How to Jump From Startup to Startup Without Hurting Your Career

It's not taboo to jump from job to job anymore. But you have to know the right way to do it.

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By Lindsay Broder


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Do you jump from startup to startup? Going from one job to another in rapid succession is traditionally frowned upon, mostly because it damns you for being disloyal with no buy-in. Also, companies do bear a cost for on-boarding new employees, so they expect you to spend a little time with them for the trouble.

Still, particularly in the startup world, it isn't uncommon for executives to hop from one position to another. In fact, it becoming more common.

But it is that a good idea for your career? The answer is that it depends. If you're worried you are changing jobs in too rapid of a succession and might be hurting your later career chances, think about the following questions:

Is this truly a better opportunity?
The biggest mistake serial job-hoppers make is getting the same old car with a shinier coat of paint. Before you accept any new position, consider if this move will enhance and advance your career or if it will keep you right where you are now. Often when professionals receive an offer that includes even a small bump up in compensation, they will falsely see it as career advancement. It is not about the pay. Hirers don't mind multiple companies on a resume if they show meaningful advancement. A bunch of companies where you essentially held the same job can hold you back.

Have you accomplished what you were hired for at your current company?
While having multiple jobs might be the way to go, you don't want to leave your employer in a worse position than he or she was before you were hired. Remember, your presence there is not only about you. You are a piece of the foundation. This is especially true in the startup world, where there are generally few executives, managing aggressive business plans with tight timetables for completion. You should want to finish what you started, even if that means setting up practices for success or hitting certain key milestones that keep your employer reasonably certain that everything will be on track, even if you leave.

What will be the impact of your departure on the organization?
How reliant is the day-to-day operation of your current organization on your contribution? Even if you hate where you're working or seriously dislike your employer, your reputation is not only about what your boss thinks of you. You want to show professionalism to your colleagues and subordinates as well, especially if your departure affects them directly. So much of the startup world depends on team dynamics. While you have to make decisions based on what is best for you, you also have to think of your colleagues. Chances are, you might work with some of them down the line.

Will making a move burn bridges?
It's important to walk away with all of your bridges intact. Burning them will only hurt you, especially if you plan to hold multiple jobs in your lifetime. Give as much notice as you can. Two weeks is standard but if they request for you to stay a few more days try to work that out. When you break the news, make sure you let your current employer know that you've already started planning strategies for ensuring a smooth transition. Also, be upfront as to why you are leaving. Your boss might learn a thing or two about shortcomings in his own organization that he can repair.

Lindsay Broder

The Occupreneur Coach

Lindsay Broder, The Occupreneur® Coach, is a certified professional coach based in New York. A Wall Street veteran, she specializes in Occupreneur® coaching, strategy and crisis management services for executives, business leaders and organizations striving to improve their businesses or careers.

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