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Reframing Transitions

So, I have a confession.  I’ve spent my career doing something that is a “career killing no no” - I’ve been a job hopper.  Over 11 years, I worked at 5 different tech companies (and more brands if you count switching roles internally across business units).  Two of those companies I was at for just under/over a year.  I also dropped out of my Ph.D. program, leaving with a Master’s degree.  I am a quitter.

There have been times I struggled with what this meant about me, compared to coworkers who stayed at companies and roles for 5, 10, or even more years.  Was I not gritty enough?  Did I not have the ability to endure?

But, by moving around, I’ve gotten to experience many different company cultures, learned from new people, and had wide exposure to a variety of analytical and growth approaches.  It enabled me to constantly learn and build a skillset to onboard and learn quickly.  I was also able to quickly understand what I enjoyed in my work.  I still managed to climb the corporate ladder, growing my scope and leadership, taking what I had learned across roles even if I didn’t have as much depth and political capital built within an organization.

When I was considering a specific job change, I struggled with the fact that I was once again a quitter, a job hopper, not willing to endure.  The story I was telling myself… was not who I wanted to be.  So, I decided to reframe my tendency and look at this behavior from a new lens.  What was actually going on inside of me when I made these job decisions?  I was staying authentic to my values.  I was prioritizing my family and a corporate culture that let me have the work-life balance I wanted to have.  I was maintaining my commitment to work within a company culture that valued people first.  I was someone who knew when to call it to be intentional about the life I wanted to live.  As I’m apt to do, I read a book to broaden my thinking about the behavior of quitting (recommendation: Quit by Annie Duke).  Quit looks at the cultural perspective on quitting (we think it’s bad generally in American culture) while also detailing how this could often be the best choice for someone.

This same authenticity and commitment to my values is what has ultimately led me to the decision to start my own coaching and consulting company.  By having a north star guiding light inside myself that shines really, really bright (so bright I can’t ignore it!) and being committed to listening to it in making job decisions, I’ve landed in a place that is intentional and true to my passion, strengths, and values.  So what if some may call me a job hopper? 

So, what’s your confession about who you are as an employee and in your career? Have you committed a career no-no along the way that has worked out well to who you want to be?  And, are you telling yourself the right story about your intentional decisions?


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