I find myself writing this post while teetering on the precipice between one job and the next. Last week, I handed in my notice to my current job, as I received news that I had been offered the role I had interviewed for on Hogmanay. (Yes. I went into an interview on New Year’s Eve after my own shift had finished and I would much rather have been sipping on my first prosecco of the day – though I have come to think that this dedication to my job search may have swayed the odds in my favour.)
In little over a week, I’ll be embarking on a new career journey, and the mere thought of it gives me nervous butterflies and I break out in a nervous sweat at the idea that I need to be the new girl. Again. And get trained up. Again. However, needs must, and I am excited to see what this new chapter brings.
Over the last couple of days I’ve been filling out endless forms and health checks for this new role, and, unlike anything I’ve ever done before, I had to fill out forms that outlined both my employment and address history over the last 6 years.
Yep. 6 years. Now, I don’t know about you guys but I have trouble remembering my own post code sometimes, let alone have to dig up the full addresses of every single place I’ve lived and worked in a duration of time spanning more than half a decade, so the task took me way longer than it should have, and it involved having to log onto both my eBay and Amazon accounts, as well as searching through historic emails to find addresses of places I’d actually forgotten I’d lived in.
Turns out, since the year 2014, I have worked in so many places that I couldn’t fit my employment history into the allotted space on the form, and had to request extra. From cheese-monger to sales assistant, sales au pair to live-in carer, personal trainer to counter girl in Chinese take-aways, my employment background is spattered with a variety of roles, and a random variety at that.
It did make me think though – from an employer’s perspective, am I viewed as a Jack-of-all-Trades? Or simply a flaky individual who can’t hold a job? Granted, some of my job changes have been unavoidable – I had to go abroad a couple of times for university, but, having graduated and been out of education for two years, shouldn’t I have a continuation of one job on my CV that lasts longer than 15 months? (Current record)
Perhaps I’m just being paranoid. Perhaps it isn’t as big a deal as I think it is, but, if our plan over the next few years materializes, then Mr OneBigStressball and I will be heading for some time abroad towards the end of this year/start of next year, and yes, that will mean that I will have to leave the job I’m about to go into, to find a job in a different country, to then leave that job after 6 months to come back here and find another job wherever we decide to finally settle down.
Sorry. Writing that out actually made me feel really nervous.
Is this my life? Am I destined to spend forever going from one job to another? As a child I saw my dad doing a similar thing. He was a delivery driver, then a learning support teacher, then a social worker, then worked at the fish counter at Safeway, before finally holding down a job as an online English teacher. Will I wake up in 20 years time with a CV employment history list as long as my arm with no real achievements to show from any of my roles? This thought scares me so much.
I read some articles which mentioned that job-hopping is something that can be viewed as a massive red flag by some prospective employers, and I mean, could you even be arsed answering ‘How come you are looking for a new job?’ over and over again? It also shows disloyalty, and, to be frank, businesses aren’t looking to hire someone to train them all up just for them to leave shortly after, which is totally understandable.
On the other hand, I don’t want to be stuck in a job I don’t really enjoy or doesn’t get my full potential just because I want to be deemed ‘loyal’. I foster good relationships pretty much everywhere I go, it’s something I’m really proud of, and though it sounds cliche, I really do think I’m a people person and it takes a lot for me not to enjoy other people’s company. That being said, I would hate myself forever if I stayed in a job solely for the people I worked with. No one else would stay behind just for the pleasure of my company, so why shouldn’t I look out for myself as well? The reason for my current move was simply financial: I had to put aside any emotion I had with regards to leaving my current role and look at the bigger picture and how my new role would change mine and Mr OneBigStressball’s life for the better.
I am passionate about writing. It is my dream to become a novelist, but right now it seems like that particular dream is just slightly too out of reach to be truly tangible, and I know it is a given that I will need to be in full time employment that doesn’t involve writing for at least another few years. I feel like for the last 2 years since graduating university I’ve just been ‘plodding along’. Whenever anyone asks how my work life is going I’m just ‘getting by’. And that’s not what I want in my life.
I was listening to a podcast earlier* and Georgia Hardstark, one of the presenters, mentioned that she made a wish years ago to become ‘mildly successful but extremely happy’ and that really resonated with me. Is it selfish to want a teeny tiny bit of success? I don’t think so. I guess I just want to be content with my life and happy in what I do, and unfortunately I just haven’t been able to find that yet. I just hope my happiness comes from a job that I find within the next few years as I don’t want to be job-hopping forever!
What are your thoughts on ‘job-hopping’?
*Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff host a podcast called My Favourite Murder, which is a great podcast if you’re not fussed about podcasts being quite long. They go off on tangents quite a bit, but it is thoroughly entertaining and is what I usually listen to on a day to day basis.