Most young employees considering leaving their present work places do so to seek career development—which very often means going to where there is greater take-home pay and benefits.  The other not-far-behind reasons include better management, better work environment, training and overseas opportunities.  These are not wrong.  But taking off from last week’s article on resigning too often and too fast—and looking for downloadable “I hereby resign…” forms—our upbeat young professionals should slow down a bit to think about consequences.

Not all consequences are bad, but most are if you happen to be what Dr. Robert Holden (director of Success Intelligence and author of Happiness Now) would define as a person under “destination addiction.”  Destination addiction is “a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, and with the next partner” (the last one is quite disturbing).  As Dr. Holden advises, “Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.

Now, where do you want me to begin?  The few good ones, or the several bad ones?  How bad is “bad”?  Let’s say it not only affects you but it leaves a ripple effect that gets the attention of behaviorists, sociologists, employers and government officials.  So let’s begin with the bad ones by making an example of Software Developer (SD) Guy.  Nothing against software developers and similar guys, but why him?

Software developers are white collar workers like many who are reading this.  They work in offices with teams, use their creativity and problem-solving, and deliver their products after rigorous testing.  More or less, you can see how many people are going to be affected, positively or otherwise, given the amount of money they are handsomely paid with.  But it's not just SD Guy human resource officers should be aware of: it's his attitude that concerns HR's and managers more for the vicious cycle it brings.

Resignation, Take 1…Action!
When You Can’t Stay Put: Misadventures And Consequences Of Job-Hopping
What can one put in those two years?  Computer programming can occur in a day, or an hour, but application development takes longer (like months, maybe years), especially for the advanced ones.  If you had four jobs in two years, with weeks spent in transitions, what would you have accomplished?

Somewhere in the IT profession diaspora, SD Guy decided to quit his current job because it doesn’t seem to be materially satisfying him or maybe because his current employer is not a bigwig like IBM, Accenture or some other big and popular name.  To him, big and popular also means big in cash.  So, even in his pockets of made-up spare time at work, he opens his Jobstreet and JobsDB and starts sending a volley of applications while dodging his team lead who walks around to see how everybody is doing.

He submits his resignation letter, his boss says “Oh well…”, and he undergoes the usual 30-day clearance and turnover procedures; all that in six months (give or take a few months) after the company invested in his rigorous on-boarding procedure and training.  At this point, the company recruitment officer is pressed to look for his replacement that he can, ideally, turn things over to.  Try as we must, but turnovers, especially in IT, are never smooth even after one has left.  It leaves “ghosts.

Finally, he gets his wish—on the condition that should anything turn up that only he knows, he can be consulted online.  He is cleared by the old employer and is welcomed by the new one.  He undergoes a new round of on-boarding and training, processing forms, taking medical exams and adjusting to the new people surrounding him.

Resignation, Take 2…Take 3…Take…

Things seem to be looking up in the new company.  Better management, better pay, new challenges.  Life seemed so terrific (sic), he decided to open his job search web sites again to see what he missed from the other opportunities.  Then, his mobile phone rang.  One of his prospects called, and he immediately rushes out of his office space to entertain another recruiter.

He keeps his options open, so, is it wrong?  The recruiter seems impressed with his credentials (so far), and is willing to pay more than his new employer—if he will play a role that is slightly different from what he is performing today.

Resignation, Take What?!

When You Can’t Stay Put: Misadventures And Consequences Of Job-Hopping
Here we go again?  Hey, SD Guy, don't you ever get tired?

Seriously, we get the picture.  How many places has he scattered copies of his resume to?  Likely enough for him to get blacklisted for being a jobber or a “flake” (someone who doesn’t attend his other interviews when he gets disinterested).

Illegal, immoral, unethical

Law basically regulates people and activities in the hope of maintaining justice and fair practices.  Mores (a.k.a morals, moral values) are based on religious teachings about goodness, righteousness and fairness that transcend worldly laws and grounded on immaterial things like compassion and honor.  Where the best of earthly law meets what the Chinese would say, the “Mandate of Heaven”, is that common ground encompassing all things ethical.

