The fastest way to make more money

This is a generalization, but the fastest way to make more money as an employee is to job hop.

For some reason, the company you work for, tends to not appreciate or value you until you’re about to leave.

Suddenly, you’re an essential asset to the whole organization and they start throwing money at you in desperation to get you to stay.

Of course, if your company is awesome for so many other reasons such as a short commute, great perks, benefits, a great team to work with, leaving for even $10,000 more per year may not be worth it, and I’d agree with you.

But once you make the decision to leave and you turn in your notice, then leave.

Your situation there won’t change with the equal amount of money, or more money.  You are presumably leaving for other reasons as well, not just the money, and you’ve weighed all the pros and cons 50 times over before quitting.

Frankly, if I were the employer who knew you wanted to leave, I’d offer you money to stay and then fire you at the first chance I could.

That said, there are always exceptions. I know people who have threatened to leave, was offered more money to stay, and everything was fine.

This is partly the reason why I quit before I could be fired at my last company, I knew what I said to my manager about refusing to become a slave to their ridiculous policies was the proverbial nail in my coffin.

We are not in the days of when we can stay at one company for the rest of our lives at a steady salary, great benefits, fantastic job security and then retire with a very generous package.

While some jobs in the public sector for example, still have jobs available like that, there aren’t many out there.

Disclaimer: Please don’t get offended when I am talking about these following amounts “not being a lot of money” or if you think I’m sounding like some privileged, spoiled brat who doesn’t appreciate $2000/year.

I know it’s a lot of money, even for me today it is (that’s an extra $167/month!)

I am just highlighting some examples that are taken from my own perspective and therefore my own bias.

And as always.. what works for me, may not work for you.

The Story of a $25,000 raise

When I started working for a company, I made $65,000 a year.

If I had quit after a few years and then job hopped to another company, they would have easily paid $90,000 a year for me.

I know these numbers because I checked (and still check) with recruiters for permanent positions, and they all tell me that $90,000 – $120,000 is the range for my skills.

This is also in line with the minimum rate that I currently charge (I charge double what my annual salary would be, divided into 2000 hours).

But would I have gotten that $90,000 salary staying at my old company? Not bloody likely.

I got a single $2000 raise in the years I worked for them, plus a $1000 bonuses at the end of each year, no matter how many hours I worked, how much extra stuff I did for them and how often I smashed my targets.

Each time you start at a new company, it’s like re-negotiating for a huge raise all over again.

Few Other Examples:

  • Friend who started at the same time as me at the company still earns the same $50,000 they offered her at the start; no bonuses now
  • Another guy was working at $80,000 & because another company was more desperate, they paid $100,000 for him
  • Yet another friend job hopped to another industry altogether and raised his salary by $20,000

Caution! Don’t job hop all the time

I knew a guy who job hopped every 3 months and then got burned, being out of a job for 9 months, being the sole breadwinner.

  • Started at $90,000 at a job that had no travel and was secure
  • Job hopped to a very secure company for $120,000 with a little bit of travel
  • Job hopped again in 4 months to another company for $140,000 because they also promised “no travel”
  • Job hopped again 2 months later for $150,000 because it was also  “no travel” and extra perks over the other job
  • Got fired from the job3 months later  because the market dried up for a year (recession)
  • Waited without employment for 9 long months while he racked up the credit cards & lines of credit
  • Finally accepted the first job that was offered at $90,000 with 100% travel and had to uproot his whole family for the job
  • Now he’s hoping he can go back to the first few companies he left impulsively, and without thinking it over

Yeah, these are all huge numbers, so he has nothing to complain about in my opinion, but if he had just stayed at Job #2, he wouldn’t have been fired for at least 2 years seeing as the company had many other lines of business to be able to retain ‘dead weight’.

This guy got a taste of job hopping and thought he was so in demand that once the littlest thing went “bad” for him at his current job, he was on the phone with headhunters.

He only saw the $$$ signs in the salary, and he didn’t consider all the other major things that go into a job:

  • how short your commute is
  • how they treat you
  • whether travel is required or not (maybe you like traveling!)
  • the perks and benefits of the office
  • the team you work with
  • healthcare and dental benefits
  • retirement packages
  • career advancement and training opportunities

When you should explore the option of Job Hopping:

  • consider the general job market (recession = not a great idea, but it can be possible)
  • consider the market/industry health — doing well? hot? cold? lukewarm? don’t jump if it’s dying, but think about leaving
  • you need to have what the market wants to pay for
  • you need to know your job and have the right skills & certifications (if required)
  • consider if your company has other non-monetary perks — great benefits, job security, no travel required, awesome colleagues
  • don’t job hop frequently, it looks really bad on your resume
  • think about freelancing instead, if the market can bear it
  • you need to be able to live with your decision – no regrets
  • if they offer you more money to stay at your current employer turn it down or risk being unhappy again or fired

Have any of you job hopped?

Please recount your experiences here, good or bad!

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.