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Opinion
Is Job-Hopping a Good Thing For the Young?
Young people with ambition must develop a good understanding of their working capabilities before job-hopping
 NO. 40-41 OCTOBER 4, 2018
(LI SHIGONG)

In China, young people quitting their jobs within three months, or even three days, after starting is a relatively new phenomenon.

A report released by social platform LinkedIn showed that on average, people born in the early 1990s generally choose to quit their first job 19 months after starting, while those born in the late half of the 1990s quit after seven months. This was very different from the four and a half years for the generation born in the 1970s, and the three years for the 1980s group.

In recent years, more and more people born in the late 1990s have entered the labor market, increasing cases of job-hopping. Will this kind of behavior create a negative impact on the young? How can they find a job that matches their capabilities within a short period of time so as to reduce quitting and minimize the costs of job-hopping? These questions are becoming increasingly important.

Some blame the young for their impetuousness and unrealistic and inflated assessment of their own capabilities, arguing that this behavior will not only diminish the chances for them to learn new skills and accumulate work experience, but will also affect the stability of company staff. Yet others think it's not necessarily a bad thing for the young to frequently change jobs, since sometimes they find a job can't bring them any useful experience or may even hinder their efforts to realize self-fulfillment. They argue that job-hopping is somewhat a result of economic restriction and social transformation, so young people should not be the target of criticism.

Better in the long run

Wang Zhongdi (Guangming Daily): Currently, the changes taking place in economic models are beyond the public's comprehension. Take some so-called unicorn enterprises for example. Yesterday, they were attracting huge investments and prospering, but tomorrow they may be acquired by other companies. When even emerging businesses face such unstable conditions, how can we expect young people to always stay at the same job?

Of course, enterprises hope to see a stable staff base, but labor contracts are two-way. While enterprises have the right to select their preferred candidates, workers also have the right to choose their employers. Today, the young are more likely to use their right to choose not only by the general treatment a company offers but also by the office atmosphere and the prospects of future development, among other things.

This change is closely related to the environment in which they are growing up. Generally speaking, the generation born in the 1990s has grown under relatively wealthy conditions. Their families offer them sufficient support in various aspects and some of them depend on their families for basic living needs even after becoming adults. Under these circumstances, they do not have to worry about a livelihood after quitting a job.

Frequent job-hopping in the early years after graduation is different from such behavior throughout one's entire career. In the former case, young people are mostly exploring a suitable way of living and are designing their career. Some of them may ultimately locate a suitable and satisfactory job and then settle down. No one can be guaranteed that their first job is the one they will really love.

Superficially, frequent job-hopping among the young is pushing up companies' costs of employing staff. But a deeper analysis reveals that talent's mobility is an important channel to unleash their potential, which can also benefit employers in the long run. When they are engaged in a job they are really interested in, young people will dedicate themselves to the work instead of idling away their valuable time. This will more likely lead to a rational distribution of human resources.

Zhang Wei (comment.scol.com.cn): In the past, Chinese people favored stable jobs and seldom quit jobs. Today, the young generation faces a new work environment. Maybe they have a job that is great in other people's eyes, but they are not satisfied with it and quit shortly after taking it.

Although it might affect staff stability at the company, to some extent it actually reflects the vitality of society and the economy. Employment is a two-way choice. It is meant to best distribute human resources. It is a win-win design for both employers and employees.

For young job hunters, as long as they are not struggling under economic pressures, they have enough time and energy to secure a job they are really interested in. If someone wants to be among the best in a certain area, they must follow their true interests. As for employers, a stable and devoted staff is undoubtedly a blessing for them.

It's better to give the young more freedom to choose a satisfying job instead of tying them to a job they dislike. Only in a place that really suits and interests them can their potential be fully brought into play.

Losing out on experience

Wu Xue'an (Procuratorial Daily): Through frequent job-hopping, some young people hope to get higher wages. Some job-hop before they have a clear plan for their career.

Compared to previous generations, those born in the 1990s pay more attention to personal development over teamwork. They stress the realization of personal values more than other generations. Their job-hopping should not be simply attributed to material reasons or personal temperament. To a large extent, it's a result of an extensive and massive social transformation. Ongoing economic restriction leads to various changes in work positions. Sometimes the young have to change jobs to secure a better life.

I understand normal job-hopping, but I don't advocate frequent quitting. Particularly, I think it shows a lack of a sense of responsibility when some young people only sign contracts but don't take the job, or they quit the job shortly after taking it. Repeated job-hopping not only harms individuals' long-term development but also undermines a company's stability and normal operations. As for young people, they generally lack the experience and capacity to work well, since they have just finished college; these things can be obtained only through work. Even if it is a dull job, at least they can learn to be resilient. Besides, if they are always ready to quit, they will not get to know the essence of a business's corporate culture. For new graduates, they need to clarify two questions. First, where do their interests lie? And second, what is their advantage? To locate a satisfactory job, these two factors are necessary.

For those who want to achieve their career dreams, they have to set up a career plan as early as possible, so that they will be able to move toward the final goal step by step in an orderly manner.

To abide by the contract in a spirit of honesty is a principle that all must follow in the labor market. College graduates need to control their impetuousness and stay in one company or organization for several years. After gaining experience, they are better equipped to find better jobs.

Lei Lei (www.scol.com.cn): The previous generations valued stability more than anything else, while the generation born in the 1990s pays more attention to personal feelings and the prospect of further development. The change taking place in their attitudes toward work coincides with the social transformation, so they can't be simply denounced as irrational.

A lot of examples from their predecessors tell them that if they want to achieve self-fulfillment, they must start work as early as possible. As a result, some young people slip into daydreaming. For example, some of them do not hunt for stable jobs, but instead choose to be network anchors or live streaming hosts. They take advantage of favorable policies on innovation to steer toward their dream. In this atmosphere, the impulse to quit jobs and the desire for instant success are just irresistible.

The process of finding a job is also a process through which the young can get to know themselves better. There should be a moderate mobility from this job to that one, but too much job-hopping is neither in the interests of individuals nor businesses. In some cases, the young quit a job just because their company doesn't offer delicious meals, they have to use public toilets or they can't see a future in the company.

Rich experiences will help the young to find a better job, but this is rarely the case with job-hopping. It's great that young people have ambition and are eager for success in their career, but they must have a good understanding of their own working capability as well.

Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo

Comments to dingying@bjreview.com

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