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A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-21-2006, 09:33 PM   #1
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A different perspective on job-hopping

My BIL the CPA has changed jobs again. This is his sixth switch in ~20 years, back to a firm he's worked with before. I think he's setting some sort of record for longevity-attention-span deficit but he's happy and his pay rises with each move.

He freely refers to himself as an "accounting slut"-- he'll work for anyone who treats him well. His first four hops were among three guys who started as partners and then split up. They spent the next dozen years poaching each others' best employees and my BIL merrily joined the fray to keep ratcheting up his paycheck. The DC area has enough high-net-worth taxpayers for everyone to do their returns.

He was happy working for the people after his fourth switch although his commute sucked-- about an hour each way through heavy Beltway traffic (plus winter!). He was going through a car every three-four years and he wasn't very happy about the expense & time situation. He started fantasizing his way through the local classified ads and was stunned to see his job description posted for a place only 15 minutes from home. He interviewed, they loved each other, and he hopped without a thought.

For the first few years he was happy and it looked like he was going to set a longevity record. Over the last two years, however, he's realized that he enjoys doing tax returns more than he enjoys having to supervise people doing tax returns. This was his first real supervisory position. The firm had made him a junior managing partner with a four-figure bonus but he had to ride herd on 30 junior accountants who he alternately refers to as "the children" and "those #$%^ed slackers". It may not be very professional to behave that way but CPAs make enough money doing taxes that he felt he didn't have to develop his leadership & supervisory skills. As soon as he realized his problem he told his bosses that he wanted out of his supervisory responsibilities.

And the situation dragged on for those two years. The partners didn't want to take over his supervisory duties, he didn't really want to quit over the issue, and they kept bribing him with more money & comp time. However the last straw cracked when his boss, one of the partner CPAs, took off the entire month of March to go skiing in the Rockies. (This is great for skiers but it's considered very poor behavior for a CPA at a tax firm trying to make the 15 April deadline.) The 30 employees weren't very happy about the partner's leadership example either.

My BIL was percolating with discontent when he ran into one of his old co-workers. One lunch led to another and suddenly he was interviewing for his sixth hop, another combination of partners from one of his old firms. It'd require a return to the commute he'd hated so much, but that problem turned out to be solved by a combination of money & comp time. In his words-- he'd rather waste his time commuting than supervising.

It's not about ruling the world or running his own business, either. His spouse can retire at age 55 from her job with an optimum combination of pension & benefits. He's planning to keep working until then, only another 10 years, so he doesn't care about rising to the top of the profession. In the meantime, the new job doesn't start until 1 Sep!

So this change is a little different from the usual ladder-climbing debate. He went to a worse commute for about 20% more money. The new firm is actually denying him health benefits so that he can join the health plan at his spouse's company. This job switch wasn't about more education, a climb up the corporate ladder, or better benefits-- just more money for, oddly enough, fewer supervisory requirements. It's something to consider if you're facing a similar situation.
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-21-2006, 09:46 PM   #2
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

I talk to my dad's friends, which have varied from staying in one job for 30 years, similar responsibilities to... working for a company, "retiring", but then consulting for basically the same job - but any company. ... to several variations inbetween. One guy: started in engineering, to a cash job, to easement negotiation.

It seems like job hopping might keep you fresh (as far as diversity of job skills). Might keep you happy (new challeges, less stress of the same old monotony, etc.).

That's something I've thought about. Hell, I like my job, but I've thought of job hopping just to try something different. I've only worked at this job for five years, but I feel I have it all figured out, everything has just become a "variation on a theme".

Some people are bored easily. Some aren't risk takers and just stay in the rut for 30 years.

"A rut is a coffin with the ends kicked out."

I dunno.

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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-21-2006, 09:46 PM   #3
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

Depends on your field, but if you look at academics, moving up the ladder sometimes means moving from university to university. Often you are appreciated outside your own faculty more than you are within. You get wooed with money, research opportunities, promotion, and off you go. I've had 3 jobs over about 20 years, and each left me much better off professionally and personally. Big negative is having to move farther from the kids in the later years.

Most of my colleagues who stayed put are not too happy professionally and are making considerably less than I am, but that's a choice they have made.

Then there's big business - many middle and upper managers are "strongly encouraged" to move often in order to move up the ladder.

