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What is the right time to switch job?

Posted: August 8th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Musings | 10 Comments »

It’s a human nature. We get bored of things very fast and our jobs are no exception. Sooner or later we all start to get a felling of switching job, we have n number of reasons to switch like pay package, moron boss, a drowning company , peer pressure, hunger for more work/better role, no recognition/appreciation at work et al.

Although, no job is perfect and grass always looks greener at the other side. We think that our jobs suck here and in other companies all is hunky dory. But still, considering all factors normal, when one should optimally switch a company.

I have observed two kind of persons ( yeh jo world hai na world isme 2 type ke log hote hain) the ones who think that working longer period of time would look good on their resume and shows the loyality for the company and others who don’t give a heck about it and keep hopping the jobs every other year and their salary package keeps getting fatter by every switch.

I am old fashioned and used to think that a person should work in a company for at least 2 years. After these 2 years if there are enough reasons like you feel stagnant then you should think about switching your job. However, I have recently observed that no period is optimal/ minimum to stay or switch. People leave companies in even 6 months of joining. However, I understand that no matter how hard you work you will not get a decent raise until you switch the company unless you have a very good luck but does that mean you should greed and strategically keep switching the job every other year?

At the end of it, it’s your call to stay in a job or to move on. However, I am still puzzled what’s the optimal time to switch the company considering all the factors stay normal? I remember, NIIT had this tag line in 90s, if you are not studying at NIIT, you are missing something. I think in today’s scenario there is no such thing like loyalty for company and this tag line can be used as: if you are not switching your job in every 1-2 year, you are missing something.

The following e-mail forward makes me think whether it is really a good plan to switch jobs every other year without giving much thought to career plan. (the origin of email not known).

Interesting…..Don’t miss last 2 Questions…
Some, rather most organizations reject his CV today because he has changed jobs frequently (10 in 14 years). My friend, the ‘job hopper’ (referred here as Mr. JH), does not mind it…. well he does not need to mind it at all. Having worked full-time with 10 employer companies in just 14 years gives Mr. JH the relaxing edge that most of the ‘company loyal’ employees are struggling for today. Today, Mr. JH too is laid off like some other 14-15 year experienced guys – the difference being the latter have just worked in 2-3 organizations in the same number of years. Here are the excerpts of an interview with Mr. JH:

Q: Why have you changed 10 jobs in 14 years?
A: To get financially sound and stable before getting laid off the second time.

Q: So you knew you would be laid off in the year 2009?
A: Well I was laid off first in the year 2002 due to the first global economic slowdown. I had not got a full-time job before January 2003 when the economy started looking up; so I had struggled for almost a year without job and with compromises.

Q: Which number of job was that?
A: That was my third job.

Q: So from Jan 2003 to Jan 2009, in 6 years, you have changed 8 jobs to make the count as 10 jobs in 14 years?
A: I had no other option. In my first 8 years of professional life, I had worked only for 2 organizations thinking that jobs are deserved after lot of hard work and one should stay with an employer company to justify the saying ‘employer loyalty’. But I was an idiot.

Q: Why do you say so?
A: My salary in the first 8 years went up only marginally. I could not save enough and also, I had thought that I had a ‘permanent’ job, so I need not worry about ‘what will I do if I lose my job’. I could never imagine losing a job because of economic slowdown and not because of my performance. That was January 2002.

Q: Can you brief on what happened between January 2003 and 2009.
A: Well, I had learnt my lessons of being ‘company loyal’ and not ‘money earning and saving loyal’. But then you can save enough only when you earn enough. So I shifted my loyalty towards money making and saving – I changed 8 jobs in 6 years assuring all my interviewers about my stability.

Q: So you lied to your interviewers; you had already planned to change the job for which you were being interviewed on a particular day?
A: Yes, you can change jobs only when the market is up and companies are hiring. You tell me – can I get a job now because of the slowdown? No. So one should change jobs for higher salaries only when the market is up because that is the only time when companies hire and can afford the expected salaries.

Q: What have you gained by doing such things?
A: That’s the question I was waiting for. In Jan 2003, I had a fixed salary (without variables) of say Rs. X p.a. In January 2009, my salary was 8X. So assuming my salary was Rs.3 lakh p.a. in Jan 2003, my last drawn salary in Jan 2009 was Rs.24 lakh p.a. (without variable). I never bothered about variable as I had no intention to stay for 1 year and go through the appraisal process to wait for the company to give me a hike.

