5 Things To Consider If You Want To Job Hop And Survive

Gone are the days of one-job-for-life. That phenomenon is a thing of the past.

Once upon a time being a job hopper was a grave sin and made if insurmountably difficult for you to land a new job. From the moment you sat in front of a prospective employer you were on the defensive against accusations of infidelity. Until recently it was a scarlet letter of sorts. But times have changed.

You can now job hop and more than just survive doing it. Well executed, a job change will enable you to obtain a more senior position (maybe even skip over one) and also get paid a heck of a lot more money.

A guy I knew did just that. The day he showed up at our bank it was to assume his third job in five years.

Adam (not real name)

Adam once held an Associate IBD role within an investment bank. Though he was paid well and worked for a leading bank, his ambition led him to jump to the buy-side where he joined a blue-chip private equity firm. On an exceptional package. Then, having barely memorised the password to his new workplace computer, he sought out his next move, which not long after landed him on the doorstep of my bank with a compensation package whose size could only be surpassed by that of his smile.

With each move Adam skipped a position and negotiated a more enormous pay package. Not bad, right?

Don’t be fooled, his path was anomalous. It would be challenging to replicate what he did. The reason being that his geographic expertise became fashionable almost overnight, making him highly “in demand” within the banking community. The timing was perfect.

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider job hopping. You just need to make a calculated decision.

So if you’ve decided it’s time to jump ship or have simply started thinking about it, then consider these 5 things first.

1. The right reasons

Are you changing jobs because you can’t stand your current one or because a great opportunity has presented itself and it’s just right. Think about it carefully.

You need to have good reasons for moving.

Changing jobs isn’t easy. It’s emotionally draining. You need to make new friends, get used to new routines. Establish new ties and win the approval of new people – not easy in shark-infested waters. Don’t underestimate the politics of banking.

So make sure the change fits with your long-term objective.

2. Speak to your mentor

If you don’t have one then you’re missing out and I would advise you find one fast. And not your line manager. You want someone who isn’t directly dependent on your output. Find someone senior at the bank who, preferably, has a great deal of clout. You want to turn this person into an uncle or aunt figure. That way you can share your personal ambitions with them and know they’ll give you the best advice, whether it’s what you want to hear or not.

3. Don’t mention to anyone you’re looking to move

Except to your mentor, whom you’ll have spent adequate time building a relationship with.

A friend of mine had boasted to colleagues he was interviewing with other banks and, somehow, his line manager found out and confirmed it. That year he literally received nothing in bonus. A big, fat zero.

4. Stay put for a while

When you start a new job, you’re in learning mode. You’re acclimating. Getting to know the way things works. Meeting new people. Figuring out the internal politics. Once you’ve settled in and adjusted you’ll start making meaningful contribution and generating revenue for the bank.

Don’t leave before you’ve had a chance to lead or manage a number of important projects. Because you don’t want to face your next potential employer and have difficulty coming up with milestones you achieved in your current position.

5. Beyond money

I’m aware this an audience of bankers and would-be bankers. And saying that money shouldn’t be the driver of job change may elicit a few laughs. But that is the truth.

Money and rank seldom make you happy. Working with team members you genuinely like, having autonomy and being passionate about your work is what counts.

One thought on “5 Things To Consider If You Want To Job Hop And Survive

  1. P says:

    Hey ibanker.
    I am just starting off with my first internship in financial due diligence and I just want to thank you for playing a role in this decision. Your writing and your experiences have motivated me at each step. I hope to have such experiences myself somewhere down the line.

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