Job hopping or contracts



  • I've had a couple of full time jobs since college but I didn't stay at either of them very long.  My first one working, for a large bank, lasted for one year.  My second, with an insurance company, lasted for one year and 4 months.  I've been traveling for the last two months and now I need to find a job for when I get home in a couple weeks.

    I'm kind of worried I've become a job hopper.  Would anybody hold this kind of history against me?  My references at these jobs are good, but I know someone doesn't want to hire me if it looks like I'm gonna quit in a year or so.

    So my second question is directed toward those of you that do contracts.  Recruiters always have a way of finding me and between dice and craigslist there are always plenty of 6-12 month contracts in big cities.  Do you guys like this kind of work?  Does it make you look like more of a job hopper?  Do you ever have problems finding work?

    Eventually I will need to settle down, but for now I'm sure whatever job I get next I won't stay at for too long unless it is something really great.  Am I screwing myself by not sticking with one job for a long time?



  • I wouldn't consider anything over a year to be "job-hopping".  When I was a hiring manager, the ones that set off alarm bells for me were with 2-3 positions in less than 9 months.  However, it was always useful to know whether those were contract jobs or not.  If someone does contract work, short durations like this are common and don't necessarily indicate a significant risk.

    As far as contract work, it really comes down to how you represent it. If someone is hiring you for a 6-month contract they're probably not going to blink at that kind of history.  Someone who wants to hire you as an FTE might, but I think you're pretty safe.  I have both types of experience on my resume, and I have been careful to identify them as such.  If it's contract work - or even if it was a full-time position where you left on good terms - it's easy enough to answer those kinds of questions honestly if someone takes issue with it.

    No company is perfect, but if you do contract work for a while you'll get exposure to a variety of environments and might find one that you like - or at least find some indicators of whether an environment is "good" or not.



  • @javaweeny said:

    I'm kind of worried I've become a job hopper.  Would anybody hold this kind of history against me?  My references at these jobs are good, but I know someone doesn't want to hire me if it looks like I'm gonna quit in a year or so.

    Anybody who hires significant numbers of people with only a couple of years experience and expects them to stick around for more than a year or so is either deluding themselves or just dumb.

    At any given level, a company can only afford to promote a handful of the people it has working for it. They'll stay. Another handful will stay because they just aren't that good, or don't care. The rest are going to move on to a company that has an opening which would be a promotion for them, usually after 1-2 years.

    (The benefits of experience tend to level out after 5-10 years, so after that point people tend to settle down more)



  • @javaweeny said:

    My first one working, for a large bank, lasted for one year.  My second, with an insurance company, lasted for one year and 4 months.

     

    Interestingly my first real gig was with an insurance company, lasted about 8 years, my current one is with a bank diversified financial institution, a little more than six years and I'm probably staying put here for a while due to great benefits, PTO policy, not so bad pay and I actually like it here.

    I've been fairly dedicated to my companies. I have not, however, ever been married to my job. So long as I can clock my 40 and do what I want with the rest of my life my job doesn't have to be fun, though it can be at times.  



  • Some stuff I've been reading says it's not too uncommon for someone to have up to 8 jobs during their 20's.  So thanks for the tips guys, it sounds like I'm still in good shape.

    Do any of you have experience with recruiters?  The comics on the front page are funny but they do have some truth to them.  Any recruiter I've ever talked to has been mostly brain dead and I question the quality of the contracts they are pushing.  But they seem like a convenient way to pick up a job quickly.



  •  Well the 8 would probably include bagging groceries and such, part-time gigs while in college, etc. I worked a shoe assembly line, folded laundry and pumped gas but I don't put any of that on my resume :-)

     

    Of course "describe your worst job" is usually fun in the team-building exercises ... (one always hopes of course no one mentions their current job in this scenario)



  • @javaweeny said:

    Do any of you have experience with recruiters?  The comics on the front page are funny but they do have some truth to them.  Any recruiter I've ever talked to has been mostly brain dead and I question the quality of the contracts they are pushing.  But they seem like a convenient way to pick up a job quickly.

    I've only been offered one job through a recruiter, and that was before they ever met me in person.  I made sure to take the time to drive the 300 miles (one way) to the office where I'd be working to meet the people I'd be working with.  I am glad I did that, as I ended up not working for the company after that.  Moral of the story, look some gift horses in the mouth if there is more foam than you're used to.



  • @javaweeny said:

    Do any of you have experience with recruiters? 

    There are two kinds of recruiters. The kind who works for XYZ corporation and is trying to get full-time employees to come work permanently at XYZ corporation is every bit as good or bad as XYZ corporation. The recruiter who hired me at EDS was a jerk, and the job sucked. The recruiter who hired me at RDA was fantastic, and the job rocks. But they represent a minority of recruiters, and it doesn't sound like this is what you mean.

    The other kind of recruiter works for ABC corporation and is trying to get contractors to work on a four-month contract at XYZ, or a six-month contract at QRS, or a temp-to-perm slot at LMNOP. That recruiter, in most cases, is a salesman. That is all. His job is to get you into the client's office and billing. He does not know or care whether you are qualified for the job. All he cares about is how many warm bodies he can put in high hourly rate positions.

    Now, that said, most of those warm bodies have one or both thumbs firmly planted up their backsides - if not their heads. So if you're good at what you do, this is a decent gig in your early career, because it won't take all that long before a client takes an interest in you.

    Be aware that your recruiter is not and will never be looking out for your best interests, no matter what he says. His interest is to keep you with his contracting firm working on his contracts. He does not want you to go to any other agency, take any other contracts, or get a full-time position. Many/most recruiters will outright lie to you rather than let these things happen. So if another recruiter calls you, he'll happily assure you that everything will be starlight and candy if you jump ship for his agency, while your existing recruiter will swear all up and down that you're going to die or go to jail if you leave. Do not trust these people. Keep a copy of your contract, read your contract thoroughly, and if you don't understand it talk to a lawyer. It may cost you a hundred bucks or so, but honestly, knowing your rights is worth thousands. All it takes is one solid recruiter bidding war to kick your hourly rate up ten or twenty bucks.

    There is also much less risk than you would think in just signing the contract and taking the job so you can earn a couple paychecks before talking to that lawyer. Most employment contracts at contracting agencies are deliberately constructed to be very, very scary even though the contract is actually unenforceable. That's why they have the little clause near the end that says even if some of the contract is unenforceable (read: illegal to put in an employment contract), the rest of the contract still applies. They know some of the contract is unenforceable. They're just betting you'll never know what parts.

     


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.