Millennials are often criticized for being “entitled” in the workplace — seeking a “better” job with higher pay, stronger benefits, or nicer co-workers or managers. As with most rumors, there is some truth in here too.
Many twenty-somethings are job-hoppers, staying at one job for six months to a year to gain a certain type of experience to add to their resume before moving on to a new challenge. Contrary to some opinions of the people sitting at the top of the corporate ladder, this may not be such a bad thing.
Choosing your life path at 18 is scary, and then being thrown into the highly competitive job market at 22 can be downright terrifying. Getting any job at all is essential to begin paying your student debt, moving out of your parent’s house, and achieving your unique financial goals — so you take what you can find.
That first job out of school is probably not your dream job (if it is, please share your secrets), but it can help you grow as a valuable employee in your field. Stay there as long as you can hold out for less than ideal hours, pay, or overall environment, and think of the situation as a learning experience. Dealing with difficult co-workers allows you develop conflict resolution skills. Working with exasperating clients teaches patience and empathy. Early morning or late night hours show dedication and perseverance. The silver lining of that first not-so-great job is the plethora of resume builders hiding in your office that will help you land your next opportunity.
Every person you encounter is an opportunity. People who job-hop without burning bridges can build a huge network of future employers, references, and colleagues. The key here is to leave each job gracefully. Never speak badly about a former manager, since there is no way to know who is a part of their circle.
Always give two weeks notice, and say thank you for the opportunities you were given. Those few months spent with an employer will look much more appealing to a hiring manager if that same employer is willing to give you a positive recommendation for your next endeavor.
It’s okay to find out what you do not want to do — you will spend a lot of years in the workforce. Each field of study is multifaceted, so taking a job in a certain specialization without falling in love is not a disaster.
My degree is in human nutrition, and it took exactly five months for me to decide that I would rather not continue working in a hospital setting. Luckily, there were other options, and I learned the valuable lesson to stop applying to clinical jobs when I would rather work out in the community. Plenty of twenty-somethings share similar stories, and that’s okay!
Learning what you don’t enjoy doing is just as important as finding a job that makes you happy to wake up each morning.
Job-hopping can help you build your professional network, round out your resume, and help you find a career you feel fits your personality and skill set as long as it is done with etiquette. Life is too short to spend 40 years locked into a job you hate; so take a chance, apply for something new, give your notice, and don’t forget to say thank you before you leave!