So is there anything wrong when a guy just wants to pursue his happiness on the job anyway he wants it?  It’s not like he killed somebody, stole cash or property and bore false witness.  Let’s get to the bottom of this by going back to Take 1.


SD Guy found a way to get what he wanted and he didn’t even break the Labor Code.  He may have not committed any sins as far as any major religion is concerned, but as far as his former employer was concerned, he did.  He was trusted and invested in.  He was hired and others—who are likely to be more competent than he—weren’t.  And he used company time for e-mail blasts of resumes.  In short, his body is in the company but his heart, mind and soul are somewhere else.

SD Guy cost the company in the following ways:
  • Time used for work was diverted to something else;
  • Money spent for his wages is not getting its desired returns;
  • Training costs time and money, and another company will benefit from it (or not);
  • The HR spent time and money processing his recruitment and acceptance into, only to end up processing his termination after a relatively short time;
  • The same HR will spend time and money for the recruitment and training of a replacement; and
  • The company’s project/s will cope with the loss of SD Guy until a competent replacement is hired.

SD Guy may not be aware of it, but he incurred losses too, whether he acknowledges or denies those.  These will test him (based on what I wrote last week):
  • What projects have you figured into, how long and how did your stints turn out (question of track record)?
  • What trainings have you undergone and how were these useful to you (knowledge)?
  • How did your coworkers react to your resignation?  How are they coping now (good will)?
  • What are your Top 3 competencies?  Which project demanded which competency the most (specialization)?
  • Name three contributions of yours that lead to distinct advantages for your company and earned you recognition (legacy); and
  • Were there times when you had to talk to clients or business partners on your company’s behalf?  How did those go (networking)?

The questions above, at least to me, are critical questions that can reveal tell-tale signs about three things I look for in a job applicant:

  • Professional wisdom;
  • Career direction; and
  • Organizational alignment.

At the rate SD Guy is going from Take 2 to Take Infinity, things will not look good for him in the long run.  And there could be tens or hundreds of others like him out there that will not look good for our country and its professional circles in the long run.  In an apocalyptic labor scenario, we’ll be overrun with job candidates who have no wisdom, no direction and no common values.

When You Can’t Stay Put: Misadventures And Consequences Of Job-Hopping
My LinkedIn account.  It seems I've been through a number of transitions myself for me to even be giving this much advice.  Then again, this is how I pride myself in being Geeky Pinas' "old guy."  LinkedIn opens new frontiers in getting hired, but be careful: it also opens new opportunities to get fired and for HR recruiters to background-check you.  

Certain businesses, however, will make a killing out of labor that will remain relatively affordable—and expendable—for a long time to come.  If hundreds of SD Guys out there don’t care about good will, team spirit and value-for-money human capital, then businesses will likely get even by circumventing regularization and mandatory benefits.  Why will they pay half of the social security, home development and health benefits of someone who doesn’t give a damn?  What’s the use of training them, and isn’t that supposed to be the college’s job?  There have been cases in which HR recruiters eventually become prejudiced against certain institutions as a result of their graduates’ poor job attitudes and outlooks.

When You Can’t Stay Put: Misadventures And Consequences Of Job-Hopping
I can't state this enough.  Creepy!

In the long run, SD Guy could end up devolving human resource development to the level of rock and bone tools of the Stone Age where everybody is just a means to everybody else’s ends.

Good consequences

Is there anything good that can come from job-hopping?  Or from job-hoppers?  Perhaps there are a few.  Every year, our country's institutions crank out new batches of fresh graduates.  Their best opportunity-givers are those who leave their posts.  And if they leave in bad will, the career freshmen are more than eager to take their positions and are more receptive of training.  And by virtue of entry-level rank, newbies are more modestly paid (but not underpaid).  All-in-all, most newbies are not yet the jacks of their trades, but at least they don’t have bad attitudes.

All is not lost, though, for SD Guy and others like him (with similar attitudes).  He doesn’t need any more tech training than he already acquired.  What he needs is big-picture training.  Should he refuse, there’s Ghost Rider to give him the penance stare that will avenge hapless employers and coworkers.

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