I am not the kind of person with the nerve to negotiate hard nor am I all that confident in my worth. However I am very diligent about applying for one job a week. That means I usually leave every 15 or so months as I get a massive raise which I obviously do not want to turn down.

Because I am not comfortable asking for a raise, I am often leaving for new jobs. Every time I am basically taking away all employer investment in me as well as the domain/codebase experience. Last employer spent two months training me on their custom language. I left after 11 months.

Is this just anecdotal, is it a known phenomenon, or is it just wrong?

Curious about all this.

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    This is a known phenomenon. Jul 9, 2020 at 3:40
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    One thing people miss from an employers perspective is that the sort of people constantly looking for jobs are also the sort who become less and less productive over time, and more and more of a headache precisely because they're not committed to the company.
    – Kilisi
    Jul 10, 2020 at 2:43
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    Changing jobs every year / every other year for the first several years of ones professional career is fairly standard and employers won't balk when they see that on an applicant's resume. But that's only the first several years, less than a decade. A decade's worth of 15 month jobs is a huge red flag. You are painting yourself into a box you do not want to be in. Jul 10, 2020 at 9:28
  • Also, applying for a job once a week is a huge burden. You need to spend time (hours?) looking for job offers where you might be a fit, more time to submit the applications, and if your application is at all appealing, even more time for phone interviews, even more time for the now ubiquitous code tests, much more time for the formal interview, and more time yet for the negotiations. One job application per week either is a second full time job, or you are doing some of that searching at your current employer's expense. You might want to rethink your strategy. Jul 10, 2020 at 9:42

4 Answers 4


I would bet it has a substantial cost, but companies heavily focus on cash costs only

I have an answer more about this here. Organizations tend to heavily focus on cash costs to the exclusion of everything else. In my organization, there are things which would increase productivity of certain staff by 10% at the cost of $50 per person per year. Do we buy them? No. There are numerous things that could increase software reliability for less than a couple hundred per year. Are they bought? No.

Very few organizations consider dramatic drops in productivity to be a cost simply because there is no way to measure it. It doesn't make sense, but nothing is going to change so off to LinkedIn everyone goes.

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    "of certain staff by 10% at the cost of $50 per person per year" You got me curious. A software license to a good IDE? Jul 9, 2020 at 5:26
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    And yet when you go to dinner with a Director or two, all those savings will be nothing compared to the food bill.. :p
    – PeteCon
    Jul 9, 2020 at 5:31
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    @StephanBranczyk yep. Webstorm. I buy my own copy anyway, but everyone having it would save a lot of frustration. It may not be as important anymore now that we have gone remote and fully into individual work mode, but so much time was wasted as some used Notepad++ (they really didn't want to do frontend), some used VSCode, and some used Webstorm and coordinating consistent practices was a mess as only one person is a frontend dev by training. Jul 9, 2020 at 6:24
  • @MatthewGaiser: To be fair, an argument can be made for avoiding becoming dependent on a particular IDE. On the long term that leads to entrenched cultures where everyone is expected to "do as the Romans do", which is often the orthogonal attitude to take in software development as it can stifle innovation and re-evaluation of the current choices.
    – Flater
    Jul 9, 2020 at 12:38
  • And some companies will actively try to find an employee who will "catch up" in manual labor all "non-measurable" costs. As per the "I was hired do to X I'm doing Y" questions on workplace.se Jul 9, 2020 at 13:10

Which of these would you prefer:

  • Ensuring you retain the same employee for the long-term, even if that means overpaying for them.
  • Ensuring you pay the lowest wage your employee will agree to, even if that means having to rehire for the position more frequently.

As an employee, you obviously prefer the first option, since that entails a nicer wage for you and you want to receive more. But as an employer, that incentive is reversed, as you want to pay less.

If the money spent on rehiring (i.e. the wage of your HR officer for the time required to hire a new employee + the wage for your dev team for the time required to bring a new hire up to speed) is lower than the amount of money you save on the lower developer wage, and there is an endless supply of adequate applications for the position, then the latter option is more profitable, financially speaking.

Companies are profit-driven (and even charities minimize internal costs to maximize charitable output) and therefore will always take the path of most profit.

If, however, the hiring process is very long and high-effort (and thus high-cost), and/or there's a high likelihood that you won't easily find a new employee, then you're going to want to retain your employees for as long as you can. This is why certain professions have generally higher wage scale, e.g. medicine, highly specialized trade skills, ...

This hits on the core principle of supply and demand. As the supply increases, the price lowers.

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    @PhilipKendall: I think you may have just missed the update I already made :) "the wage of your HR officer for the time required to hire a new employee + the wage for your dev team for the time required to bring a new hire up to speed"
    – Flater
    Jul 9, 2020 at 12:41
  • @PhilipKendall: It's also a (for developers unfortunate) consequence of promoting developer interchangeability. It makes our jobs significantly easier to work in a clean development environment "heaven" (i.e. great documentation, clean code and little to no technical debt/backlog), but in such an environment a skilled developer can get up to speed much quicker as well and thus the cost of rehiring lowers, which in turn lowers the incentive for the company to please and retain its current staff.
    – Flater
    Jul 9, 2020 at 12:45
  • @Flater - I don't think being a good developer is unfortunate. It's much worse being stuck in a job supporting legacy code with niche tools and restricting your opportunities for growth or movement. Jul 9, 2020 at 13:00
  • @LaconicDroid: I didn't say good practice development is unfortunate, I said it can have an unfortunate consequence, e.g. when an (excessively) profit-driven employer uses it as a way to lower the compensation they offer to their employees.
    – Flater
    Jul 9, 2020 at 13:10

As an employer, we always pay at market pay or slightly higher. We obviously want to retain and keep good employees and we work hard at doing that, not just by providing a competetive salary, but good benefits, company culture, and managers.

You can job-hop and move around for more money, but you should probably find a way to have a discussion with your manager when you feel that you should be earning more. Job hopping will eventually have an impact on your resume and you'll have trouble answering to prospective employers why you move around every year or so. If I saw your resume and found 5-6 different jobs in that many years, I'd certainly be concerned and wouldn't think you'd stay any longer with us and would probably move on from you as a candidate.


You are responsible for your own career.

Obviously, the company doesn't want to overpay for people. But even if their intent is not to underpay, they are not going to spend all their time discussing "so should we give Scluttmity another raise today?" Especially since usually raise cycles are a year, so an 11 month stay may simply skip intermittent proactive salary reviews even in organizations that try to do the right thing. I worked for one big company that was super proactive about sending everyone yearly comp reports along with how they were compensated related to the salary band for their jobs and managers made sure to work on those who were too low - but that's not giving everyone what they could be getting, which is frankly a tough number for a company to know. (I mean, they hired someone to do that job for a certain amount, isn't that the market rate?)

You should be asking for raises. Or leaving, but after 3 or 4 1-year "for more money" job-hops you're going to be looking a lot less attractive to employers.

Raises and promotions and such aren't things people usually just come to you to give you all you want. It's on you to take control of your career, be talking about goals with your manager, and try to achieve what's needed to get them.

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