5 Reasons Why It's Acceptable To Job Hop In Your 20s

The term “job hopping” typically has negative associations. The concept of bouncing from job to job is sometimes linked to instability, lack of direction and an inability to hold a job for a decent period of time. It also plays into negative stereotypes about millennials, with people claiming that young workers don’t have company loyalty and are too indecisive when it comes to choosing a career path.

Don’t let these sentiments get in the way of your decision-making. There are some truly beneficial reasons to job-hop, and your 20s are as perfect a time as ever to take the plunge.

1. You’re not beholden to anyone else financially

For many of you, your first couple of years post-grad doesn’t consist of marriage and having kids. While these might be life goals of yours later on, it’s absolutely acceptable to focus on your career in the early part of this decade.

Since you don’t have a family or spouse to help support, your salary doesn’t need to be your highest priority right now, with the exception of obvious burdens like student loans. Take this time to try out different jobs and find what you’re passionate about. When that time comes that you have a family, you might have more pressure to stay in your same job for a couple years to reap the financial benefits.

While you're still just supporting yourself, you also want to make sure that your current salary works for you and your needs. If you've been at the same job for a year and are severely underpaid or can't pay student loans, but your employer won't adjust your salary, that is a justifiable reason to move on to another job.

Related: 9 Reasons to Quit Your Job Even if You Love it

2. You want to gain new skills to boost your resume

Depending on the industry, you might find that switching from one company to another allows you to gain different experiences than you might have had staying in the same job for a couple years.

Sydnee Lyons, a second-year graduate student at Florida Atlantic University, reflects on how job-hopping in between undergrad and grad school helped her to grow. “I collected a number of very different skills and experienced that I still rely on now in my grad program,” she says. “Job hopping helped me understand so much more of the real world than I would have had at one single job.”

By starting fresh at a different company, your tasks might change based on your new team’s needs and goals, which will only help you grow and gain a better perspective of how you fit into the working world as a post-grad.

In some cases, it's not a choice to want to get more experience elsewhere, but rather a necessity in order to move up. Alexandra Blessing, a PR professional, agrees. "The job market is complicated," she says. "Frankly, college grads apparently aren't even experienced enough for entry-level positions because most employers consider 'entry level' employees to have 1-3 years of professional experience after college graduation."

3. You’re having a career crisis

By the same token, job-hopping can allow you to aim closer towards your goals while figuring out what it is that you want to pursue.

No one has everything figured out in their 20s when it comes to their career. There is no harm in bouncing around a bit if it means moving one step closer towards what makes you happy. Like with college internships, you’ll find what makes you tick and what you despise with each role—these lessons will only help you succeed later on.

Shira Kipnees, a teacher who graduated in 2015, believes that an industry change early on is normal because it's difficult to understand the working world unless you're fully immersed in it. "When you graduate college, you really have no idea what the real world is like. Once you've spent some time seeing what makes you happy and what doesn't, what you're good at and what you're not, you can decide a career."

As long as each job-related decision you make is purposeful and strategic, it’s normal to take some time in your 20s to “find yourself” and take risks. If your first job is unrelated to your newly identified passion, stick it out for a year if possible to make the role appear more legitimate and purposeful on your resume. 

Related: How To Land Your First Job In a Field You Have No Experience In

4. Your health is at risk as a result of unhappiness in current role

You need to listen to yourself and fulfill your needs. Your health precedes any other aspect of your life, after all!

If you find that your current job is causing anxiety, feelings of depression or affecting your sleep, perhaps it’s time to rethink your current situation. It’s one thing to dislike your job, but it’s another to be miserable to the point where you’re dragging yourself out of bed each morning.

Even if you haven’t been at your company for a full year, it’s important to assess the situation and make decisions that will positively impact your overall well being—even if that means jumping ship. Many people are unhappy at work, which isn't an excuse in itself to jump, but if the negatives overtake the positives to a large degree, then either stick it out while applying for other jobs or quit if it is truly unbearable to stay.

5. You’re looking for a different work environment

Let’s say that your first job is working for Fortune 500 company where you’re a small fish in a big pond. You may find yourself having an itch to work with a smaller team and take on more responsibility. Why not try a start-up? 

You’ll never know whether you like a certain work culture or environment unless you dive right in and make the jump. Your surroundings can, in many cases, make as much of an impact on your career satisfaction as the type of work you’re a part of.

The people you’re surrounded by and a company’s culture will vary, so by job hopping you will expose yourself to different opportunities that allow you the time to find a place where your values and there’s are closely aligned.

Contrary to how it is sometimes perceived in our society, job-hopping is not always a bad thing. Rather, appreciate the time you have in your 20s to explore, get your feet wet with different tasks and absorb everything you can while you’re still young. You only live once, so why stay in the same role forever when you can expand your horizons?

Mara is a Boston native who ventured west for college, graduating from the University of Southern California in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Communication. She is passionate about marketing, journalism and digital media. Some of her favorite things include SoulCycle, trying new restaurants, country music and debating about the Oxford comma. To learn more about Mara, follow her on Twitter @marahyman.

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