Hi, I’m Nicky Christmas and I am a job hopper. There, I’ve admitted it. I’ve spent many years cleverly covering up the fact that I spent most of my career hopping from one job to another in an effort to climb the career ladder. Prior to running Practically Perfect PA, the longest time I spent in any one organisation was 4 years and in that time I took on two different roles. Recently, I’ve been reading quite a bit about job hopping and how common it is becoming, particularly for younger people entering the work force. Apparently, being loyal to one company doesn’t necessarily pay off (both in terms of salary and promotion) and moving from one role to another in pretty quick succession is becoming less frowned upon.

It’s an interesting topic for me because as I said I have always been a job hopper. During my time as an assistant I always felt that I had a variety of valid reasons why I was looking for a new role and in general job hopping didn’t do me any harm. But, I’ve been thinking about the pros and cons a bit more, particularly for assistants. Here are a few of my thoughts…

Salary increase

I didn’t job hop for an increase in salary, it was always for other reasons, but with every new role I did get a pay rise. For many assistants trying to negotiate a pay rise is extremely difficult and many are turned down because of their organisation’s internal structures. It can be a lot easier to find a new role and negotiate an increased salary during the recruitment process.

Applying for jobs outside of the PA role

Over the years I did apply for a few jobs that were not PA roles, but I very rarely got any response. Once you are in a role it can be very difficult to find a different job – you are effectively pigeonholed by recruiters and organisations alike. If, however, you stay within one organisation, gain experience, it can be easier to move outside of the PA role and find something different. During the course of my career, I applied for two roles that were not traditional PA roles. Both were internal positions and my experience within the organisation really helped me during the interviews. I got one of the roles and I didn’t get the other (to be fair, I didn’t have much experience, but I did get down to the final two). If you are looking for a job outside the normal PA role, perhaps job hopping is not the best approach…

Are you worth investing in?

Although I did job hop a lot I didn’t have much of an issue securing new roles. I always had a valid reason for leaving my current employer. It was often because I felt unmotivated and that I had reached my potential in that organisation. Although I would proactively look for new things to keep me motivated and fulfilled my employer wouldn’t be able to offer me anything more and I would reach a point that I was just ready to move on. Looking back, I wonder if this was a bit of a catch 22 situation. I job hopped because I was unmotivated, but my company didn’t motivate me because they knew I would probably leave anyway… I wonder if I was more loyal to the organisations they may have invested more time in keeping me happy.

Lots of different experiences

A huge pro for all of my job hopping is the amount of different experience I have as an assistant. I worked in lots of different environments, industries, countries and supported lots of different types of Executives. All of the different projects I have worked on over the years have provided me with lots of skills that I might not have otherwise acquired if I stayed in one role. For me that has made job hopping worth it.

I do find this topic really interesting. I think it is slightly different depending on where you work. Job hopping is easier if you work in a major city like I did (during a time that jobs were easier to find too). What do you think? Is job hopping the easiest way for PAs to climb the career ladder?

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