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Long story short, I'm a statistician in the automotive industry who has had a colorful history over the past eight months. Here's a brief review.

  1. Laid off from job
  2. Started two businesses
  3. Got an interesting job offer and accepted it. One month later, I realized that I couldn't juggle all three things. Furthermore, my venture was doing fairly well
  4. Fast forward five months, and I'd poured tens of thousands into my two businesses and things had turned for the worse.
  5. I accepted the first job offer I had and moved to another state.
  6. Another company offered me a job one month into job two, and it seemed better, so I accepted.
  7. Have been at job three for one month. It's acceptable, even though they mis-characterized the work responsibilities and I don't think I'll get much out of this job.
  8. Have sent out my resume just to test the waters and have had some great responses. I've included job three on my resume along with my business ventures, and just ignored the others. I've been saying that I've been freelancing and doing independent contract work also.

For the future, I won't be putting the two one month stints on my resume. But if a company does a background check and finds the job hopping, how do I explain it? What should I do if I get a great data scientist job offerin the next month or two? Leave again or stay.

So here is my justification for my behavior. I have a degenerative neurological disorder that impact my walking, stability, and will eventually leave me bed ridden. I have about 6 to 10 years until that happens. Due to these circumstances, I have little patience for staying at jobs that I don't feel are benefiting me or are as advertised. Look, I'm trying to cram a fourty year career into about fifteen years. If a company isn't delivering, I'm going to jump ship. So....am I justified? If I'm not justified, what can I do to counter-act my job hopping.

Also, before to these eight months, I've had two stints at companies for two + years. I'd also note that if I found a good company, I'd stay for as long as I'm able to

  • How do you explain it: perhaps that should have been something you were considering when you make tge previous jumps. I know that with this history I would have no confidence that the time and money I invested in you would be repaid, and would discard your application immediately. You can try to pretty this up, but it's a case of putting liostick on a pig. It really sounds to me like your best bet, both for employment and as a sustainable career, may be short-term consulting... if you have the skills. – keshlam Nov 9 '15 at 2:22
  • I am kinda happy jumping every two years. Gives me exposure to different things. And since I'll be dead before age 45, it make sense to me. – auug Nov 10 '15 at 0:14
  • I edited my answer based the edit to your question. Perhaps it is a more helpful answer now? – Jim Nov 10 '15 at 3:06
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One problem with "job hopping" (as stated in another answer) is the cost to an employer to seek out a good match for the company. That is a very practical statement for a more difficult, softer issue which can be summarized with this question from a prospective employer:

"Explain how I can have any confidence that you will stay employed with us despite our imperfections that you cannot possibly be aware of at this time?"

You demonstrate less and less tenacity or endurance for workplaces that might not suite your specific taste, lifestyle or whatever. You are not a perfect employee and you will not find a perfect employer.

An employee that "hops" from one job to another may have expectations out of line with reasonable employment, or simply too fickle to believe will be a good fit for any company. Regardless, an employer should become increasingly skeptical about any employee that cannot seem to stay with a job longer than they expect you to be there in order to be productive and a worthwhile placement for the company.

Even so, different industries, jobs and employers have different degrees of tolerance for "job hopping." I am not familiar with your specific industry or job, but generally contractors are hired in cases where the return on investment is less than a year.

It is probably in your best interest to not even look for a job for a while. Even if you get a "great offer" you may find yourself in the proverbial situation of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. Then what??

If you can tolerate where you are for a while, then you should probably do that if you are interested in employment. If you want to return to self-employment, take the time to focus on your businesses instead of job hunting. Alternatively, look for contracts instead of employment...

Of course, you sound like a risk-taker in general. You probably don't have the patience or desire to listen to advice like this - and the more of a risk-taker you are, the less this advice actually applies. Employment hinders those with the proper skills and disposition to be self-employed. In which case, continue you on as you are! And report back how the adventure goes!

