Thursday, May 26, 2005

Jobhop, skip and jump

Jack Welch spent his entire career at GE. Like my dad, who will retire next year after a 45 year stint at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

That kind of career graph is pretty much extinct. Most young people are going to go through several jobs in their lifetime - for the right and the wrong reasons. The way I look at it...

There are two ways to grow the talent pool in your company: coach it or poach it. You achieve the first by hiring bright young men and women who earnestly seek a challenging career with your company.

The second involves cutting short the careers of bright young (and not-so-young) men and women in the neighbouring company, by offering a greater challenge at your own.

You can read the rest of my recent column on job-hopping for here.


  1. Anonymous6:05 PM

    Same case with my dad, hes been workin at the same place for 30 years now, n he still loves it. But, you are right no one really does that anymore, i don't even want to work a 9 to 5 job !


  2. This is a very good one.... I have many colleagues who are rolling stones, sticking not more than 6 months in their current job. Somehow, miraculously, they have made it a point to put it on their resumes in a way that their resume looks good. My Dad was in the same place and position for 33 long years w/o complaints. We cannot be in the same job/position for 3 years w/o complaints!!! Guess this is coz we're hyperactive!!!

  3. Nikhil Narayan6:43 PM

    I read somewhere that ideally companies should hire for values and train for skill. But in reality they do the opposite... hire for skill and try and train employees the values that they want them to imbibe.

  4. Well said Nikhilbhai.I dont remember companies taking technical tests and stuff back in the 90s...but nowadays there are so many tests which i wouldnt even like to mention.Another reason for the alarming rise in Job-hopping is the arrival of multiple companies in a sector seeking more or less the same competencies(Domestic aviation for eg.)whatever the reasons for the poaching, i think the Job-seeker is ultimately the winner!

  5. there is a train of thought that Performance Appraisals should be scrapped...they serve no major value adding function to the organization, trigger off more negative emotions that if they were not impeded with could have let to organizational performance.

    I think they are usually an eye-wash no matter how scientific they seem (and I've seen quite a lot of them)

  6. Rashmi,

    We can only be glad that the Jack Welch type of a career graph is extinct. Growing within an organization (through appraisals) is a very slow process.

    For every single Jack Welch you show me, I can (theoretically) show you 1000 truly capable guys who did not grow as much as they should have, in their careers because they stuck with just one company. Seriously, appraisals are too unreliable as a means of career growth

    Throughout my recruitment career, the best paid, and the most successful (in terms of heirarchy) people that I have come across are the ones who have hopped jobs moderately, but wisely.

    For example, in the Software Industry there are many "Project Managers" and "Delivery Heads" with just 6 and 8 years of experience respectively. These guys could be making anywhere between INR 0.9 million and INR 1.6 million. These people have hopped jobs carefully, and used the 'job-hop' process as a means to grow.

    Conversely there are enough qualified *and capable* people in the Industry who are still at a Project Leader (or worse, Senior Software Engineer or equivalent) level after 7 years of experience.

    Job hopping is a phenomenon which actually helps people. (And it also helps companies like mine who are engaged in identifying talent, stay in business)


  7. I have always had trouble with self-help books. Not because they always seem to suggest so much scope for improvement in me. But also because they are based on examples from the known history or phenomena. So what happens is that they will often cite the best in any area as the example to follow. And here is my major concern. If I try to emulate a particular person I will get limited by his limitations. And thats a great turnoff for me. The more initiated may get shocked by this attitude but the fact is what is.
    So I have decided not to read any self-help book. Rather I have started internalising the quotes from Yogi Berra, US baseball legend who also happens to be the most quoted sportsman in the world.
    Please find inspiration from some of his quotes:
    "Think! How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?"
    "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there"
    "If you can't imitate him, don't copy him"
    "You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six"
    "Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical"
    "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded"
    "It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much"
    "I made a wrong mistake"
    "Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel"
    "You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours"
    "I didn't really say everything I said"
    His quotes hit my subconscious and hit it hard. Wish the self-help writes could be half as sublime as Yogi.

  8. Anonymous8:05 PM

    What do you have to say about this:

    I am sure you will have an opinion, bu t wonder if being a rediff contributor will stop you from saying it aloud.

  9. Another reason why job-hopping is going to be more common is simply because there is a lot of choice and people are more adventurous then before.
    - Hirak 'Maverick' Parikh
    You might want to check the book by Thomas Friedman,The World is Flat.
    He said in an interview,
    "When the world was round, say 30 years ago, you would much rather have been born a B+ student in Indianapolis, Indiana, rather than a genius in Bangalore, India. Because the Indian genius, unless he or she could get a visa out of India, really could not plug and play with his or her talent. Today, you do not want to be a B+ student in Indianapolis. You would much rather be a genius in India, because that genius can now innovate at a global level without ever having to emigrate. That is what the flat world makes possible."

  10. I am not a techie, so I can't really evaluate the claims made in the rediff article of May 27 you have mentioned. One person has added a comment with the article saying the writer overstated his achievements and well, that's entirely possible. Net: net it didn't make for compelling reading as far I was concerned - but I guess it was meant to 'inspire' younger people. You tell me if it did that!

  11. I love Yogi Berra statements. Another one from the once posted by Shivaji is "When you come to the fork in the road, take it." or how about "You can observe a lot by just watching." See more here.

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