It’s time to erase the stigma of the dreaded millennial ‘job hopper’

Jessica Perry//October 1, 2014

It’s time to erase the stigma of the dreaded millennial ‘job hopper’

Jessica Perry//October 1, 2014

In the four years since I’ve graduated from DePaul University, I’ve held jobs as a bartender, a waitress and a hostess in three separate restaurants; I’ve chased freelance gigs as a beat reporter and a tutor; and I’ve worked as a production assistant, production coordinator, project manager, personal assistant and…I’ve chased jobs and projects in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Boston and more. I’ve slept on couches, in cars, on trains and in more hotels than I can count. I’ve worked sixteen hour days and six hour shifts that make the same amount of money.

And in the times I’ve thought it might be time to stay in one place a build a career for a while, life has intervened and sent me careening through time and space again to flee from claustrophobic circumstances to continue looking for my passion.

When people ask me, “Well, what do you want?” I either burst out into an off-the-cuff monologue filled with solid plans for grand dreams … or tears.

But I know who I am. My core personality and values rarely waiver. It just isn’t all about what I do for work — and it really never should be.

For instance, I’m now a reporter at NJBIZ because our editor noticed on my resume that I listed myself as having been an improviser at Second City, a producer of an award-winning short film, and a screenwriting consultant.

All of which I do or have done for the sole purpose of being creative.

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It’s because of this confidence in who I was and not just who I’ve worked for or how long I stayed that’s kept me invested in this job.

And all of these experiences, all of these careers, all of these obstacles and all of these solutions — have helped mold me into a person that people want to work with.

So, at 26 years of age, I stand with Joshua Fechter at Elite Daily when he says, “I know what I don’t want to do and that enables me to cross one more possibility off the list of what I might love.”

And when you spend your free hour in the morning getting ready for your job, an hour sitting in traffic to get to your job, eight to ten hours doing your job, an hour or more cursing the traffic that’s preventing you from getting home from your job to decompress, eat and exercise in the few hours that you have before it’s time to get enough sleep to do it all again the next day …

You need to love what you’re doing — and you know that at their core, all of the older generations who once told you, “Do what you love and follow your dreams,” want that for you, too.

So if you’re a millennial who feels like Fechter and I do, remember that you don’t always have to stay in a job “because it’s a job.”

If you do decide to travel on, just keep in mind these three rules:

Leave on good terms. Have another job to jump to. And remain in contact with those you leave behind.

It’s slow to catch on, but millennials can erase the stigma of the dreaded “job hopper.” There are a lot of people in this world that will continue to bring different (and possibly even better) hands to the card table — and companies should be open to embracing them rather than shutting them out.


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