What do you think of cross-functional job-hopping?

Tracy Luo May 24, 2016 4 mins read

A friend of mine with 7 years of hotel work experience chose to be a recruiter resolutely in the 8th year. Only one month later, he found that he seemed to have misunderstood the circle and then began to search for another market-related position that he said he had been longing for. However, he began to doubt about life before he worked on that position for half a year.

Nearly every week, a lot of advice and suggestions on interview preparation, career development and competition are given by career advisors. Here I would like to initiate a discussion: What do you think of cross-functional job-hopping? What do the people who make such a decision want to achieve, to have more life experiences or just to avoid the difficulties lying ahead?

We have had discussions on such topics as “Why do I want to leave soon after joining only recently?” “How do I respond to industry growth decline?” “When is the best time to leave?”  Have you ever thought about what a career should be like? Should we do the same job for a lifetime or experience different things? Career freshmen may feel puzzled about the choices while seniors may find another way out. Nevertheless, there are still some resolute people going through with their initial choices.

Why is it that people make different choices for career development? Maybe it is because of their character, pursuing stabilization or adventure; maybe it is a strategy, achieving success through constant efforts or various advantages of others. The following is the analysis of two extreme cases.

Imagine you are developing in positions of the same type. If you are always in the same industry, your experience and professional knowledge will keep accumulating and your reputation and seniority will keep growing; in return you may lose the opportunities to know the general situation of the market, the advantages for salary negotiation, the control for promotion opportunities and the curiosity and competence for exploiting diversity of the world. If you are in different industries, you may retain your position knowledge, experience difference work environment and cultures and catch up with your colleagues. In return, you may also lose the opportunities and competence of higher positions. Will it obstruct your development if you are too concentrated on your own field of expertise?

Imagine you frequently change your job from one function to another. As we know, many enterprises have internal job rotation systems, which provides you opportunities to get to know the company and the market from different job perspectives. By job rotation, you can choose right career destination as well as increase your experience. As the saying goes, “One might have learned the doctrines earlier than the others, and one might be a master in his own professional field.” If job rotation happens in one’s whole career or within different industries, the situation will be more complicated.  The resume will be the first to be affected. In the recruitment of professional managers, a messy resume lacking stability can seldom represent a knowledgeable and creditable candidate. The next to be affected is the accumulation of knowledge and seniority. Not all the functional positions will allow you to gain enough relevant experience.

Would you stay or leave, then? Now that you have sensed the volatility of the industry, career bottlenecks and the economical changes, you don’t need to force yourself. The opportunities are always for you to be controlled. When faced with temporary difficulties, do not try to escape. Instead, you can wait for opportunities while conducting market research to ensure you make the right choices.

In one word, job-hopping can be the catalyst of a career. It is just like a double-edged sword, and too much is as bad as too little. You may be lacking confidence on your choice because of you lack reliable information. A reliable recruitment company or professional recruitment consultant may give you more choices and answers to the questions of how to use this catalyst to accelerate your career in the direction as you wish for.

Tracy Luo's picture
Associate Director | Finance & Strategy Recruitment
tluo@morganmckinley.com