Millennial Voices: Why Job Hopping Can Be a Good Thing for Your Career

Mariam Aamir, BA’17 is a proud UBC alumna currently living in Montreal, Quebec. In this article, she reflects on her own career journey since graduation and shares some of the positive learning and career growth that can come from “job hopping.”

Millennials tend to change careers at a faster rate than any other generation. 25% have had at least 5 jobs before the age of 35. Although this reality is sometimes cast in a negative light, my own millennial “job-hopping” experience has been a positive factor in my career development.

While at UBC, I was intently focused on completing my degree and wasn’t actively making career plans. By the time I crossed the stage at the Chan Centre in May 2017, I was unclear about the kind of job I wanted or even the ones that were available to me. From that day to where I am now, my career achievements and aspirations have taken a 180 degree turn in ways I could never have imagined.

Immediately following graduation, I was fortunate to secure a full-time role working with alumni UBC as an Alumni Associate. Although this position was not necessarily what I might have been expecting to land with my Psychology degree, that summer was a great learning experience for me.

As my first experience with full-time employment, the role helped me develop more transferable skills, gain exposure to a new job market and reflect upon what helps me thrive in a workplace. At the end of the summer, I moved away from Vancouver in search of new opportunities and experiences. This search brought me back to my hometown of Lahore in Pakistan, where I worked in the nonprofit sector advocating for child rights through numerous projects. Then, in July 2018, I felt it was time for a new challenge and subsequently moved to Montreal, Quebec, where I have just begun a new role at a thriving start-up.

This “job hopping” has been an intentional part of a journey to gain the experience and knowledge that would help me find the right work fit, awareness that benefits both the employee and the employer. What I learned from “job-hopping” is that my career potential is not restricted to the boundary of an undergraduate major.

The following questions were helpful for me in my career development process:

  • How do I make meaning from my work?
  • What kind of supervision suits me best?
  • Which city do I see myself in?
  • What advancement opportunities are available to me?

I found the answers to these questions by exposing myself to different industries and roles. As a result, in my current role, I feel confident that I have found the perfect work environment to make a meaningful contribution. Having held multiple jobs (both casual and permanent), I am constantly drawing on the skills I have gained and connections I have made in order to further advance my career.

I wish there was a mandatory 3-credit course all graduating students had to take, preparing them for life after graduation. But of course, everyone’s post-graduation experience looks different. If I could pinpoint one takeaway from my own – it’s that you have to be okay with Plan A not always working out. Learning through trial and error is the nature of the “job-hopping” game and although it can be an intimidating and draining journey at times, there is most definitely a light at the end of the tunnel.

Mariam Aamir graduated from UBC with a degree in Psychology in 2017. She is currently based in Montréal, Quebec, working as a Travel Support Agent at Hopper Inc.

Would you like to be a guest blogger? We invite UBC alumni with career development knowledge or industry insights to contribute to our career blog. Email  alumni.ubc@ubc.ca with your submissions.

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