Job-Hopping: Pros and Cons for Veterans and Military Spouses

Kara Sparkman
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Job-hopping, the practice of frequently changing employers or roles, is a common phenomenon in today’s job market. In recent years, it has been called “The Great Resignation” or “The Big Quit”. Employees sought positions that were a better fit, whether that was due to pay, limited advancement opportunities, feeling disrespected at work, childcare and schedule flexibility, or changing career interests, etc. (Pew Research Center)

There has been negativity associated with job-hopping, however, the rate at which people are job-hopping is decreasing. There are reasons why job-hopping can be beneficial to many working professionals. Job-hopping can be a catalyst for workers who want to gain new skills, change careers, or transition into a new career. This is especially true for transitioning service members and veterans, with 80% of them leaving their first job after the military within a year. Statistics show that frequent job changes are not just associated with younger workers. “Seventy-four percent of 18- to 26-year-olds and sixty-two percent of 27- to 42-year-olds were searching for a new job or planned to search in the next six months.” (Eileen Zimmerman, The New York Times)

For military service members, veterans, and military spouses, understanding the pros and cons of job-hopping is crucial to making informed career decisions. Let’s explore both sides of the job-hopping coin to help you navigate your career path effectively.

Pros of Job-Hopping 

    1. Skill Diversification or Upskilling: Job-hopping can expose you to a wide range of industries, roles, and skill sets and can be beneficial for your career development. This diversity can help you develop a broader skill base and showcase your soft skills making you more versatile and marketable in the long run. 
    • For example, a finance manager who moves into marketing can be a valuable employee not only because of their management background to run a team but also because of their understanding of budgets and other financial considerations when it comes to products or services. 
    1. Increased Pay and Earning Potential: Changing jobs can often increase your salary, especially if your skills and experience are in high demand. When you switch jobs, you’re likely to receive a 5.3% salary bump compared to a 4% pay increase if you stay at your current job, according to an ADP study. New employers may be willing to offer competitive compensation, signing bonuses,  and benefits packages to attract top talent.
    1. Networking Opportunities: Each new job provides an opportunity to expand your professional network. Building a robust network can open doors to new job opportunities, mentorship, and valuable insights into various industries. Being active on LinkedIn can assist in continually cultivating these relationships and connections. It’s also a useful platform to keep in touch with market trends in your industry and those you may be exploring.
    1. Better Work Environment: Whether working remotely or onsite, company culture sets a tone and affects the quality of work. We tend to collaborate more and are more inclined to excel in our work with a company that aligns with our ethos. With recent recession-related layoffs, staff cuts, and restructuring, many employees are concerned about “job security” and may choose to leave uncertain workplaces. Switching jobs can lead to improved work-life balance, mental health, and overall job satisfaction.
    1. Fulfillment and Learning: Exploring different opportunities, whether internal or external, can help you better identify what you want in a career and find the best position. Frequent changes can keep your career exciting and fulfilling as you continuously learn and grow. It can also prevent career stagnation and burnout. Continually evaluate your company culture and job role to make sure they align with your career goals and opportunities to grow.

Cons of Job-Hopping

    1. Stigma: Employers may view job-hoppers as unstable or disloyal, potentially impacting your chances of landing your desired role. There can also be a perception that you lack career clarity, suggesting that you’re still trying to figure things out. Networking will help combat this because you can explain the reasons behind your career moves and your intentions. Be prepared to share the skills and experience gained and how they will benefit the company. Ultimately, be truthful regarding why you made each move but avoid blaming previous employers. (Forbes)  
    1. Limited Job Security: There is uncertainty in a new position, and it can take time to climb the career ladder and attain seniority within an organization. If the company has to make personnel cuts, will it take a last-in, first-out approach? Aswithn anything, there is no guarantee so it is good to always be prepared by keeping your resume updated and maintaining your network. 
    1. Limited or Delayed Benefits: Frequent job changes may result in limited access to employer benefits such as retirement plans, healthcare, and paid time off. You will need to evaluate employer match contributions to your 401(k) account, vesting requirements, and professional development as part of your total compensation package. A change in employer may mean having to switch insurance and doctors and for some, this can cause undue stress. (FlexJobs) You should evaluate these to determine what is important since it can impact your financial security. Take into consideration the employer’s policies on vacation time, the flexibility of your schedule, and how easy it is to have a work-life balance.
    1. Skill Depth: While job-hopping offers skill diversification, it may not allow you to develop mastery in a specific field. Some employers value specialists with extensive experience over generalists. You will need to do your research and assess what additional education and training you need based on the job requirements and those of the employer(s). Consider cross-training within the company or conduct an informational interview with someone in the job or industry you are interested in. 
    1. Financial Concerns: Transitioning between jobs can be financially challenging, especially if there are gaps in employment or you must relocate for every new position. While military families are accustomed to moving frequently, the added stress of unemployment can cause more concerns. Defining your financial limits and determining the salary amount you need to feel secure will help to ease this stress. “People have to take care of themselves and their families, and no one should feel guilty for doing so.” (Brett Familoe, FastCompany)  

Job-hopping can be a double-edged sword for veterans and military spouses. While it offers opportunities for skill development, networking, and increased earning potential, it can be met with potential downsides like stigma, limited benefits, and the risk of shallow skill development. The key is to strike a balance between pursuing new opportunities and building a stable, rewarding career path that aligns with your long-term goals and values. Ultimately, understanding the pros and cons of job-hopping can help you make informed decisions and navigate your career effectively. 

Kara Sparkman is the Virtual Events Specialist at Hire Heroes USA.  Check out upcoming virtual events, such as employer and industry webinars and virtual career fairs, at You can always get personalized guidance by contacting your Transition Specialist, logging into your MyTrak, or registering at to be assigned a Transition Specialist. Hire Heroes USA offers personalized job search assistance from professional resume writers at no cost to you, thanks to our funders.