I'll leave it to you to describe what military moves are all about.
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-21-2006, 09:59 PM   #4
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa

<snip>

I'll leave it to you to describe what military moves are all about.

</snip>
Heck if the military is doing it... it must be a good idea.

CC <--- smart@$$

Another thing... maybe I'm crazy, but at 29, after interacting with the Army National Guard at trainings, etc. and exposure to Air Force "lifers", I sometimes wish I'd have signed on with either to learn more about leadership, challenge, working under stress, and that sort of thing.

... or was that just recruiters filling me full of BS.

On the other hand, one of my Army NG buddies is pulling a trigger in Iraq, right now.

-CC



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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-22-2006, 12:56 AM   #5
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
I'll leave it to you to describe what military moves are all about.
Damn, we were hoping you could explain it to us.

We don't gain enlightenment by doing it more frequently!
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-22-2006, 07:51 AM   #6
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

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Originally Posted by Nords
Damn, we were hoping you could explain it to us.
We don't gain enlightenment by doing it more frequently!
What is the rationale behind that whole deal? They don't want you getting too cozy with any peer group? Security? "Training effect" for adaptability? Never did fathom why they do that.
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-22-2006, 11:10 AM   #7
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
What is the rationale behind that whole deal? They don't want you getting too cozy with any peer group? Security? "Training effect" for adaptability? Never did fathom why they do that.
Yeah, heaven forbid a crew should actually get to know each other and form a cohesive team that could accomplish a mission without having to contend with 30% annual turnover.

I feel plenty secure in Pearl Harbor. However some take comfort in knowing that they don't have to spend the rest of their careers in New London, CT... or Reykyavik.

There's no problem ensuring that the daily routine is chaotic enough to provide plenty of adaptability training. Sort of like running the Emergency Room in a crack-cocaine neighborhood with a gun problem.

I can't speak for the other services, but in the Navy I think it's two things. First, everyone is presumed to be capable of someday rising to become the Chief of Naval Operations or the Chairman of the JCS. We have to make sure that they see every job everywhere to prepare for that, no matter whether they're happy to stay in one place doing whatever crappy jobs allow them to stay there. Sorry, you have to stop specializing and support your career development. Besides the rest of the guys want their turn at Pearl Harbor, or they need you in Reykyavik.

Second, most homeports don't have a good balance between sea & shore-duty jobs. Every ship has plenty of cooks to feed the crew, but there just aren't enough shore-duty cooking jobs (most of them are contracted to civilians) to support their rotation between shore & sea. Junior officers roll ashore to teach at schools or to go to schools, and not every homeport has every type of school. The pyramid gets smaller as people rise in seniority and it just gets tighter.

I think it's been decided that it's cheaper to spend ~$10K per family every 2-3 years to move everyone around. However I'd love to see the activities-based costing analysis that shows moves are cheaper than improving the billet infrastructure. I know that moving funds are the first to get cut at the end of the fiscal year!
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-22-2006, 02:39 PM   #8
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

Nords,

Teamwork means never getting to know your teammates. Besides corporate America does it so it must be good for the military! Or, could it be that familiarity breeds contempt for officers only concerned with making their next rank as quickly as possible.

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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-22-2006, 03:45 PM   #9
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

Job hopping: it depends on a lot of factors.*

A partnership morfs and the employee follows one of the partners.* Change of employer?* Technicially yes, but if well presented on a resume -no.

Recruited away by a former associate?* Yes, but if described artfully it can be regarded as above.

It depends on the occupation.* If a profession is in high demand (aka CPA), and all the other factors positive, it shouldn't be a big deal.* Employers hate to see more than one employment less than 3 years for no good reason.
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-23-2006, 11:06 AM   #10
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

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Originally Posted by setab
Or, could it be that familiarity breeds contempt for officers only concerned with making their next rank as quickly as possible.
Strange, isn't it? One of my jobs was making sure that my troops made rank as quickly as possible, yet when officers try to do the same it's somehow seen as careerism...
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-23-2006, 04:09 PM   #11
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

