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Job Hoppers Do Not Exist

A few month's ago I posted my resignation letter to LinkedIn and Instagram. It received a lot of feedback both positive and negative. It was even shared by Inside Voices. What I didn't share in my posts is that I had only been in that role for 1 month before leaving.

K’s resignation letter for their last role.

What's a "job hopper"?

There's not really a consensus online of where the term "job hopper" originated but most people speculate around the 1940's. This is important because the United States had just joined WWII and American propaganda centered around "production." A prominent poster during that time encouraged Americans to "Stop this Monster that Stops at Nothing. PRODUCE to the Limit!". It depicted a monster with two heads, one Nazi, one Japanese, clutching the Statue of Liberty in one hand and fending off American advances with the other. Nearby a hand holds a wrench with the inscription "production" -- the key to winning the war. Whew!

Propoganda posters for productivity during the 1940's.
Propoganda posters for productivity during the 1940's.

There's also not a consensus online of what a job hopper actually is. Chelsea Jay (She/Her), a Leadership Development coach, regularly posts polls on LinkedIn asking her audience for their answers to the question "What qualifies as a job hopper?" She usually has four answers along the lines of 1-3 years, 3-5 years, 8-10 years and a "use the comments" option.

I am always baffled to see the amount of people who choose 8-10 years!

Who gets to "hop"?

During the month I was in the role, I was left out of meetings, had someone with the same job title as I start the same day, given out-of-role tasks and after bringing up these issues saw my role be posted online for recruitment.

In the eyes of the people who voted 8-10 years on the polls mentioned above, I should have condoned this behavior as much as possible in order to remain in this role for as long as possible.

For many people who share my identities this isn't even an option.

People who share my identities are more likely to "hop" and thus more likely to be given the label of "job hopper" and an added layer of discrimination.

The idea that people should be prioritizing what a potential employer may think of them over their own safety is peak White Supremacy.

Be Great

By now most of us are aware of the Great Resignation. A title given to the 4.3 million people recorded by the Department of Labor who voluntarily left their jobs in 2021. It is not lost on me that this "Great Resignation" has not been depicted as such when people who share my identities partook in it all these years but I digress.

We are definitely moving forward as a society in the vein of understanding experience as it correlates to skill as well as why some people NEED to leave their current roles before it is "considered suitable". More and more organizations are looking into how to better retain their workforce, better monitor the mental health of their employees and ensure their overall safety.

It is not the 1940's anymore and it's time for us to seek out, extract and retire that type of thinking.

If you or someone you know is afraid to leave an unsafe environment due to being labeled a "job hopper" please take time to reflect on the following:

  • You are qualified and capable

  • You are an invaluable asset to any organization

  • You deserve to work in safety

  • You deserve to be treated fairly

I hope that one day this type of demeaning and dehumanizing language doesn't exist

but until then Happy Hopping!

Thank you for reading through! Hi, I’m K Mataōtama Strohl (They/Them). I’d love to be able to continue to share stories like this but I need your help to be able to do so. Please visit my Ko-Fi page to tip what you can and gain access to my other work. You can learn more about me and my work at the link below.

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