Why have you job-hopped so many times?

In a span of five years, I have worked four jobs. So far. I am on a lookout for a new opportunity again and therefore trying to get some interviews. Since I have a job right now and a lot of questions which I need to answer before I can move to the next one, I haven’t been trying real hard. BUT I have been trying. As of today, I had been successful in getting to the telephonic round of one. And as expected, one of the questions the interviewers asked me was – “Why have you moved around so much in your career?” I am tired of this question. Sick tired.  So here it is, once and for all, to clarify reasons to myself as much as to anyone else. I have moved around so much due to a number of reasons. All VALID. At least in my opinion.

The first job that I had, was with a reputed consulting firm in technology domain. I liked my work, liked the city where I had to move for this job, liked the financial independence I got with it, and in general liked pretty much everything at that time. In hindsight I can say that it was almost perfect, but then I may be biased like everyone is with the number of ‘firsts’ they have in their lives. Anyhow, I left that place after two and a half years of content working. I left because I wanted to pursue higher studies. I had been admitted to one of the BEST schools in the WORLD for a master’s degree with one-third tuition being waived off as merit scholarship. I had also obtained another scholarship further reducing my would-be-debt burdens. I had the opportunity to go to the “Land of Opportunity”. And I had always liked studying. And Travelling. How do you say NO to such a proposition. I couldn’t. So, I grabbed that opportunity and left my ‘FIRST’ job. No hard feelings. Yet.

Post my graduation, I wanted to work in the States for a while. Another option was to do a fully sponsored doctoral program in which I was hugely interested. But family obligations were calling me back. I graduated on December 22. I had a maximum of two weeks till when I could stall booking my tickets. I applied to a number of jobs. As many as I could. Unfortunately those two weeks were the ‘Holiday Weeks’ – Christmas and New Year. I never got any response. I extended my already stretched deadline for myself by another week and then booked my flight tickets to come back on January 16. I got three preliminary interview calls on January 15. Now don’t get me wrong. No body was forcing me to come back. It was my decision. These were my deadlines. But I came back, with a 3.96 GPA, sans a job.

I got an interview call the day I landed, in my city, for a good position, a decent salary and interesting work. I converted the call. And I started working – my SECOND job, a German start-up firm based out of New Delhi. I absolutely loved the work. There was so much creativity, originality, intellect and smart hard work required. I wanted such work, I wanted to stay with my family and I wanted a decent salary to pay off my education loan. It was all good… For a couple of days. Soon after, I realized that the start-up had a crazy attrition rate. And for good reason. Without going into details, let us just say that I was left with two options, either continue working there and lose my peace of mind or quit. After struggling to make things work for two months, as cowardly as it may sound, I chose the latter. I was back to square one. And I had moved. From my ‘SECOND’ job.

While doing my masters, I had been drawn to research and the possibility of academia as a career. As luck would have it, I got an opportunity. I was selected as an Ad hoc Assistant Professor in a Central University of great repute. My paycheck got smaller than the last time but I got a chance to try out something I had a feeling I would like doing in the long-term. I was to teach undergraduate students in a new course. The subjects I was hired to teach were to begin in the third year while the students had just moved to their second year of the four-year degree. So I chose to teach the subjects next best known to me. Out of nowhere I started exploring a completely new field – Economics. Sure I had taken a couple of classes in managerial economics at School, but that is nowhere sufficient to teach a bunch of 18 year olds, nay, smart 18 year olds. It needed some work, and I was loving it. It gave me work satisfaction as I had experienced nowhere else yet. I was learning and teaching at the same time. It was fun. And then, I got married. My husband was pursuing his education elsewhere. The thought of not being together post wedding troubled me. And while these thoughts grew stronger, I received a communication from one of the firms I had interviewed with just two days prior to my wedding. It was a positive result. A job offer, at a place geographically much closer to my husband’s location than where I was staying at the time being. Emotions overpowered reason. And I moved. AGAIN. This was my farewell to the ‘THIRD’ job, which I absolutely enjoyed, but which lasted a mere eight months.

I am currently working at the firm where I had come thinking I will be closer to my husband this way. I moved here with no other thought in mind. With this arrangement, I have been able to meet my family/ husband/ both once every three weeks or so. The work here doesn’t excite me much. I am not sure if I have added any skill-set in the past one year that I have been here. Sure I have learnt something, but I am not sure if it has been worthwhile. This month, my husband’s educational program will get over. He has been offered a job at another location where he is expected to start in April. And as was the case the last time, I am at cross-roads. Plus it motivates you to look for better opportunities when your educational qualifications have been moving up while your ‘take-home’ salary has been moving down, probably at a faster rate. And thus I am thinking of moving, from my ‘FOURTH’ job.

There have been a lot of decisions gone wrong from a professional aspect in the past five years. But I need to know if it is so terrible to try your hands at different things to know what you like doing? Am I the only one who hadn’t figured what do I want to do for the rest of my life at the age of 21. Is it crazy to try to find a balance between personal and professional life, to try to stay with your loved ones, at least in the same state. Why is moving jobs such a taboo even when you have been performing beyond expectations in each one. This has become a rant I did not expect it to be. Just to end, yes, I have moved a number of times, and I might continue doing so in the future. The next time you judge a person for doing so, bear in mind that it isn’t only related to the performance at work but is a fine mesh of countless things and emotions too!


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