Ever since I graduated college, there has been a societal discussion on how my generation is filled with ‘grass is always greener’ job-hoppers; that no one born in the millennial generation is dependable nor are they motivated to work.
Well there’s a lot to unpack there, but on the topic of job-hopping…
I started working when I was 15. My mom was the manager of an ophthalmologist office and hired me to help with records management one summer. Then when I got my driver’s license, she hired me to clean the office twice a week. It was a great arrangement for my high school self who was often busy after school between volleyball and band rehearsals; I would just go in Wednesday and Sunday evenings and spend 2-3 hours vacuuming, sanitizing, and taking the trash out.
Though it was the ideal job for that era of life, once my time began to free up I started looking for another job I could work after school. My mom used her connection in the medical office community and I landed an everyday office job at a local primary care medical office as their records management worker. At that point my high school offered a work-study program which essentially meant I got to leave school early to go to work, so during my senior year, I would attend 2 classes in the morning, hang out with my friends at lunch, then go to work from 2-5pm, M-F; again, it was the perfect arrangement and I really liked my job and the people I worked with.
Once I graduated high school, I kept working at the doctors office with more hours and more responsibilities, but because it was still a part-time gig, I looked for another side-hustle. That’s when I started working for my brother’s company doing inventory. Every fall his place of business would conduct a one day inventory every Sunday for each of their stores (there were 6 locations). We would get to the location at 5am, do inventory for the entire store which usually took 7-8 hours depending on the size of the store and the number of people helping, have a large potluck-style meal at the end of the work day, then head home around 1-2pm. When it wasn’t inventory season, I would help my friend (and future awful roommate) at her consignment boutique. Whenever she didn’t feel like working the store, she would have me come in. There was not a lot involved in the gig; just open the store, help customers, ring up sales, and lock up.
Then I moved away to college where I got a job at the local Pier 1; a home goods store that sold knickknacks, artwork, furniture, and housewares from artisans around the world. I loved my Pier 1 job though it was hard to actually come away with a paycheck because everything was so cool! So during the week while attending class, I would work at Pier 1. Then on the weekends I would go back to my hometown (about an hour drive) and stay with my parents so I could work the doctor’s office Saturday mornings and inventory on Sundays (and do laundry for free of course). There was also a short stint that I sold knives from door to door…
Then I graduated college and moved 200 miles away to a new town. I had secured an Administrative Assistant position at Virginia Tech, but since that job was part-time, I also applied for a transfer to the Pier 1 in the next town over. Not only did my request for a transfer get approved, I was promoted to Sales Lead which was the equivalent to shift manager. My schedule then morphed to working at VT M-F from 8am-2pm then Pier 1 from 3-9:30pm. I typically had 2 days off from Pier 1 a week, but they were everchanging and almost never weekend days. It was a rough life, but it afforded me a salary to pay for a one-bedroom apartment, make payments on my student loans, and scrape up just enough for food.
Then I was fired from Pier 1… as a Sales Lead I had the authority to ring out other associates using their employee discount. I checked out a co-worker one night using a coupon she had and entered her employee discount code as well. Any time we would combine coupon codes in our system, it would just use the better of the 2 and automatically reject the second. Well in this situation it didn’t reject either discount, so I finished the sale and closed the store not thinking anything of it. And then a month later, my manager had me meet her in the back office where she had the regional manager on speaker phone who started asking questions about the transaction. I answered honestly and apparently my actions were unacceptable and I got the boot. I was escorted off the premises.
I still had my job at the university, but I needed another supplemental income, so I got a job at the local flower shop as a florist. I was able to go there after my morning shift every day of the week (shop closed at 6pm) and worked every other Saturday. It wasn’t nearly the same amount of money I was making at Pier 1, but the schedule was a lot easier to manage.
Then I was let go from Virginia Tech… while working at the university, two departments merged into one and the senior leadership staff were scrambled. My new supervisor never seemed to like me, so it wasn’t much of a surprise I got the ax under her rule, but it hurt big time. Her excuse was that the department could no longer afford to pay my position; come to find out months later they hired a grad student to do exactly what I did. I may still be a bit bitter over that situation…
While I enjoyed working at the flower shop, there was no way I could continue to live off of the pay, so I finally got my first full-time job as the manager of a local office supply store. I loved working at the store, but because I was young (23/24 at the time) and was hired into a management role, I started butting heads with the warehouse manager because he didn’t respect me as an authority figure. I got sick of fighting with him every. single. day. and had to make a change.
And that’s how I wound up in my current position as the Executive Assistant to the Director for my local Health Department. I’ve been in my role for over 6 years and have really enjoyed it. Leading our community through a global pandemic, though challenging, has been eye opening. Now that I’m back in the office instead of working on-site at the different testing/vaccination clinics, work life has significantly slowed. I’ve settled back into my desk job and have maintained good work-friendships with a handful of co-workers–I’m comfortable.
Well a few weeks ago as I was scrolling through Facebook, I saw a post that two of my friends had shared for an administrative position. These two friends are ones I made connections with during the era of COVID clinics (they work for the county’s fire/EMS department) and became interested in what they were offering, so I clicked the link and read through the job description. I would be more than qualified for the position and if given the job, would be making at least $10,000 more than I’m currently making which was intriguing. So I figured: why not shoot my shot?
I basically had to start from scratch by building a resume and reference list and completely forgot that cover letters were a thing, so I had to write one of those, but I applied for the job and got an interview which is set for this Friday.
And I’m freaked.
Not about the interview itself; I do personally know the Director and two Deputy Directors after all and am very confident in both my interview skills and job experiences to back me up. But the idea that I might be walking away from my current position has me filled with anxiety. I feel like so many people rely on me for so many things that I will just be letting everyone down; especially my director who has been far and away the best boss I’ve ever had. I know I’m making it too personal and they will/can fill my position in an instant, but I’ve set the bar very high if I do say so myself, so I feel like it will be somewhat of a struggle and that will be because of me. Like who else is going to excel in administrative work, have a CDL, and is a Notary Public? I feel like I’m probably one of a billion in that regard.
Also if it gets to the point that my references are contacted, I will have to break the news to my boss beforehand so she’s not blindsided and that is a conversation that absolutely fills me with dread.
But with all of this said, I think I could thrive in this new job possibility. I’ve never really felt like I fit in with the crowd at my current job (half of them are nearly twice my age, the other half all but grew up together and have bonds that span many years), but with the new one, I already know three of the guys who are all my age and they’re all really good dudes. Like I included in my cover letter: “I would love another opportunity to work alongside and provide support to this wonderful team.”
We shall see what the future holds. But in the mean time, what are some of your interview pointers? What’s a good response to the question: Do you have any weaknesses? Well wishes and good juju would be greatly appreciated.