Career Advice Tueday – “Advice for Job Hoppers”

May 24, 2011

Dear Infosecleaders:

I have been working in a company for over two (2) years now, and for the last eighteen months I have been focused on Privacy Controls Implementation.

Plain and simple, I find this work to be boring.  I have a difficult focusing on my current job and I feel that my work is suffering due to my lack of enthusiasm and the loss of passion.

My initial goal would be to remain with my company, but my manager is not open to my request and simply told me to “keep my head down” and focus on my current project.

I would really like to begin a search for another employer, and to find an opportunity that lets me shift my focus, and let me utilize some of my other skills as an information security professional.   However, I have a history of changing positions every two years, and I have run into the obstacle of being labeled as a “job hopper”.

For the record – I have worked for six companies in my 14 year information security career.

I am not sure how to overcome this obstacle, and progress toward my career goal.   Do you have any suggestions on how I can implement a strategy to change roles and overcome the perception of my lack of commitment?

Any ideas would be welcomed.


“Frog Man”


Dear “Froggy”:

Unfortunately, we do not have much help for you.   The best that I can offer is to utilize your experience to help others, so that they can utilize this as a learning tool for their own careers.

The fact is that history is a very good predictor of future results, and to any new employer it is logical for them to assume that you will only remain at your current position for two years (or slightly more) at a time.   The fact that this is a repeatable pattern – not just once, twice or three times – but six times – is a good indication that you will not stay with your next employer much longer.

In this day and age, hiring managers are facing greater scrutiny when hiring external resources, and if they decide to provide you with an opportunity for employment it is likely that their judgment is going to come into question by their managers.   Many hiring mangers are unwilling to take this risk, as the competition for their jobs is greater.

Therefore your dilemma, Froggy.

If any of you beginning information security professionals are reading this, this should be a lesson and a situation that you need to avoid.   You have to understand that your career and your career choices tell a story, and are a reflection of your decision making, your intangibles, and your personal make-up.   It is often very easy to pick up and leave your employer, however the decision that provides you with instant gratification, often has longer term implications.  This will limit your choices and create an obstacle that you may not be able to overcome.

Take a lesson from Froggy – and try to make sure that you exhaust all internal options prior to making a career decision.   Understand that when you decide to change jobs, try to determine if there is room for growth, and work with your manager to determine the best way to develop your skills and create opportunities for yourself that challenge you and grow.

Back to you Froggy – you are going to have to grit it out- and try your best to convince your manager to provide you with an opportunity that will renew your passion.  You need to demonstrate this by finding it within yourself to become the best Privacy Controls Implementation professional possible, and seek out opportunities that allow you to leverage this expertise into new roles with your current employer.

Give yourself an additional year to do this, and see how it turns out.    In the meantime, take the year to make some personal career investments that may align with your future goals.   When the time is right to go for another interview, you can tell a better story – about how you “stuck it out”,  “tried your best to make it work” – and rededicated yourself to your career -  that is a powerful story that any progressive hiring manager will like to hear – and can sell to their management when asked about your employment history and ”job hopping”.

Write us in a year, let us know how this turns out.

Wish we could be more immediate help,

Lee and Mike


Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Behavior, Branding, Career Advice Tuesday, Planning, Position Selection, Uncategorized 


2 Responses to “Career Advice Tueday – “Advice for Job Hoppers””

  1. Pete on May 24th, 2011 11:27 am

    Frog Man, have you thought about consulting/contracting? Your history may not be an issue for a contracting or consulting firm. The work tends to change at least that frequently from my experience.

  2. Paul on May 24th, 2011 3:03 pm

    Very good point about contracting … at even the sample resume profiles the finer points of a contract job.