Young workers are often warned of the dangers of so-called ‘job hopping,’ or frequently switching from one job to the next.

If you have already got your foot in the door in one career, why risk failure by suddenly switching career paths? A history of job hopping may also make you seem flighty and directionless to future employers, right?

However, According to University of Michigan Economist Justin Wolfers, job hopping should be encouraged upon first entering the working world.

“Approach your career ambitions the same way you approached your romantic ambitions at college. Sure, you’re looking for ‘The One,’ but the only way to find that is by going on a lot of dates. And you should think about your first job as a good first date. Try it out. If you like it, stick around for another year. But if not, ask another employer out. And keep playing the field until you’ve found the job you want to stay with.

This pattern of hopping between jobs while young, before settling down, is in remarkably common. And it makes sense, too. Romantic success never follows from trying to improve your partner; it follows from moving on and finding a better match. The same is true in the world of work.

Indeed, economic research shows that most large pay gains come not from your boss promoting you, but rather from moving to a job that’s a better fit, with a different employer.”

Too often millennials have been reprimanded for not knowing what they want to do.

They are being forced to pick career paths upon entering college, to choose a major relevant to that career path and to just stick to it.

Those who have sudden “this is not what I want to do” realizations are told “too bad!” and are made to feel like it is too late to start anew.

But how are naïve 18 year olds expected to know, with conviction, what career to choose when they have often had zero experience in the post-grad job market?

We are encouraging a young generation to live in panic that they have to have it all figured out too early – that they should rush into brash career decisions based on financial security before even seeing what the job market has to offer.

Even worse, we may be encouraging our young generation to squander their potential – to dedicate their lives to careers that may be poorly suited to their talents and interests.

So, let us all please give college students and recent graduates a break. Let them have a little fun before they settle down – so long as they do eventually.

If one job does not work out, there are, as they say, plenty of other fish in the sea.


Thomas Freeman is Texas-transplant and aspiring journalist trying (but often failing) to navigate New York City. A current NYU student, Thomas also writes articles and manages media content for 20to30.

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