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Dear AAPAAN
A forum for students and alumni of the Asian American UVA Community
Category:
Career

I am considering changing jobs after working a year. Is that too soon? How many times can I change jobs before it’s too much?

Dear AAPAAN:

I am considering changing jobs after working a year. Is that too soon? How many times can I change jobs before it’s too much? The company I work for isn’t doing well and is already laying off employees. — Anonymous

Dear Anonymous

Very good question, and it depends. The better question to ask is, “Is there a reason why I should move on from my company?” Everyone has career goals no matter what career path they are in. If you are with a company but don’t have a career goal, then you may not be in the right company or you are locking yourself in a place that isn’t truly helping you grow in the long-term. What do I mean by that?

You may find yourself to be in a temporary landing pad to springboard off to your next big gig, or maybe you are working because you must, and your current workplace is the only job you can find, but it’s not quite what you had in mind to be doing every day for the rest of your life. Maybe you feel that you are pigeon holed to do the same thing repeatedly and not presented with growth opportunities to showcase your ‘true’ abilities.

If you can relate to any of the above, I applaud you for feeling uncomfortable because I have found comfort to be the greatest impediment to growth. I distinctly remember 5 years into my mid-level career job, thinking, “I can get used to this, but is this what I am satisfied with doing 5 years from now?”

My experience is that if you have this feeling of discomfort and feel that moving on to the next available opportunity is best, I say, “Go for it!” In the current economy, switching jobs after 10 months of being hired is okay because of the low unemployment rate nationwide, and the fact that remote jobs are in abundance everywhere, which means that most corporations are searching for highly skilled workers, wherever they are, to fill those unique positions that require specific job skills you out of many others, may possess!

Moreover, because of the boom in highly-skilled technology related jobs, candidates who are ‘looking for challenges’ is someone I would view is seeking to solve the next big business challenge and has a knack for problem-solving, a characteristic of current millennials I find to be mostly genuine and worthwhile. But, I warn you, if you are at the interview table to solve world’s problems, you may be going in too idealistically. Instead, think about how you will not only solve problems, but be realistic about your ability to solve them so that you can ultimately gain the recognition of your future evaluators. Evaluations can go two ways, meeting expectations or not.

As a Team Lead, I find eager beavers in my team who are willing to take on just about anything, even solve world hunger. These individuals are so eager, that at times, they initiate problem solving to their own demise. It’s one thing to solve an automation problem that has the assembly line humming to increase the efficiency of widget production, but it’s another when you tout your skills and are causing more problems in the process of asserting your skills at the cost of team communication, collective team productivity, and collaboration. Who cares if you can program a Python script that automates and compiles build files when you disrupt the sequence of product release steps by bypassing the order of quality audits that others have built to catch missteps before a fully developed “completed” product is released?

In today’s complex work environment, so many business problems and organizational challenges exist that require team communications, collaboration, and group solutioning, that it is rare unless you are a licensed Dentist, Doctor, or Lawyer that you would find yourself be the sole owner of a product development cycle that involves turning ideas into viable goods and services all by yourself. Because of this, it’s important to consider as a future job interviewer when making the move, that unless you have adequate knowledge of your entire product development lifecycle, you prepare yourself for success in applying your skills in all areas of production, so that when the time comes, you can be recognized as a true expert in the organization. If you can honestly answer this where you are, you may be in a great situation to move on… or stay.

When considering to change jobs because the company is not doing too well, I suggest you look for companies that have a good reputation in the market, and try to also seek out communicating with those within the current company that are ‘in-the-know’ about the company’s health in order to plan your exit strategy accordingly. If you have had a prior history of changing jobs in less than one year, factor this into your exit strategy so that there is no recurring history on your resume. If you find an opportunity that will not come again in a long time, look deep within you to see if now is the right time or if you have more learning to do in your current job. Keep the principle of ‘The grass always looks greener on the other side,” in mind.

Jamie

jwr4d@alumni.virginia.edu