“Wow, you’ve done a lot since graduating!" a colleague exclaimed, after I explained how I’d spent the last few years.
7 jobs in 3 years.
At a recent interview, (aka applying for my 8th), I was asked why I'd changed jobs so often. Like a rehearsed answer at a call centre, I reeled off my logical reasons for leaving each one. They nodded understandingly, but seemed uncertain. Of course, I see how it could look bad to a potential employer. Or could it?
In a survey conducted by Future Workplace, 91% of millennials expected to stay in their jobs for less than 3 years. I’ve already surpassed that... seven-fold. But my mentality matches that of many millennials, and that is this:
If I ever lose passion, or motivation behind a job, or if I stop caring, I’ll question it. And if those questions only have negative answers, I’ll start to look for a change.
Our attention spans, need for instant gratification and craving to make a difference are starting to become more and more apparent in our working life – and I am a living, breathing testament to this.
My mantra has changed from ‘it's just a job’ to ‘I will not be underappreciated; I will never be a cog in the machine.’
I’m confronted with people every day who have no idea what they’re doing in work or in life.
I may be none the wiser, but at least I’m trying to figure it out instead of staying hidden behind a good salary and a free gym membership. I’m exploring what I like and don’t like, and I'm happy to take a pay cut if it means my mental health is in check and I’m staying true to my principles.
I see people that have had the soul sucked out of them because of their jobs. They’re soulless, because they settled. They dread the weekdays and live for the weekends.
That will not be me. That will never be me.
I recently turned down the chance to move back to London (I’m currently marooned on the island of Jersey and itching to get back) for a lot (and I mean A LOT) more money than my current salary. Why? Because the company wasn’t right for me – I wouldn’t have known that if it hadn’t spent the last 3 years trying things out.
Having job-hopped several times, I now want to work for something I actually care about, instead of grabbing anything I can get. It’s no longer about the money. I need fulfillment.
The 7 jobs I've done so far have shown me scope, a myriad of roles, hierarchies, and inspired a list of things I want in my career. While the jobs may have been within similar industries, with not too dissimilar tasks, the responsibilities have upped each time and, little by little, I’m getting to where I need to be.
Yes, I’ve quit too soon, or ended something without realizing how good I’ve had it. But I’ve learnt from that and, in turn, figured out what I want. Each job has come with its own learning curve. Even cleaning toilets and making beds taught me a thing or two.
My pay grade might have plateaued from time to time, but now the jobs I'm applying for are above it, and employers often comment that I’ve got a wealth and range of experience. Who would have thought?!
I see the articles trying to justify sub-par employment with ‘your job shouldn’t define you.’ Well, there are two types of people: those who work for money and those who seek to find happiness from their career. If you are the latter then yes, your job should definitely define you. Your job should be what you think your happiness is worth. If it doesn’t, you can’t value your happiness too highly.
A job is like buying a house. I’m investing, but instead of high ceilings and big front garden, I’m investing time in myself. And that’s worth shopping around for.
“Oh, but you’re just hard to please,” I hear you cry at the back. Well, yes, and so I should be, and so should you. If you value your work, yourself and what you deserve, then you should want to be as picky and pedantic as possible in striving for your goals.
It’s why so many of us are now freelancing, because we’re putting our dreams into our own hands, so we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves.
And maybe I’ll freelance one day, because I’m sick of blaming companies for not giving me what I need.
Right now, job-hopping it is, for me and a generation who are changing the future of work. We won’t take any shit.
Welcome to employment 2.0.