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Changing jobs: Why did you leave your last job?

Categories: Career Talk, Uncategorized


changes-sign.jpgThis is my 7th job in 10 years. When my mom tells people about what I do for a living she always makes sure to say that I can’t stay in the same place for too long and jump around a lot. That’s hard to argue with, although I was in my last job for five years, which I think is a solid stretch of time. (It was about three years too long, but that’s another story.)

For the most part I’ve changed jobs because I wasn’t entirely into what I was doing and I pursued my idealistic belief that I can make money and do something I enjoy at the same time. The jury is definitely still out on this one because so far, I made the most money at a job I enjoyed second to last, if I think of all the places I’ve worked. I have a friend who works at a hedge fund and makes what we both call silly money (that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars, in case you weren’t familiar with the precise definition of silly money). She doesn’t really like what she does but she doesn’t hate it either — and as she once put it, the money-satisfaction equation works out pretty well for her.

I was reading about a recent survey probing why people change jobs and was happy to see that I am not a total nut — 30% of people who answered said they change jobs to look for new opportunities and challenges. (I was pretty surprised to see that only 21% cited work-life balance as the reason, but perhaps they didn’t survey too many working moms!) I am not sure I would recommend my career path to too many people because it’s been changing jobs frequently is definitely stressful and adds a lot of uncertainty. One thing I can say is that I have learned a lot about what I don’t like to do and what doesn’t work for me — and I figure that’s worth quite a bit.

What about you — what was the reason you left your last job? How many jobs have you had in you working life? Are you someone who prefers to stay in one place for a while or try different things?

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9 comments so far...

  • I thought I was the only crazy one to change jobs often. I have been working in the insurance industry for the past five years and already been through three companies. I am looking to leave my current job for two reasons. One I am getting a little bored there and I need something more challenging. If I am not learning I go crazy. I have to be learning something new all the time. I need stress and crazyness in my day. Second, potential to make more money now that I hit the 5 year experience mark. But to get that other job I may have to commute longer. So I really have to see if it is worth it.

    Vera Babayeva  |  June 9th, 2008 at 3:34 am

  • Ok, here is another reason I am reluctant about changing jobs, even though I really want to. I am afraid of looking like a job hopper and feel that that may prevent me from getting the job I want. Any advise on that??

    Vera Babayeva  |  June 9th, 2008 at 3:55 am

  • I was always branded as foolish by other people that I know. Mainly because I am fearless about changing jobs. I told them that there are lots of job everywhere, if you are only not relunctant to look for it.

    I’ve had 3 jobs (in four years) prior to what I have right now. My previous one has caused me a lot of stress and my dissatisfaction of getting a low pay also caused me to decide where I am heading. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made so far. :)


    Yvie M.  |  June 9th, 2008 at 4:12 am

  • my mother always told me i was a job hopper. Personally i think if you have an idea of what your career goals are and job hopping is the best way to get the experience to get there - then DO IT! The first few jobs i had lasted about 2 years each and i was at the next job for 3 years before joining my current company. While i have been with this company for almost 5 years, i just started my 3rd position here. I am also one who needs to be challenged and learning new things! I dont think job hopping is bad as long as you leave bridges in tact and can use them for references. Once you have a good reputation - it’s more about companies finding you and asking you to come over to them than it is about you actively looking. Though, you do have to at least tell people you are looking so your former coworkers think of you when they hear of your next perfect job coming available ;)

    Kate  |  June 9th, 2008 at 3:40 pm

  • I don’t consider myself a job hopper. I worked at my previous company for 7 years and held three different positions during that time. Before each promotion, I considered leaving (and did give resignation twice) before deciding to stay for a better opportunity.

    When I did leave last year, I did so for two reasons: money and career growth. The company wanted to me to stay in my current role for another year before promotion. I found a better oppportunity with a lofty pay increase at another company. The decision was a no-brainer.

    Robyn Roark  |  June 9th, 2008 at 6:17 pm

  • I’ve just finished my 13th year teaching. I spent those 13 years in three different schools (one twice, not consecutively) and five different grade levels. In elementary teaching, moving too often means not knowing the curriculum well, but not moving at all can mean stagnating and not updating methodology and knowledge. Leaving a particular grade level or school can have a multitude of reasons — or just be time for a change.

    Daisy  |  June 9th, 2008 at 8:04 pm

  • I also think it depends on which industry you’re in. I’m in IT and no one blinks when I say I’ve had 5 jobs in the last 6 years - most of my colleagues also do a lot of job hopping. My husband is in an industry where loyalty is valued and a track record like mine would raise more than a few eyebrows.

    Anita  |  June 23rd, 2008 at 10:46 pm

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