Q: So you decided on your own hike?
A: Yes, in 2003, I could see the slowdown coming again in future like it had happened in 2001-02. Though I was not sure by when the next slowdown would come, I was pretty sure I wanted a ‘debt-free’ life before being laid off again. So I planned my hike targets on a yearly basis without waiting for the year to complete.

Q: So are you debt-free now?
A: Yes, I earned so much by virtue of job changes for money and spent so little that today I have a loan free 2 BR flat (1200 sq. feet) plus a loan free big car without bothering about any EMIs. I am laid off too but I do not complain at all. If I have laid off companies for money, it is OK if a company lays me off because of lack of money.

Q: Who is complaining?
A: All those guys who are not getting a job to pay their EMIs off are complaining. They had made fun of me saying I am a job hopper and do not have any company loyalty. Now I ask them what they gained by their company loyalty; they too are laid off like me and pass comments to me – why will you bother about us, you are already debt-free. They were still in the bracket of 12-14 lakh p.a. when they were laid off.

Q: What is your advice to professionals?
A: Like Narayan Murthy had said – love your job and not your company because you never know when your company will stop loving you. In the same lines, love yourself and your family needs more than the company’s needs. Companies can keep coming and going; family will always remain the same. Make money for yourself first and simultaneously make money for the company, not the other way around.
Q: What is your biggest pain point with companies?
A: When a company does well, its CEO etc will address the entire company saying, ‘well done guys, it is YOUR company, keep up the hard work, I am with you.” But when the slowdown happens and the company does not do so well, the same CEO etc will say, “It is MY company and to save the company, I have to take tough decisions including asking people to go.” So think about your financial stability first; when you get laid off, your kids will complain to you and not your boss.


10 Comments on “What is the right time to switch job?”

  1. 1 subhranshu said at 9:50 pm on August 8th, 2009:

    as per Mr JH ,he has done the right thing between 2003 and 2009.never trust a company r ur boss.always see ur improvement and how d u make money for ur self.

    SO START SWITCHING:)

  2. 2 Ravindra said at 8:10 pm on August 10th, 2009:

    love your job and not your company because you never know when your company will stop loving you.

    Above statement is 100% correct … So start switching….

  3. 3 Vicky said at 8:34 pm on August 10th, 2009:

    What is the right time to switch the job?
    No one can answer this question for others…..everyone can only give suggestions and advice at the end it your CALL.
    Bottom line is “Love your job and your family and friends”
    Make lot of Money and Good Friends.

  4. 4 How to improve your own brand image | Sudhir Upadhyay blog said at 7:15 pm on September 2nd, 2009:

    […] to establish a brand value for your name. How you can do that? Recently, I wrote a blog post about switching your job and later I realized that when switching the job there are a lot of things which matter. One of the […]

  5. 5 oneidea said at 6:08 pm on September 4th, 2009:

    I have also started believing in this and better than changing jobs, starting ur own co and employing others is a better idea than this!!

  6. 6 Gaurav said at 6:43 pm on September 4th, 2009:

    One more excellent post !!
    This is the practical way of thinking, people are slowing but steadily changing their mindsets.
    But there is a footfall to this too, as salaries rise, india becomes one step away from becoming a cheaper back office. Still lot of development centres of many MNCs are years away from countries like Israel and likes.
    Are we killing the goose which lays golden eggs. … some soul searching (ie a balance) is needed.

  7. 7 Faraz said at 3:59 pm on October 26th, 2009:

    The above comment is 100% correct if you wont do.You are lacking, :)_

  8. 8 Shamim Khan said at 6:55 pm on November 24th, 2009:

    I’ve 4 companies in 5 yrs and now my package is more than double of my experience. Also, learnt many new things while working on different environments in addition to improvement of basic work technology.
    We shuld adapt ourselves to changes if we want to live the actual life. Bring confidence in urself first and then rock ON!

  9. 9 Raj said at 10:44 am on October 19th, 2010:

    sudhir..you solved my problem up to great extent. thank you

  10. 10 Sagar said at 10:51 pm on October 30th, 2010:

    Sudhir, Really appreciable..Now I have the courage to build up the confidence in switching job.Thanks once again !!


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