If you look at my resume or my Linkedin profile, you will notice that I tend to move from one job to the next quickly. I average about 18 months in one place. My hubby will sometimes remind me that this is not good. (However, I was at my last job for almost four years. That is progress, right?) But, I personally don’t feel like job-hopping is necessarily bad. The professional world is not the same as it was twenty years ago, or even ten years ago. And, I have always had, what I feel like, are legitimate reasons to job-hop in the first place.
First, I want to preface this by telling you how my mind works. Or, rather, use to work. For many, many years I have had this notion in my head that I should be good at something. Or, be naturally talented enough at one thing to make a living out it. Or, have so much passion for something, that I should just KNOW what I wanted to do with my life. I would look around me and see people who were doing things they loved, or that they were naturally gifted at, or that they had a huge passion for. I had none of these things. I thought I was abnormal. I thought that there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I felt lost and that I was on this job-journey that I did not want to be on. One that would NEVER end. I felt like Michael W. Smith wrote “Place in This World” just for me.
And, only recently have I had the epiphany that, most people DO NOT have any idea what they want to be when they grow up. Many start out thinking they want to do one thing, then pivot to something else, then pivot again and again. This means that I am NOT abnormal! I am not the only one who is adrift in this sea of “what do I want to do with my life?” Michael W. Smith wrote that song for many us! I can’t tell you how much better this makes me feel.
I go through this cycle of trying to find a good fit, as I suppose most people do. First, I thought it was most important to do something I loved. Then, I thought I needed to find a cool place to work. A place that was more fun and laid back. Later, I realized that the environment I worked in also needed to fit with my morals and values. (I need to work for a company I like, with people I respect.) Also, high on my list is being paid fairly for the work I do, having good benefits, and a good work-life balance. It would also be great if this job was close to home, because honestly, spending hours going to and from work sucks. (If you haven’t already figured this one out for yourself, you can trust me on this one. When you sit in traffic for more than an hour each way, you are worn out before you even get to work, much less do any work. But, I digress…)
For a long time, I thought that to be truly happy with my professional life, I needed these things I listed above: a job I enjoyed doing, a company I liked, leaders and co-workers I respected, a good and fair salary, and nice benefits. However, finding ALL of these things in a job is basically like looking for a unicorn in the forest. They only exist in our minds.
I have finally gotten to a stage in my life where I have realized two very important things.
ONE: As you grow and change, your job needs grow and change right along with you. Where you are in life and what you are doing will always change. The job you had when you were a teenager wouldn’t cut it if you got married and had kids. Conversely, if you are suddenly single again, or an empty-nester, your life has changed, which means your needs will change. This means that your job situation may need to change too. This is just how life is. The only constant is change. Just remember that you should always do what is in your best interest.
TWO: In the grand scheme of things, life is NOT about work. Sure, most of us must do it in order to live/survive. And, of course, you should do your best to be as happy as you can be at work, especially considering how much time you send there. But, life is about so much more. What job/career we do in life, does NOT make us who we are. How we treat other people, our family, our friends, and ourselves--that is much more important.
I read a story many years ago, about a man who was a trash collector. Now, this is not a job most people would like to do. Actually, the guy in the story didn’t like it at first either. But, this man shared that in his line of work, he came across a lot of different people each day. And, he soon began to realize that just by saying hello to them and showing interest in them, he could make them smile. He then started thinking of his job NOT as being a trash collector, but being a smile maker. He adjusted his outlook and what a huge difference he made in not only his life, but those he encountered each day. I remember thinking how beautiful that was!
Basically, what I am trying to convey is that we shouldn’t get so caught up in what our “jobs” are. What we should be concerned with is who WE are. Once we make that inward change and decide to find the good in our situations and focus on that, that can make all the difference in our lives.
It isn’t necessarily easy. But, I, for one am working on changing myself from the inside. Maybe this post will encourage you to do the same!
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.