Does job-hopping push your product career? | Product Professionals
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Does job-hopping push your product career?

Magic happens outside your comfort zone. Really?

Job-hopping can speed up your career as a product professional tremendously and helps you to try out a variety of roles and workplaces while learning new skills along the way.
For years, experts have warned that recruiters screen out chronic job-hoppers and look rather for loyal employees. The reasons for that are simple: losing a talent after a couple of months creates a lot of cost for the employer before the investment pays off. There are costs for talent acquisition and hiring, onboarding, training and development.
Nowadays employers start seeing the benefit of employees who wish to develop a broader skillset. As our environment changes quickly it became more and more important to be able to adapt quickly to new circumstances. Employees that change their job more often, proof to have a higher capability of adaption. This flexibility in our fast-pacing, uncertain VUCA world is seen as a huge benefit among employers. By changing companies and leaving your comfort zone you demonstrate ambition, motivation and the desire to learn new skills.

// ADVANTAGES

1. Leverage your salary and position easier

This point sounds fairly obvious. However, many professionals tend to believe that staying with the current company will, literally, pay off at some point. True to the motto “little strokes fell big oaks”. In fact, you have a much better lever concerning salary and position when changing the company. Based on our experience the salary can increase by 10% easily when you change to another company. Of course, that number varies a lot and depends on many factors such as industry, region and age. And do not underestimate your strong negotiation position when you apply out of an ongoing employment – it is the best chance to aim at a high lever. The same applies to your position. If it is your goal to climb one step up the ladder, shoot for it.

2. Flourish in a new environment

Leaving familiar surroundings opens doors to new experiences. Embrace the change of the company culture and soak up new impulses. It might be tough in the beginning to get used to an unknown territory, but the experiences you will make and the knowledge that you gain is invaluable. Depending on how big your move is, you might find yourself dealing with completely different issues than before, you need to apply other collaboration models than you were used to and the known practices suddenly won´t work anymore. Those situations are the experiences that will let you grow and become better in your role as a product professional.

3. You grow your network

Having a strong network is key if you want to move up the career ladder. Therefore, leaving the current company will extend your network automatically as you meet new teammates and colleagues that add value to your already established connections. You will get inspired by new colleagues, will benefit by learning from them and discover new ways of thinking. Always keep in mind that those people might leave the company too at some point, and are then a highly valuable contact for you. They can introduce you to important people within other companies or maybe even hire you straight away. Read more about the importance of key personalities in your network here.

4. Place your superpower

When changing the company you can be certain that you have been hired for a good reason. You have been selected because you bring value to the company in a specific way. Leverage it, position yourself! Be the expert for a special topic, bring in your knowledge from your previous position, show your superpower. Starting a new job is always a greenfield approach to a certain extent. Use this unique situation for your own good.

// DISADVANTAGES

1. Change eats energy for breakfast

Leaving your comfort zone always requires effort. Especially in the beginning, an extremely high energy level is demanded. New impressions, environments and circumstances suck up your batteries. You should be aware of that fact. Every beginning is hard. However, this is part of the adventure and should be taken as a source for learning. Make sure to pace yourself right though. In particular, that holds true for climbing up the seniority level too fast. You want to make a move? Fine, but do so at your natural speed. Do not aim for the Director position right away; instead grow with a reasonable pace. Push yourself to aim higher, but do it cautiously.

2. You need to find a balance

Too much job-hopping is hard to explain. In your following interviews it can awake the impression that you are not a loyal employee. As the new company invests a lot of money in hiring you they usually want to make sure that you stay with them for a certain period of time until these financial efforts pay off. Therefore, you should be careful about hopping too often, too fast. If you do so anyways ensure that you are able to have a coherent explanation ready. Some of those reasons we put together for you above and in our article “Should you quit to climb up the career ladder?”. Pick them up and think about your personal reasons for leaving your company.

3. High risks

Stepping into new adventures always comprises risk. Once you leave your known territory it is not certain anymore what awaits you on the other side. The project you should work on turns out to be less exciting than you thought, your team is not as funny as the last one and your manager is hard to work with. Another risk that I can recall from my own experiences, is the risk of company restructures and personnel changes. When I joined a new company, almost every time I had the luck to join when everything was just about to change. Teams split up, my manager quit after a couple of months, I changed the office location, and basically started from scratch. Those situations are not unlikely to occur as businesses regularly update themselves. When joining a startup for example you may face the next financing round fall through. If a company gets into financial trouble, usually new employees in their probation period need to leave first. In general, you always need to count in the risk that you will not make it through the probation period. It might be a good idea to have some liquidity on your bank account in case everything goes south. Of course, you are an ambitious Product Manager with a positive attitude; just be aware of the risks.

// Everything comes at a price. Leaving your current employer might be the best experience of your lifetime or the biggest disaster ever. The grass looks always greener on the other side. Either way, ensure that you reflect well on your goals and balance out wisely which option is the best to achieve those goals. The answer is not always crystal clear. If you are uncertain, consult a friend and talk to others about your aspirations. It is always good to take several viewpoints into account. In the end, you have to figure it out for yourself. Be courageous, be bold, be true to yourself.


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Written by Sabrina Rzepka & Tobias Beau
Written by Sabrina Rzepka & Tobias Beau

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