EDIT:

You just added that you have a degenerative neurological disorder that will likely leave you bed-ridden in 6-10 years. First, I am sorry to hear about your circumstances. That is tragic and certainly does change the tone of the question. At first, I was going to suggest that you ask another question and then, up front, specifically include your unique circumstances.

However, employment is about finding a mutually beneficial arrangement. Any employer should be concerned about your attitude toward employment, although you may have certain legal protections given your medical condition.

Often employment costs are front loaded, meaning that your initial employment is a greater cost to the company than what they are paying you, and much more than you are returning to the company for your work. It is an investment by the company in you. In order for the arrangement to be mutually beneficial, they need to recoup their investment after you begin making a return greater than your cost, and for some time after that. This is why the duration of employment matters.

Neither your eagerness nor your condition justify that companies take a higher risk on you than anyone else that is eager to rise quickly in their field in general. Some potential employers may see you as highly motivated and value that more than others. Most will probably be concerned about their inability to deliver on your vision of a "great" employer leading you to abandon their company just as quickly as you have your recent previous employers.

Your current attitude does not give potential employers confidence. You cannot know, before accepting a job, that you will be satisfied with it. Your eagerness to "condense your career" is not assurance that you are a risk worth taking. It comes across more like you are trying to justify employment arrangements that are biased toward your personal gain with people that do not have motivation (monetary or emotional) to favor you over others.

You need to be able to explain and/or demonstrate how your condition and circumstances is to the benefit of any future employer. Your eagerness to achieve is an asset, but eagerness is not enough.

(And I feel compelled to mention that I am not trying to provide legal advice and I recognize that your condition is a tremendous emotional burden. I wish you the best in your endeavors and hope these comments help you.)

  • I agree with the general content of your answer, but perhaps you could add some advice on how the OP should handle the question if asked? Personally I think the truth can work quite well in this case: "I tried to get my own company off the ground these past 8 months, but I think it's not for me after all, so now I'm once again looking for employment." – Cronax Nov 9 '15 at 13:55
  • The OP is currently employed, so I think that explanation is no longer valid. Also, the OP edited their question and I edited my response. – Jim Nov 10 '15 at 3:05
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What should I do if I get a great data scientist job offerin the next month or two? Leave again or stay.

If you get a great offering despite your proven tendency to jump ship between coffee breaks, then grab it. In my opinion you can't expect to see many of those and the sooner you find a job that you can stick with the better.

As far as explaining your job hopping, that's best played down, if it was me I'd say I was trying to get my own ventures off the ground and needed to concentrate on them for a while. And wouldn't go into any more detail than I had to.

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From your story it seems that nobody not even you can guarantee a long term employment. Based and extending the previous answers I would suggest going after a short 3-6 month contract suggesting yourself good terms for your employer if you leave. Then try to build extending it progressively (3/6/12 months etc). I would suggest to build a good track record.

1

Turnover is one of the most expensive elements of employment. The costs of advertising, interviewing and onboarding are just the start. When someone leaves, they take their accumulated knowledge and experience with them. The gap between their departure and the time the next person is fully functional could have enormous costs to the employer.

So, being a job hopper is generally not desirable. If you are in a super-hot field (and it sounds like you may be), it's possible that employers are going to overlook your history and hire you anyway. I, probably, would not - for the reasons stated above.

You should NOT wait and see if a prospective employer finds out something through a background check. Be honest and upfront about your history, and why you feel you are a good fit for the new employer. They are going to want to feel like you will stick around, and that you really want to work at THAT company, in THAT role for some pretty good reasons.

And for your own future career prospects, resist the urge to seek other employment for a least a couple of years. Too much job hopping, no matter how hot the field, could make you a pariah.

  • If I am counting correctly, this person is now looking for job #5 (not counting self-employment) in less than a year. I guess my advice is to avoid behavior (in this case job-hopping) that you don't want on your resume in the first place. If the next employer attempts to verify the resume, the gaps may turn up. So it's a gamble. @augg should be honest on the resume going forward, and try staying put for a while. – mjulmer Nov 9 '15 at 13:54

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