The Work Nomad’s good and bad

A work nomad what is commonly known as a job hopper is that person that moves from one employer to another in a very short period of time.

This person will try it, hate it, and then try something else. In a week, a month a year. Moving from one work place to another and looking for some fulfillment or better pay or better benefits whatever the excuse, makes them move. And often.

The good part is

Are decisive

People who are willing to change jobs frequently until they find what they are looking for are decisive. They can decide very quickly if the job they have landed has any opportunity for growth.

Believe it or not, some people will stay at one job for many years before it dawns on them that they are not moving forward.

A job nomad will pick up very quickly if there is no future for them where they have landed.

Like Purpose

A sense of purpose is very high on the job nomad’s list and this means they want to know the mission and purpose of the person or company they will work for.

Some jobs are well paid but if the purpose and the mission conflict with the job nomad’s values, they will not hesitate to cut and run.

Are Flexible

As they are willing to change jobs frequently, it means that they are willing to change assignments frequently. They are not thrown off by the list of to-dos’ change from day to day or from hour to hour. Something which easily throws off and frustrates many people.

Frequent change of assignments means that they are good with emergencies and can think on their feet. An asset to have in a busy and ever changing environment.

The bad is

It’s Noticeable

The moves are noticeable on the CV. Which can be perceived as bad and land you with a bad reputation. Or a ‘take it and run’ label.

This is very off putting for companies and bosses that operate and rely on consistency. Consistent staff numbers especially. So this grabbing and running does not sit well with them. And tells them that you are unreliable and a type that is never stopping to face consequences.

This vision of endless optionality gives employers the jitters and no matter how good you are at what you do, you may get passed over. By someone who does not give the impression of having one foot out the door but will hunker down and commit.

Is Career Suicide

Many careers will require going through different stages and processes and are built over time. Meaning they need you to actually learn and master certain job in a prescribed sequence. The process is not a la carte, where you can pick and choose what you will or will not do.

These days no company is going to love you back, if you do not love them back. And it will show with your staying power and your willingness to put in the effort for advancement. Your time, energy, and commitment to doing the work that takes long and not quick and easy is what great careers are made of.

Building a career, as a job nomad you will not happen or will take long. You will miss out career growth opportunities that may come after you have left. As these days many organizations do not stay the same. They are continuously pivoting and adapting to the changes around them. When you move, you risk being part of that change.

If you want your career to stay alive, you will have to think not so much about having a multitude of options and abundant choices but making thoughtful and serious decisions and then sticking with them long enough to fairly determine whether they’re right for you and you’re right for them.

Takes a Toll

Every time that a nomad moves, means that they are starting over with quite a few things. And this can cost you, financially, emotionally and personally.

The most obvious to point at are that you may take longer to qualify for leave, your benefits may not rise as fast as your peers and finding your footing in the socially and professionally at the new work place takes time.

The salary maybe tempting to make you move but, it is better to evaluate the entire package at the new place. Look at the hours you will be working, the amounts you will be spending on transport, rent (if you rent) the leave days (and how soon you can go on leave) the opportunities to make over-time etc.

Note too, if the job you are eyeing to hop on to next has a higher salary but the work culture is not to your liking, it may not be wise to switch jobs. Your mental health matters more than the money. Remember this.


A Zambian site sharing quick read articles around work, money and adulting life with selective interviews and quotes.
The founder, editor and lead writer who left university with a good grasp of public administration, economics, money, banking and international relations is also qualified in journalism and creative writing. She has been published in Drum and The BBC Focus on Africa Magazine and has been featured in several local and international publications.
An avid bird watcher with an extraordinary fondness for chikanda ( a Zambian delicatessen that vegans and non-vegans world-wide are putting on their bucket list ) she often tweets in poetry and short prose @kwachalelo