Why You Shouldn’t Stay at That Job (For Too Long)

It’s no secret that millennials are an interesting generation. We’re getting married later, putting off having kids, and striving to find a career that really means something to us. We’re turning away from ways of the past, and embracing change, in whatever format it comes in—specifically, we’re adopting a new attitude for career success: job hopping. first-5-icon-07

A Deloitte survey found that along with being more attracted to a company with a strong sense of purpose, 61 percent of millennials also affirm that their company’s mission was the strongest reason they chose the job that they did. It’s no surprise that millennials are becoming more adamant about what they want from a job, and finding a good work-life balance.

While your parents may advocate for company or agency loyalty, there are important reasons millennials are job hopping more and more each year. Mental and physical health, stronger engagement within your agency, and a more resilient sense of purpose are driving millennials to jump from one job to the next.

Here at First Five, we want you to get the most out of your time in the public sector. Here’s some reasons why you, too, may want to consider moving around career paths:

Your health matters. We live at a time where the job market is extremely competitive, and it can be easy to fall into the stress and anxiety of staying on top of your peers, and attaining the most seemingly prestigious job. In fact, 80 percent of working Americans say they feel stressed at their job, and that work is in fact the main source of stress in their lives. With so many people gunning for the same position, and work-life balance teetering more towards the ‘work’ side of things, it’s no surprise that more and more millennials are searching for more meaning in their careers, to make all that stress seem more worth it.

It can be hard to quit your current job, but if stress has been ruling your life, and your mental and physical health have taken a hit, walk away. It’s not worth it in the long run and, with 25 percent of American workers looking to retire by 2022, the fact is that many agencies—especially in the federal government—are looking to hire more millennials to replace the many employees looking to retire soon. So take advantage of the system and take the time to find your place. Your health will thank you.

It’s important to feel like you belong. Sadly, only 29 percent of millennials feel truly engaged at work. And it’s not hard to understand why. Because the job market is so small, it can feel like millennials have no choice but to accept any job offer that comes their way, regardless of whether it’s what they actually want to do. In that same Deloitte survey, only 29 percent of millennials feel that their company is making the most use of their resources. When an employee feels that their organization could be doing better, it’s easy to get discouraged and disengage from the office.

However, as time goes on, being in the wrong job or agency can weigh on you. It can affect your stress levels like we’ve already discussed. However, not being engaged in your job has other consequences as well. This gap in engagement and purpose can be toxic for employees and may be a sign that you should follow suit of other millennials and start job hopping.

Money talks. If your current job doesn’t make you happy, and you aren’t getting paid enough, that should be a red light that you might want to consider leaving. You may have taken this job because you didn’t think there was a lot out there for you at the time, but now you’ve gained some more experience and can put yourself out there again. You may even discover a new field where you can make more money.

Actually, 50 percent of millennials have said they would think about switching jobs for a 20 percent raise. Your skills and attributes are important and they’re worth something, so don’t feel anchored to one agency or position because you feel like you should. Remember that the job market is competitive, yes, but tying yourself down isn’t always the best option.

Millennials are indeed an interesting generation. From putting a greater emphasis on purpose, mental health, and learning and growing opportunities, the advantages to job hopping are many. It’s not for everyone, but if you aren’t happy in your position, remember that you can do something about it.

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Jennifer Gemmill

As a member of Generation X, this is a challenge we face as well; including the older generations encouraging loyalty to agencies and firms that no longer have loyalty to its employees. Job hopping is how I got to where I am and for now, it’s good. And I’ve learned a lot along the way about a lot of different industries and people that I’ve used to develop my own work ethics and leadership styles. I’m glad for the journey and look forward to the future.


I am a millennial and I totally agree with this article. I cannot tell you how many training course I have been to even outside of me getting a Masters in Law just to be as marketable as I can be. I am currently in the private sector and have even shown the company I work for all the value I can add to the workplace but I believe that some companies have not equipped themselves properly to hire and retain Milliennials. In the mean time, we find ourselves battling with finding the position that will pay the bills. We all strive to work smarter not harder.