There is a stereotype that millennials are frequent job hoppers, despite the fact that there are scientific studies that show that millennials are not job hopping as frequently.
I have frequently contemplated and have made career changes before. Having experienced career transitions and pivots, going from social media, to film, to now teaching, I have mixed feelings regarding job hopping. Here are the reasons why.
3 Reasons I Have Mixed Feelings About Job Hopping
1. Job Hopping Looks Bad On A Resume (Unless It’s Internal Or There’s an Obvious Gap In Skills That Is Filled)
It is no secret that job hopping looks bad to employers.
Think about it: How would you feel if someone who worked for you kept jumping around from job to job or not fulfilling their contractual obligations? Yeah, bad right? It shows that you are inconsistent and unreliable. There is a reason the age-old saying “You can be a jack of all trades but a master of none,” has stuck around.
Employers like to see consistency, results, and growth. Job hopping (unless the transition is internal or fills an obvious gap in skills) does not contribute to that image. It also raises the obvious question of why you made the transition from one industry to another.
The ability to answer those questions is a skill in itself. Keep in mind, though, that employers also like to see loyalty and longevity in a company. If your resume shows that you consistently jump around, any potential employer will have to consider the possibility that you might do the same in the position you’re applying for, no matter how well you can justify your decision to walk away.
Each transition that I have made has presented its own challenges, as everything does in life. Be it the steep learning curve or adjusting to a new country, there were times when I wondered how I could apply the skills I had to the new responsibilities I had been given. Learning how to do each job well took time, some more than others.
However, I am grateful for the experience of having gone through multiple transition phases in my career for the simple reason that, as someone told me, “You never start over. You start more experienced.”
2. Every Job Experience Teaches You Something About What You Don’t Want
Not to sound like I’m beating a dead horse since I’ve written about this before, but every experience teaches you something about yourself. Every job is an opportunity to learn and grow. Understanding what you don’t want is perhaps even more valuable than understanding what you do want in a career.
From my perspective, it’s better to job hop now in your twenties than any other time in your career. Exploring what you want and don’t want early on allows you to hone your skills and focus your career path as you get older. Not to mention that it gets progressively more difficult to change careers as you get older.
Exploring jobs by job hopping lets you experience and learn more about a particular industry and what is expected, in addition to developing and honing new or existing skills. What may read as the ideal job on paper may actually end up being very different once you actually find yourself performing the expected responsibilities.
By the same token, jobs that you thought you might not enjoy might end up being the best job for you. You never know where it may lead you or who you may meet who knows someone or even a better position for you.
As part of my work-study arrangement at university, I applied for a job transcribing YouTube video content; when the interviewer looked at my resume, and saw that I had experience making films, she referred me to a job in the public relations department making promotional videos for the university’s YouTube channel. The position turned out to be a much better fit for me, and I was ultimately happier.
3. There’s No Use Prolonging A Career You Know You’re Not Happy In
While I’m not suggesting that you turn around and quit your job cold turkey if you’re not happy with it, I do think that there’s no use prolonging a career you’re unhappy with. However, make sure that you are doing other necessary things to smooth out that transition like speaking to recruiters or other people out there who have made similar transitions.
Obviously preparing a quality resume and application will help as well. If there is something you’re unhappy with, look for another role that utilizes the skills you think you have (if you would like to continue working in a certain field) or find a way to lay the foundation to transition to another field. It’s difficult, but it’s not impossible.
Career transitions are a natural part of life, especially because it’s rare for people to stay in one career for the entire span of their working life. We spend a major percentage of our lives working following our academic careers. As a co-worker of mine once said, “Try to find a job you can stand doing. No one job will tick all your boxes.”
Yes, we all depend on money to survive, especially in our twenties when we are navigating the post-graduate world. It is common knowledge that job hopping can be seen as a negative thing. However, there are some positives that come with job hopping, which is why I have mixed feelings about it. What are your thoughts on the topic?