Monday, April 23, 2007


Once you decide it's time to find a new job, you start to think about companies you want to work for (in your field, in a new field/industry, etc.) and you visit numerous companies to discuss potential employment. As you’re getting a feel for the companies (e.g., comparing benefits, etc.), you start to develop a hierarchy of which jobs you’d like to take. However, your main priority is still to find work. There's always a job you really hope you get. And, there's always a job that you're not crazy about, but it's work! Ultimately, a job just has to be a job sometimes--for many of us.

Depending on how quickly you need to find a job, you may accept a job offer from the first company to offer you employment. Let's face it...most people simply don’t have the luxury to wait to hear back from everyone they’ve interviewed with. And, that's how the confusion often gets started.

You accept a job offer from the first company to make an offer, you're working for a few months, and then you hear back from one of the other interviewers. This interviewer is calling from one of the employers that was high up on your list of desired workplaces. And, now you hear that they like you. They really like you! And, they want you. They would love to have you work for the company. On the one hand, you can be loyal to your new employer. On the other hand, you can look out for what’s best for you and your family by taking the other job. So, what do you do?

Do you stay at a job because you don't want to look like a job hopper or do you go for a career?

Do you stay at a job because you don't want to look like a job hopper or do you go for a better salary, benefits, etc.?

Many people simply don't know what to do because they don't want to be labeled as a job hopper. Early in my career, I heard about how bad it was to job hop. I've heard the excuses, like "Oh, it makes it seem like you can't commit and that you don't have loyalty to your employer," blah, blah, blah. But, I'll tell you...job hopping is one of the areas where The Black Factor is often a major player in the game. Because some White people job hop like it's going out of style!! And, I should know!

Let me go back to my experience working in Human Resources. I worked in compensation and benefits. My supervisor and I had to review qualifications and experience. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to review the qualifications of job applicants. One of my tasks was to add up relevant years of employment to determine if someone was qualified for a position.

Let me tell you, there have been many occasions when I had to skip through 3 to 4 jobs just to get a couple of years of relevant experience on a White prospective employee’s resume. I found that, just like everyone else--and contrary to the perception that Whites often give to minorities--White employees are the granddaddies of job hopping. One year at this company, two years at that company, less than a year at another company. That’s just how it goes. They followed the better opportunities until the got the job they wanted.

On the flip side, let's look at Black workers. After only working with a company for a short time, many African Americans won’t take a better job because they don’t want the appearance of job hopping on their resume. They’ve heard the line, used by some Whites, that quickly moving from one job to another demonstrates a “lack of employment stability.” That excuse can become the sole reason for denying an African American a job. So, if we’ve been in a job for 1-2 years, many of us are afraid to move on because of how this can impact our career over the long haul. The double standards of American society have inadvertently set up a situation where African Americans often won’t take a better job offer because we’re worried about what White folks will think about us and if they will use so-called job hopping against us.

I’ve had to work hard to convince Black workers to leave an employer for a better job. I’m talking about lengthy discussions on no-brainer decisions. I’ve even spoken to friends of friends, who I didn’t even know, in order to give them a pep talk on taking a better job. It’s ridiculous to think we’d let appearances paralyze our opportunities, but Black workers do this all the time. Unfortunately, it’s a double-standard that we feed into in many ways. For instance, we hold ourselves to a high standard of loyalty that is clearly not reciprocated by our employers. We choose to show love to those that don’t show love to us.

But, you can never be given back your time!

Let’s repeat that…you can never be given back your time! If you put that into perspective, all of the years you pour into a dead-end and demoralizing job, will never be given back to you. You have allowed someone to use you up without getting any real reward or the reward you received (a good salary, title, etc.), ultimately wasn’t worth the personal and/or professional sacrifices you’ve had to make along the way.

This post will be concluded tomorrow...

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Blogger DivineLavender said...

That is a powerful post...I need to start looking again. I just gave those excuses to my family but not wanting to have a spotty job history.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a business owner, I've hired lots of people. In the area I'm in I get a lot of black people's resumes. Like any other group of people, some resumes are good, some are bad. But what I do notice are two major trends in black people's resumes above all other races of people. First is that they tend to show a lot of job positions in a short period of time. I guess you could call this job hopping. I've seen lots of resumes with 5 jobs in a 3 year period. This enough to make any hiring person quiver. Second trend I see is that the resumes I get do not show the candidate as even remotely close to being qualified for the job. For instance, if the ad says "Experienced Typist", I get worked at JC Penny. This actually gets to become quite annoying, because I have to weed through tons of this stuff. So as a consequence I don't hire that person or I skip by that resume. Unfortunately, some people will see this as racist, but what can I do? I'm not about to hire someone who can't fulfill the position, even though I'm honestly not choosing race as a basis for my decision. I need a person that can do the job.

12:47 PM  

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