Millennials are set to be the majority in the workforce in the upcoming years, that is if they’re not already running most offices.
5-10 years ago I remember reading article after article about how millennials were disastrous for companies because of their lack of loyalty and lack of respect for hierarchy and systems. Employers were scratching their heads trying to wrap their head around how to retain the best millennial talent. “What do you mean, you don’t want to pick up my coffee and work your way up from the mailroom? But that’s how everyone starts?!?!”
At the time, we were job hopping furiously trying to find opportunities that fit our best interest. Some of us were smart enough to realize that spending 5 years in a mailroom after spending thousands on higher education just wasn’t going to cut it.
I’ve personally had 8 jobs in the past 8 years! That’s a different job every year! Of course some of my employment was short-lived while others lasted 2-3 years. But honestly I’ve never stayed somewhere more than 2-3 years! Yet I’m making close to six figures in salary and compared to other comparable positions, I’m at the top of my pay scale.
So after 8 years of relentless job hopping here are some thoughts on how to make it work for you. Is job hopping good or bad? That’s totally up to you!
1) Realize the bigger picture of your position. Think about how will this add to your resume.
The only time you’re allowed to have a lackluster resume is during those few years after college. Even so, the lack of experience will cause you to be scrambling for meaningful work or any work at all. Because of this difficulty some people settle for the first job they land. Some people end up in the service industry like bartending or waiting. Others end up at a dead-end office job getting coffee for someone at a company that no ones ever heard of.
Smart employees take these opportunities for what they are and plan their exit strategy. They take on more than their role so they can add some extra skills to their resume. They bide their time while a side hustle slowly flourishes into a reliable business.
2) You are not entitled to a growing career just because you have a diploma.
One of the hardest truths I’ve learned is that I was the only person that was capable of growing my career. No one else. All the dead-end jobs I ever had, the managers and coworkers would have been just as happy to let me stay there for all eternity as long as I did a good enough job.
Advancement? Ha! If you can call a 2% cost of living raise advancement, I guess so.
It’s a hard truth to swallow because universities and colleges tend to brag about how 99.9% of their graduates find jobs in the field of their choice within 6 months. You’re raised to believe that if you don’t succeed right away, it’s your fault. You’ll talk to your college guidance counselor and they’ll just say, “just network more.”
So for me job hopping was the best way to be in control of my work situation and career. By changing jobs frequently I was able to gain the knowledge I needed and move on to greener and more profitable pastures.
I would sometimes feel guilty for leaving, like, “omg, they need me…I can’t leave.” And I think people, especially women, tend to view their work like friends or family and feel loss when it’s time to move on… but at the end of the day we need to look out for own best interest.
3) You can give yourself some major pay raises by job hopping.
With every job you’ve taken, hopefully they’ve helped you add to your repertoire of skills so now that you’ll be in a position to negotiate and market what you bring to the table.
Here are the job hops I’ve made to help you’ve visualize what I did to make sure that each job and subsequent “hop” turned itself into a payday.
- Office job- sales job selling and organizing the movements of goods: $30K, 1 year period.
- Brief stint as a rental broker $1200. 3-4 month period
- Business owner- cosmetic distribution company- $5K over 1 year.
- Perfume salesperson- on and off for a few years, 8K over that period.
- Target Associate $3000- 6 month period. (I was pregnant during this time, so just needed light and easy work)
- Receptionist at a new rental building- 75K over a 10 month period. (This was a troll position and I was definitely overpaid, but it was a blessing during the time I was a new mother. It ended after 10 months because it was a contract position).
- Real estate broker – Year 1 $6000, Year 2, $30K, Year 3 $45K.
- Full time salesperson for developers $80K
So my jobs were pretty diverse and but the main focus is that I’ve done sales jobs for the majority of my 8 years and, during interviews and my resume, I was able to convey how all these different opportunities helped me grow as a competitive salesperson.
Of course some things were irrelevant like that very short stint as a rental broker and that time I had to work at Target to make ends meet but those experiences still keep me humble as to how far I’ve come. In the end I’ve left the more irrelevant experiences off the resume.
Overall, I think that job hopping has become more normalized. People are realizing that they are not being rewarded or recognized for they loyalty and dedication but rather, treated like replaceable cogs in the corporate machine. When there’s nothing to gain from staying, what is there to lose from leaving?
For me, my experience job hopping has been confusing and uncertain at times. I wanted to know if I was going to make it somewhere where I felt I was earning a reasonable living. And I finally made it!
My one piece of advice is to look at the big picture of what you need and want and commit to that over everything and everyone else.
Wishing you all the best of luck on your careers. Feel free to share in the comments below.
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