Friday, April 19, 2013

Confessions of a Serial Job Hopper

I was checking out the results of Evolv's Q2 2013 Workforce Report and came across an amazing finding; long-term unemployed workers and job hoppers are excellent candidates.  Wow! After years of being told by recruiters that I was perceived as flighty, indecisive, and unreliable because I didn't find a field that I was passionate about until I was 35, it has now been proven that I can be an excellent employee. Coincidentally, I read the report after my decision to write this article, and embrace and own the "job hopper" label.
Picture of Charity Rowell's resume

I Don't Like Being a Job Hopper

When I was growing up I dreamed of being a doctor, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, an archaeologist, a detective, or an airline stewardess. I did not dream about becoming a customer service representative, telemarketer, receptionist, assembly-line worker, or spending almost twenty years of my life moving from one unfulfilling job to the next. I was taught that a "good" career was finding a job that I was good at, made decent money doing, and one that offered a comprehensive benefits package including stock options or 401k. I am not proud of the fact that it took me almost twenty years to overcome my fear of failure and enroll in college, and to figure out that what I was being taught was how to live to work; however, I have found my passion, I have overcome my fear of failure to pursue it, and I am not going to allow a label to dissuade me from pursuing my passion.

It Was Not Them, It Was Me

With a few exceptions, my former employers were good places to work. I didn't want to admit that I didn't like what I was good at doing, so I placed the blame on my former employers. I didn't want to admit to myself, or my family, that I hated what I was doing and that I had no idea what career path I wanted to follow. I didn't want to be labelled as a "loser." As a result, I left some really good employers, and became known as a job hopper. In retrospect, the "loser" label is a bit easier to overcome than the "job hopper" label. Well, as the saying goes, "Hindsight is always 20/20."

I Crave Stability and Longevity

Surprise! I want to stay with a company for longer than one or two years. I want to develop lasting relationships with my supervisors and co-workers. I want to be challenged and given feedback, and I really would like to work for a company long enough to have more than $100 in my 401k upon leaving a company; especially if I retire from that company.

Picture of person holding a tape measure up to a bar graph
When I accept an interview request or a job offer from a company, I'm thinking about where I'm going to be within that company in the next one or five years; not whether or not I'm going to still be with that company in a year or two. I am also ready and willing to discuss my goals with my manager after I've been hired on.

I Have a Ton of Experience

I know it's hard to get past all of the employers listed on my resume, and it's even more difficult to cast aside a belief that we have known to be true for a long time. However, my serial job hopping is beneficial because I have not only worked in different positions, but I have also worked in different industries. In other words, I can draw from these diverse work experiences to come up with ideas or programs that will benefit a company.

You never know.... The next great product, service, ad campaign, employee engagement, productivity, or employee perk idea may come from a job hopper.

Thoughts? Comments? 

Do you agree or disagree with me? Do you think that I have lost my mind? Let me know in the comments.

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