Skip To Content

    7 Times When Job-Hopping Is A Good Idea And 5 When You Might Want To Stay

    Should you stay or should you job-hop? Here's how to know.

    Truth: Job-hopping gets a bad rap. It's often pegged to the stereotypical image of a lazy, entitled millennial who never quite mastered any real skills, has zero accomplishments, and plods along career-wise among other things.

    CBC / Via media.giphy.com

    Also truth: Switching jobs every few years is super important to growing your career, and to level up your skills and money situation, explains Jill Jacinto, a millennial career expert.

    In fact, according to a recent report by the payroll company ADP, there's been a boost in job hoppers, no matter what industry you're in. Plus, job switchers saw an increase in wage growth of 5.8% since June 2020. 

    That can be chalked to the fact that during these times, companies are a-strugglin' to find and keep good talent. 

    But when is it time to go sniffing around for greener career pastures elsewhere, and when it is time to stay put? We talked to a few career experts to weigh in on how to know if you should stay or go at your current job:

    1. Job-hop if: You're no longer challenged.

    Nickelodeon / Via giphy.com


    Let's say you've hit a wall professionally. You can do your work in your sleep. The workweek feels like Groundhog Day, and the days are starting to bleed into one another.

    When you're bored out of your mind, it's a red flag that your job is no longer serving you.

    "When you've mastered your current role and are ready for a new challenge, it's time to move on," says Kimberly B. Cummings, a career expert, founder of Manifest Yourself and author of Next Move, Best Move: Transitioning Into a Career You Love.

    2. Job hop if: You're undervalued.

    ABC / Via giphy.com

    Not getting paid nearly enough? Or maybe there's nowhere to go or grow in terms of opportunities or income. See if coworkers are willing to spill the beans on how much they get paid.

    We get it. Talking about how much money you make to your work buds seems like bad form. But that's how the man gets you and keeps you from figuring out what you should be compensated fairly for.

    Not ready or can't really have that convo with colleagues yet? You can also check out salary information on career sites like Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, Indeed, or PayScale

    3. Job hop if: You're trying to escape bad management.

    Warner Archive / Via giphy.com

    No matter what your fancy title is or how great the perks are, if your boss sucks, you'll likely be pretty unhappy. And especially if your boss seems to be blocking you from moving upward in the company, it's probably best to jet.

    4. Job-hop if: It's a toxic environment.

    20th Century Fox / Via giphy.com

    If your time at work is toxic, then your life is going to be toxic, points out Cummings. "You might think you can make up for that on the weekends, but there's no way to make up for that many hours being terrible," says Cummings.

    For work-from-homers, it's not like you can escape to the breakroom for watercooler talk, or hang out with coworkers for a round of drinks at the local watering hole. "It's even worse now because that toxicity is essentially your home," says Cummings.  

    5. Job-hop if: There's a conflict that can't be fixed.

    Nat Geo Wild / Via giphy.com

    If there's ongoing tension between you and a colleague who has been there for decades, or you butt heads with your boss, it might be time to look for other jobs. "If you have a conflict that really isn't fixable, and it's going to affect your work and your impact, then it might be a good idea to leave," says Cummings.

    6. Job-hop if: You want a more diverse and inclusive environment.

    7. Job-hop if: You are seeking an industry that is more "future proof."

    Fox Searchlight Pictures / Via giphy.com

    Maybe you have it pretty good where you're at, but your job is in an industry that's going to be pretty much extinct in the next few years. Because of that, skills you learn on the job won't help you get more pay. Or good jobs and opportunities in the industry you're in are going to be pretty slim. 

    Findings from ADP reveal that one in seven workers (15%) are actively trying to move into a new industry that they consider more “future proof.”

    8. Stay if: Your employer cares about you.

    NBC / Via giphy.com giphy.com

    You have a boss that checks in and asks about the fam bam. Management has your back. The benefits are A+. You even get to clock out at a decent hour and have hobbies outside of work that aren't just finding more ways to work. The company might even have their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives dialed in, and these initiatives are actually making a difference.

    If your current job has all — or most — of that checked off, congrats. You've found a unicorn job, says Timothy Dixon-Traylor, a recruiter and DEI advocate.

    9. Stay if: Your job has *most* of the things you want.

    maxhellskitchen / Via giphy.com

    OK, OK. So the reality is that most jobs aren't unicorn jobs (hence the term "unicorn"). Should that be the case, if most of your base-level needs are being met, then consider staying at your current gig. To recap, let's run down the list of some questions to ask yourself, as explained by Dixon-Traylor:   

    • Are you getting paid for your experience? 

    • Does the benefits package work for you and your family? 

    • Do you have mentorship, training, coaching, and career development opportunities? 

    • Are you being challenged? 

    • Are you working on projects that are going to push you and that you're interested in? 

    • Do the leaders create an inclusive environment? 

    • Is the culture somewhere that I want my friends and other colleagues to join?

    Of course, most jobs probably don't have everything you need, just enough. But sometimes "good enough" is great.

    10. Stay if: You need to "shelter in job."

    Adult Swim / Via giphy.com

    In early 2021, many of us were what LinkedIn calls "sheltering in job." In other words, it was more about getting a steady paycheck and keeping our money situation stable during the pandemic.

    Do any of these situations sound like yours? You have bills to pay. You're spread thin. You've got kids to tend to. Your parents are moving in. You're dealing with physical or mental health ailments.

    Whatever the case may be, if your current personal situation can't really handle the work and time and energy suck that switching jobs entails, then honor that. The jobs will be there when you're ready.

    11. Stay if: You haven't maximized where you are.

    simianreflux / Via giphy.com

    As Cummings points out, it's way easier to get put on new projects or snag a promotion or raise at your current job than it is to get those same sweet opportunities at a new one. That's because when you switch jobs, you're the new kid on the block.

    "You can leverage that experience to make a bigger leap into your next move," says Cummings. "So if you know that you can get on a new project, that will give you the experience to make that transition easier." 

    12. Finally, stay if: There are folks at your job who can boost you.

    hyperrpg / Via giphy.com

    "If you know there are mentors and sponsors who you can cultivate better relationships with, who can advocate for you in that next move — essentially, if there is a skill or something to gas that will help you make the next move easier," says Cummings.

    If you're not where you want to be at work, but there are good vibes and supportive folks, stick it out, says Cummings. "You already have great relationships versus having to hit the reset button when you move externally, but you have to be strategic," she says. 

    "Full-time employees spend over 1,800 hours a year working," says Dixon-Traylor. "That's a lot of time. You spend so much time at work, physically or virtually, and so your workplace needs to show they care about you and your well-being."

    Bottom line: Whether you decide to job-switch or stay put, make the most of your job and the work that you do. Your vocation might not be a vacation. While it's not always awesome-fun time, it doesn't have to be hell on Earth, either.

    Are you thinking about leaving your job? Share the reasons why or why not in the comments.

    And for more stories about money and careers, check out the rest of our personal finance posts.