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Growing Pains

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Not so long ago, Friday evening conversations with my friends, served with a side of wine, chocolate and cheese, kept circling back to the same issue: we were all feeling a little, well, meh about our jobs. We’d worked our asses off after college but now, a few years later, were ending each day feeling uninspired and exhausted. Add to that a generous dollop of guilt for feeling unhappy when so many friends were out of work, and you have the perfect recipe for an all-night rant session.

I had a fun and brilliant job editing KISS, Ireland’s only magazine for teenage girls. I never expected to be editing a magazine before I hit 30, and felt like Willy Wonka himself was smiling down on me as I wrote my first ed’s letter. But fast forward two years and I was crying on the couch like the only girl in school who didn’t get tickets to see Bieber, trying to figure out why I felt so unsatisfied and unhappy.

We’re part of a generation whose parents encouraged us to look for steady, well-paid, pensionable jobs. We’re progammed to think the long game is where it’s at. But it just didn’t feel right to me. After months of deliberation, I sat down, took a long hard look at my Pinterest board and thought about what I was really passionate about.

I did some research and learned that we’re outgrowing our careers at a faster rate than before, leaving us itching for something different much earlier. I was surprised to find that, rather than being seen as indecisive, job hoppers are credited with being happier, more engaged, better co-workers and more dedicated employees. Contrary to everything your mum ever told you, frequent job hopping could be the secret to staying excited, motivated and passionate.

In the US, a 2006 study by the The Bureau of Labour showed that people in their 20s change jobs every 18 months on average. There are so many benefits to mixing it up – if you change roles frequently, you’re always challenged so your learning curve stays high. You’re constantly being exposed to different environments, work style and cultures.

Being a job hopper doesn’t necessarily mean leaving a company you love either; many big organisations make job-hopping part of their HR ethos, and encourage staff to look for change and growth within the company instead of jumping ship.

Armed with all this fresh info and lots of encouragement from my wine glass-toting friends, I said goodbye to teen land and started anew. I’m now working in a role that feeds into my passions, while also squeezing in some freelancing, giving me the freedom to experiment and grow. So far, it’s a great fit – and hey, I can still cheekily YouTube the odd One Direction vid if I get nostalgic.

Nathalie is the Deputy Editor of Image Interiors & Living. Find her sharing pictures of her travels and her lunches on @nathaliemc.

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