Three Ways Job-Hopping has Shaped My Career

Job-hopping was once looked down upon, with short employment stints reflecting a disloyal or even a potentially incapable employee. Nowadays, however, job-hopping is gaining new perspective from employers. More and more they are noticing the personal and professional benefits this type of career path gives to their employees.

During the years when the Baby Boomer Generation entered the workforce,  people started their first job, climbed the ladder within the same company, collected their pension 30 years later, and called it a career. Today, younger generations are doing things a little differently, with 58% of Millennials planning to leave their job within 3 years or less. Instead of pensions on their mind, they are focused on finding meaningful work and a sense of accomplishment.

At least, that’s what I have been after in my own job-hopping path.

I am about to turn 26, have been out of college for a little under four years, and I have already lived in 4 different cities and have had 4 completely different jobs. I went from following my childhood dream job of being a dolphin trainer in Chicago, to working as a project manager at a pharmaceutical consulting company in New York City, to working for an emergency animal hospital in Boston, to now working at a tech start-up in my hometown of Pittsburgh.

The last four years have taught me a lot, and my disjointed career path has given me both personal benefits and professional experiences. Has it always been easy? No. Has it always been fun and exciting? No. But I have seen firsthand that the pros of job-hopping far outweigh the cons.

First and foremost, I have created a diverse background for myself, gaining knowledge within different environments and cultures. I have been exposed to a variety of challenges in different industries, and because of that I can look at things through a few different lenses and am able to bring new ideas to the table. Taking these different routes has also led me to learning skills I did not know I had, and ones that I actually enjoy using.

Secondly, being part of all these different industries has given me the chance to really broaden my professional network. Because I have taken a somewhat scrambled path, I have been able to meet people from several different industries, find out what they do, and why they work within that realm. Those conversations have not only led to me learning about each industry in-depth, but it has also provided me the chance to learn from working professionals how to excel by finding out what skills and tools I need to move upward and onward.Three Ways Job-Hopping has Shaped My Career Path

Finally, and best of all, job-hopping has allowed me to find the perfect fit in a career. I know it is possible to be happy with your job, to wake up each morning ready to take on the day. With each job has come new light bulbs, lighting up when I realize aspects I love, like a flexible work schedule, and aspects I hate, like traveling 75% of the time. I want my best attributes, my passions, and what I believe in to shine through in my career, and job-hopping has allowed me to really explore what that looks like.

While I have had a mostly positive experience with this career path, there have been some cons along the way. For instance I haven’t always felt secure professionally, when I was making a career change. Also, in interviews it sometimes proved difficult to convince an employer that I am a loyal, capable professional. But those moments to me seem so small compared to what I know l will accomplish.

As you can see from my experience, there is a lot to be learned about yourself by taking this type of career path. It is becoming a more common alternative than longer tenures at one company, with 32% of employers saying they have come to expect job hopping. At the end of the day though, no matter what path you took to get into your job, if you are happy and excited to take on your work day, you are already successful – and that’s my ultimate career goal.