A new catch phrase be-bopping around is “job hopping”, which screams negative to me. I see my colorful experiences as not being afraid to take that chance and be present for the amazing opportunities before me.
Nearing graduation from the University of North Texas in 1997, I understood that until I had a full-time public relations position, I was going to be one of my generation who would need to live with my family. Not being someone who could just rest on my degree and wait it out on my parents’ good graces, I wrote to the editor of my hometown newspaper and secured a summer reporting internship. He hired me without an interview based on my writing samples.
By the end of the summer, I was offered a communications coordinator position with a financial company. They were impressed by my HTML and web skills as they pertained to writing for the web, a relatively new endeavor in the corporate communications world.
Within two years, it was made clear to me that in order to advance, I would need a master’s degree. I worked as a desktop publisher while securing my placement with UNT. My almamater also wanted me to work as a teaching fellow, first in the news reporting lab and then in the computers for journalists lab.
After my first year of graduate school, UNT’s Office of Public Affairs hired me to write for the school’s website and alumni magazine. This was the door to my next adventure. The director at UNT was taking the director position at another university in Hoboken, NJ, and she wanted to take me along as her Assistant Director because of the work I had done at UNT
After a little less than a year, this experience had opened my eyes to the fact that I was not ready to live in a whole new, big city world. I recognized this and sought to move back to Texas. This move would also show me something about myself. Having always been a people-pleaser, I surprised myself when I told my employer I had an ethical problem with a certain practice of theirs. Their response was to let me go. However, not one to give up, I secured part-time work as a hostess that same day.
For two months I made ends meet while searching for a new position and was well rewarded when a tech company hired me to hone my writing and website skills as a copywriter and website designer. While with the company, my innate ability to test their software and hone their procedures led to me creating a domain transfer team.
I lead this team for two years until the company sent an email requesting volunteers for a reduction in force. The compensation allowed for me to try something new, something I had always wondered about–teaching. I obtained my alternative teaching certificate, and by August, was set to teach English Language Arts.
For the next five years, I taught ELA and then special education. It was at the beginning of my sixth year that I had to take a medical leave of absence from teaching. Still not one to be without work, I was blessed that a friend knew of a construction company that needed my skills in communication and marketing. This company and their owners were a blessing in a difficult time, allowing me to take care of my medical needs while still earning an income.
After a couple of years, I returned to teaching. I thought this was where I was to be until retirement. However in 2015, my former tech employer was seeking someone to be a curriculum writer and trainer, taking all of my experience and folding it into where I am now.
When I’m asked about my “job hopping”, I used to wonder how to word it and worried about how my trek through my career looks to others. Now that I’ve written it out, I see it as a benefit because I’m not afraid to take advantage of the opportunities before me. Each opportunity provided a wealth of knowledge about myself as well as the communications field. I might have skipped a scene or two in this story, but what life lesson would I have missed?