In the Army as you move up in rank (especially officers) billets a few and far between on an installation. For instance, I was a finance officer and there was only two slots on the installation were I was stationed at. If I would of gotten promoted I would have had to move to another installation that had a billet for that rank. If you throw in a military spouse you end up with twice the headache with moving and assignments.
When I left, the Army was implementing a homestead plan meaning you could be in one location for more than four years without it adversly affecting your career. Sounds good if your stationed in Ft. Lewis, WA or Ft. Carson, CO not so good if you get stuck with Ft. Drum, NY or Ft. Polk, LA.
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-23-2006, 04:51 PM   #12
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords

I feel plenty secure in Pearl Harbor.* However some take comfort in knowing that they don't have to spend the rest of their careers in New London, CT... or Reykyavik.
The husband's last duty station before coming here to Japan was 29 Palms, CA. Thank God the USMC let us leave! Although I can think of worse places - Yuma, AZ anyone?

Usually when a duty station sucks they tell you "But its great for families!" I translate this to: "You'd better hope you have a family to spend time with, because there ain't nothing else to do here."
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-24-2006, 01:27 PM   #13
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

Hi,
I'm 27 and have been in CPA career track for about 3 1/2 years. I've switched jobs about 3 times already. I'm an unusual case but it's normal for people with my background to have switched 2 times so far. I think all across the board from beginning to experienced CPAs, it's normal for them to switch every 3 yrs. For me, I switch mostly because I'm bored at a job, more money, or better hours. On every switch, I've increased my salary pretty significantly so it's pretty hard to pass up. The way I look at it, if I switch every couple of years, I'll be raising my salary by certain percentage until I get to a desired salary where I can pay my mortgage and fully fund retirement. Then, I have the option of just staying put in that job or switch, in case, I would make more money so it's just gravy. If I stay at one job for an extended period of time and get 3% raises, it would take me a loooong time to get to the desired salary.
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-24-2006, 01:47 PM   #14
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

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I think all across the board from beginning to experienced CPAs, it's normal for them to switch every 3 yrs.
IT is a pretty high turnover area as well. There are segments where people stick around for a long period of time, but they tend to be less than stimulating. If I had to count all my clients since the late 1980s, I would run out of tentacles!*
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-24-2006, 02:44 PM   #15
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

When I was approaching 9 years at the same company, I job-hopped, too. I began to panic that 10 years at the same company would make me look tainted...what, no ambition? enjoy that rut? (Not really--I worked in 3 different parts of the company, and although it was all tech writing & editing, the products were as different as software products could be.) Anyhow if I hadn't hopped, I likely wouldn't've been able to ER, not this E anyway

DH hopped a lot more often, averaging maybe 4 years per employer, but some stints were much shorter. He only stayed as long as he could design new products. He enjoyed the challenge of bug-fixing, but was easily bored with the march of product updates.
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-24-2006, 02:48 PM   #16
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

My father always told me that job hopping was okay as long as you increased your pay and reduced your level of responsibility.
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-24-2006, 05:01 PM   #17
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

Once you are on the payroll salary increases are limited by the employer's compensation policy* - evaluations, promotions.

When you change jobs it is negotiation time.* *Usually changing employers every 4 or so years will result in higher income than you would have had with the former employer.

There are a lot of 'ya, buts' in the above and job hoppers risk pricing themselves out the door during restructuring, however, clinging tightly to an employer for many years is rarely rewarded.
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-24-2006, 06:23 PM   #18
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

I like what my dad did. He was in a position to negotiate, so after he got an offer from a another hospital, he went back to his with more or less a list of demands - i.e. here's what it is going to take for me to stay. Of course, this only works if you're actually in a position to negotiate, and that you like your current employment setting. When I was working as an actuary, I saw this work almost as much as leaving.

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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-24-2006, 07:50 PM   #19
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

The counter-offer situation works sometimes, but rarely several times, with an employer.* An adept negotiator can make it clear where they see themselves comp-wise at the time of their annual review.* Most comp systems have a pay range for a job and they fight like heck to keep pay around the mid-point.* The mid-point is what I would term the 'journey' man/woman in the job.* If you are at the 'crafts' or artisan level it can be easier to negotiate for a new job title with a higher range than claw yourself up above the 70th percentile.
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping
Old 07-24-2006, 10:33 PM   #20
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Re: A different perspective on job-hopping

ats5g,

Lesson #1: Beware. They forget their promises quickly.

Lesson #2: Don't buy promises. Get everything up-front.

One Who Knows



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