THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Job-hopping: Why it's smart, even in recession

Maybe the recession is here, but do you know the top worry among chief financial officers? Recruiting.

That's right. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu says the next 10 years will be an employee-driven market because of a whole host of demographics issues, from Boomers leaving the workforce to fewer Generation Yers interested in corporate life.

 If you are blessed to be born to Gen Y, you are probably in a sector that is booming. Young people are in such high demand right now that they start to look sort of savvy when sources such as MTV report only 17 percent of Generation Y is worried about the economy.

Take Renee Glowacki. She has an entry-level job in Boston, which can't be easy given the cost of living in the city, but she is optimistic.

She's at Patni Computer Systems, an IT company that does global outsourcing, and chose this firm because it's growing and creating opportunities for employees. She is so optimistic that she's spending money on expensive food. Glowacki's attitude that you live for now and figure things out as you go is typical of her generation– and understandable given their relative immunity from recession.

Some of you– those who read this with mouths wide open in disbelief– are saying that many industries are totally tanking, and there is no way employers are hunting down young people like starving animals. But check out the National Association of Manufacturers campaign to recruit young people. The campaign is called "Dream it. Do it," and it cost $70 million. There's huge difficultly finding skilled young people.

Or how about real estate? Sure, home prices are collapsing, but many young people don't own homes. And in terms of jobs in that sector, many real estate agents are older. Given this demographic reality, you don't need a great housing market to provide great career opportunities for young agents.

There's lots of chatter about how people can recession-proof their careers, but what should young people do, when their demographics make them recession-proof already?


The best thing you can do early in your career is move around so you can figure out what you're good at and what you like.

Before you start screaming about corporate loyalty, companies actually get more passionate work out of people who are in the first two years at a firm than people who have been around there a while. It makes sense: If you don't need to get another job anytime soon, then you can coast. Job-hoppers can't coast, or their resume will look bad.

People who job-hop build their network faster, build their skill set faster, and are more engaged. So, young people should take advantage of the fact that they are in high demand and make sure to leave a job as soon as their learning curve flattens.

Older people– especially those who have lived through terrible job markets, which includes everyone older than Gen Y– will tell you to be cautious and grateful. These are not inherently bad traits, but they are bad if they instill complacency in a job market that is not demanding that.

Some of you will find yourselves gunning for jobs in areas hit particularly hard by the recession. Investment banking, for example, used to be difficult to break in to, and now, with cutbacks for summer interns, its insanely difficult to get into. But so what?

The hours are terrible, and the work is totally inflexible and driven, at all hours of the day and night, by the client. So find something that sustains your goals for family and friends. You can find an equally interesting field that is not going to require you to take clients to strip clubs.

Tech is hot. Healthcare is hot. And you don't need to be a software developer or changer of bed pans. In fact, any tech company or healthcare company needs sales people and marketing people, and accountants, and all the other types of people who could get stuck in an underperforming company, but clearly have the ability to change sectors without dumping their expertise.

So figure out what your skills are, what you love to do, what you're great at. And then job-hop until you're sure.