The Case for Job/Career Jumpers

The past eight weeks of the global COVID-19 crisis have shed some light on a host of socio-political realities and brought to the fore many questions centered on economic existence. Beyond the catastrophe visited upon the public health sector, COVID-19 has facilitated broad community-centered, very public discussion and evaluation of financial systems but, more importantly, lively dialogue of economic sustainability. Of particular merit are human capital and the pivotal roles it has played during this global event where, in the absence of some hard resources, human resources and accompanying skills-sets have been an invaluable commodity, which has helped to ensure the wellbeing of others during the crisis.

The term “career jumpers” originates from employers and HR professionals’ who hold assumptions of individuals with multiple short-tenured and/or simultaneous careers failing to possess the staying power.

Throughout my professional career as an international civil servant, entrepreneur, public speaker, and consultant, I have had the opportunity to discover different cultures and to meet dynamic individuals, including leaders, innovators, and human resource professionals that those in hiring positions termed as “Job/Career Jumpers. “ The term “career jumpers” originates from employers and HR professionals who hold assumptions of individuals with multiple short-tenured and simultaneous careers failing to possess the staying power. For this reason, untrained hiring managers/HR professionals fall short of identifying and valuing the potential contribution of a “career jumper” since they fail to recognize the immediate value of such individuals, which is outside of the average 3  to 5-year readied of the rate of investment (ROI) per hire. As a consequence, many organizations lose opportunities to fully harness resource untapped and associated competencies of these unique individuals, even though “job jumpers” are a dynamic human capital that can develop institutional capacity in relation to their professional experience, which is a byproduct of competencies developed through their professional and life experiences. 

Further, whatever the reason(s) for a job jumper, they have accumulated cross-sectoral exposure in different contexts and working situations is marked by their greater adaptability and flexibility in periods of crisis, across specific subject matter and functional teams.

Further, whatever the reason(s) for a job jumper, they have accumulated cross-sectoral exposure in different contexts and working situations is marked by their greater adaptability and flexibility in periods of crisis across specific subject matter and functional teams. As a result of their intrinsic curiosity and drive, which is enhanced by multiple careers, these individuals are poised to skillfully deal with new challenges in new roles where they use their professional competencies, multidimensional talents, and expertise across different sectors. Moreover, since these “job jumpers” are able to identify and create new opportunities, see patterns and bring new insights, many have become consultants, advisors, project managers, innovators, entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, and freelancers. An example of such a person with multidimensional talents is Randy Komisar and Kabir Sehgal. Randy earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He worked with Steve Jobs in the acquisition of Pixar and eventually assumed the CEO role of several companies and venture capitalists firms. Kabir, who himself has authored the article “Why You Should Have (at least) Two Careers,” describe having four vocations: Corporate strategist at a Fortune 500 company, US Navy Reserve officer, author of several books, and record producer.

Considering the above, leaders and HR professionals must seize every opportunity to develop an adaptable workforce by broadening their own insights and developing initiatives beyond the short-sighted ROI per hire that promote innovation among their workforce. It is through the just-in-time detection of dynamic and talented individuals that this can be achieved. An example of a missed opportunity came 10 months ago during market research that I was carrying out with one of my associates. The aim of the research was to help HR executives and business owners identify value, develop initiatives and build upon market opportunities. During this research, we interviewed several executives and business owners with the primary objective of helping them align their pain points with talent identification initiatives, acquisition, and management processes to our human capital success predictor solution. After the meeting, one of the executives expressed regret for not identifying (my) multidimensional skills during a job interview a few years ago. Nevertheless, this recognition has positively impacted our mutual appreciation of challenges in areas where we can effectively partner to develop sustainable solutions.

To recognize and nurture the multidimensional talents of “job/career jumpers”, leaders and HR professionals must upskill their human capital abilities in ways that enable them to purposefully engage and utilize the skills of these unique individuals within their organization.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of Jobs Report highlights the importance of having a workforce with multidimensional talents to be competitive and able to identify new opportunities and value creation in the Industrial Revolution 4.0. To recognize and nurture the multidimensional talents of “job/career jumpers” leaders and HR professionals must upskill their human capital abilities in ways that enable them to purposefully engage and utilize the skills of these unique individuals within their organization.