When it’s Time to “Settle Down”: No More Job Hopping

Is this you? You’re 25 or 27 and have been in the workforce either since graduating high school or college and you’re on your fourth job. You stayed at your first job a year, your second and third jobs 18 months each (well, let’s quibble: 16 months for that third job) and now, well into your fourth you’re getting….restless.

Los Angeles Careers

Stop! Employers tend to be quite open to young people who move from job to job their first few years in the workforce. But around or even before the five-year mark, they start to think twice about hiring someone who sticks around for less than a couple of years at previous jobs, especially if someone has four or more jobs on the resume in those five years.

And the job-hopping stigma is particularly acute for college graduates or for those with certifications/licenses that put them on a more traditional career track. In fact, job hopping, if done strategically – and if the hopper has an in-demand skill – can be a way to accelerate a career trajectory and/or receive considerable salary increases with each jump.

But the operative words here are: in-demand skills and strategic. Most people tend to hop about haphazardly, and that kind of job-to-job movement can hurt you in the long run, especially if several employment stints in a row are less than nine months to a year in length.

Here’s how to stop incessant hopping as you approach your mid- to late-20s.

  • Your youth IS a time to explore.

There’s really no harm nor foul if you start your first “real job” after college or high school graduation and then leave in less than a year. Employers understand this: they know that young workers may not know exactly what they want out of their work life/career. They know that even if the young person was gung ho in the beginning, she may end up finding that the company or career just isn’t for her. So leaving your first job before a year is up is OK.

However, if you enjoy the work, if you like the company, and especially if you come to the realization that this career really is one you want to pursue, you could aim to stay there for two years or so. There’s no harm in sticking around in your first job, either.

  • Remember, no matter how much you love a company, an industry or your job, it will get boring. All jobs do.

Our point? Don’t leave a job merely because you get bored. Or the excitement dissipates. No job is fun all the time. Most jobs have a lot of repetition and same old, same old. This is reality. This is the way of work and careers.

You don’t need to stay if you’re miserable, of course, but it’s often the case that newly minted workers somehow, kinda sorta, subconsciously hoped the world of work would be exciting, fresh and new All. The. Time!!!

So if you leave your first job in eight months because it wasn’t as exciting or interesting as you’d hoped, and then you leave the next one after 14 months for the same reason, and a third job after a year for pretty much the same reason, pause a minute because it may not be the job. It may be your expectations.

If that’s the case, re-read the bullet point just above.

  • How to find “the one.”

Once you’re ready to “settle down” for more than two years after moving between 3-4 jobs by your mid- to late-20s, you want to find a position that you can stick around for more than two years, one in which you can grow and prosper.

You’ve no doubt found what you don’t like about certain aspects of an industry or career, so you know to steer clear of those. You also probably know what you do like, so you want to move toward those aspects.

So before accepting a new position, follow your gut…and your head. Research the company thoroughly online: check out its LinkedIn page, its social media channels, its news releases, etc. Read its website thoroughly. Google its name and see what information comes up. After the interview and before you accept a job offer, ask if you can talk to your possibly-soon-to-be-new colleagues to get a flavor for their personalities and how they enjoy working there.

In other words, because you plan on sticking around for a while, you should aim to find out as much about the company as possible so that you’ll know more about what you’re in for. This way, you will be able to “commit” to your next employer for an I-can’t-believe-you’re-asking-me-to-stay-here-for-more-than-two-looonnnnnng-years time period.

Working as a temporary associate with Helpmates allows you to explore many different industries, companies and even roles within those companies and industries, helping you discover which ones appeal to you for the long term. Take a look at our current opportunities and follow the application instructions on those you find interesting.

If These Folks Changed Careers Mid-Stream, You Can, Too

Let’s say you’re over 30. Or 40. Even 50 or 60. And you’ve come to the realization that the career you’ve chosen isn’t the right career for you. Or you’ve decided “I only live once, and it’s time to follow my dream.”

But you feel old. You’ve been in this career for 10 or more years – perhaps even three decades – and you fear it’s too late, that the proverbial ship has sailed.

Or you may be very successful in your current career and you Just. Don’t. Want. To. Start. At. The. Bottom.

All are legitimate concerns: it won’t be easy to change careers. If older than 45 (or even – gulp! — 35), people probably will look at you as “too old.” If switching to a career that’s completely different from your current one, you more than likely will have to start at a level – and salary – below what you’re working at now.

But don’t let that stop you: at least explore the idea of a career change. After all, if the people showcased below can change careers mid-stream, you can, too.

From Senior HR Professional to Professor – in His 50s

Phillipe Gaud worked in HR for 25 years, eventually reaching senior level roles in “high profile companies.” He left that career, he says, even though there was no “real reason to abandon a career that was developing very well. No real reason, that its, except one, crucial one: I wanted something different.”

Orange County careers

He realized at the time that he could be making a huge mistake, but he now works as an affiliate professor at HEC Paris. It appears he took a huge risk, turning his first career’s knowledge into a teaching career. Doing so – making a career out of teaching all of your accumulated expertise – can make the career change easier.

Left a $500K Salary to Follow a Passion

That’s right: Susie Moore left a very lucrative position to become a life coach. She didn’t do it cold turkey, however: she started feeling restless as she approached 30 and so went for training as a life coach and started her coaching enterprise as a side hustle. Now that she’s coaching full time, she also helps other people start side hustles, even if they never want to transition the 2nd income stream into a full-time one.

Moore mentions she has helped an accountant build a side business as a Christian life coach and someone else who works as a social media director start a matchmaking service.

Starting a side business or even working part-time in your chosen next career is a wise move: you won’t have to worry about finances as you build the business and/or you lessen the risk of moving to the second career and then finding you don’t enjoy it!

Fulfilling the dream of Fighting Fires, at Age 56!

Firefighters tend to be in the 20s and 30s: after all, it takes a lot of physical strength and stamina to work a fire line. Firefighters still in the game in their 40s and 50s tend to become  captains and, well, they lead those who fight fires; they may not actively battle them as much as they used to.

Plus, if you’re a woman, it’s all that harder to become a firefighter, even when young!

But Robin Nesdale went through the grueling training to become a volunteer firefighter at age 56.

Now you may be thinking, “Well, that’s not a really a career change. After all, she works as a volunteer; she doesn’t get paid.”

So while it may not be a true career change, take note: if you can’t make your dream into a career, it’s never too late to turn it into a great hobby. Dreams don’t need paychecks attached in order to be fulfilling

If you’re thinking it’s time for a change in jobs or careers, Helpmates can help! Take a look at some of our current openings and contact us if one or more appeals to you.

 

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