.

Speaking as a boomer - we have experienced the same sorts of upsets you describe... anyone remember the loss of jobs in the 1980's??? We also have the added uncertainty of "graying out" of jobs as new technology is introduced and employers think we can't adapt. I do know of some folks who have spent their entire nursing careers with one employer, but all of them have held many different jobs during that time - usually changing every 3-5 years. One example is a Chief Nurse Exec who started as a nurse aide and ended her (40+ year) only last year. She had literally worked in all departments and in all sorts of jobs.

allnurses Guide

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

Most people don't consider it "job hopping" to change jobs after 3-5 years. "Job hoppers" are people who display a pattern of leaving several jobs after only a year or so (sometimes even sooner). A couple of job switches in a career is normal. That's not job hopping by most people's standards.

When considering a person's job record, and deciding whether to hire them or not ... most people also consider the type of job involved. How much orientation expense was involved. Did someone stick around just long enough to get the free training and then leave withour making it worthwhile for the employer? Or was it the type of job that required minimal orientation, and they were able to "earn their salary" from Day 1? etc.

RNperdiem, RN

4,581 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

I don't consider a 3-5 year stay job hopping either. A nurse who can be in charge and precept new people contributes a lot.

It wasn't necessarily "loyalty" that kept an older generation of company men in their jobs for life. To job hop implies that there is another employer willing to hire you, that you are valuable enough to hop from job to better job. The old-style companies prefered to hire people right out of school rather than someone who worked for another company. If you left your job also, you often lost your pension too.

As for question number 2, nurses move for all sorts of reasons, usually practical reasons like finding a job because of a move to another town, or work that fits family needs best.

Question #3: I suspect there is a generational difference. Age discrimination plays a role.

Question#4: The person doing the job hopping will always see it as valid of course :)

allnurses Guide

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

Question#4: The person doing the job hopping will always see it as valid of course :)

That is SO true.