17 Jobs in 12 Years

48 Days To the Work You Love: Day 3

My Work History

The average time an employee stays at each job is about 3.2 years.  I am averaging just over a year per job since earning my degree.  I have worked for startups, small sub contractors of large corporations and I have worked for 3 large corporations.   I have been around the block a few times and I think I’ve seen what I need to see.  If you include work while I was in school, I have had 17 jobs in 12 years! As I was making the list it was hard to remember them all. I’m not counting the 3 companies I currently own and draw income from.  I was also a day trader one semester in college and earned a couple thousand dollars.  Needless to say, my taxes can get complex sometimes.

jobsAssembling Industrial Laminators (~ 4 months), McDonald’s Cashier (3 weeks), Recycling Plant Worker (1 Month), Crop Dusting Wing Hop (1 Month), Roof Inspector (1 Month), Asbestos Removal (3 months), Dish Washer (1 Semester), Carpet Cleaner (1 semester), Landscaping (1 month), Teaching Assistant (5 semesters), Computer Engineer Intern (2 Summers), QA Engineer for surveillance systems (10 months), Online Marketing and Sales Manager (1 year), sub-sub-sub-contractor to Yahoo! (3 months), Software Engineer on an MMO game that was never released (1 year), and technically I work for YouTube/Google as a content creator (18 months).  I also make money from a few websites that I have created. I have been at my current job almost 4 years.  I won’t mention the name for privacy and legal reasons.

I am a troubled individual.  My wife feels very fortunate that I have stuck with her for 9 years.  I chose to leave each job for one of 3 reasons

  1. Found a higher paying job.
  2. Schooling.
  3. Hated the job or felt stifled in my personal growth.

“All Progress Requires Change, But Not All Change Is Progress”

Although my income has steadily grown over the past 12 years, I can’t say I have always progressed.  I have changed jobs plenty but there are key times when I knew the job wasn’t a good fit but rather than stick to what I knew I was hopeful that the work would become interesting.  Here is the rub.  My current position has allowed me to progress financially without progressing in skills and productivity. In fact, I wonder if I am less skilled and productive than I was 4 years ago.  There are many factors at play there but the lack of growth motivates me to move on.

What interesting jobs have you had? What has motivated you to make a change?  What is the average  length of the jobs you have had?  Can anyone beat me?


4 Replies to “17 Jobs in 12 Years”

  1. Those are all very good reasons for leaving a job, and I’ve used them all myself. I’m not sure what you mean by “beating you”. It sounds like you’re making the right decisions for you. I try to stay in each job at least a year. Many jobs have seasonal cycles and a year gives me an opportunity to learn a majority of how the business operates. It also looks better on a resume. I’ve seen each step to a new job, either voluntary or not, as a chance to learn something new. As of 6 days ago, I’ve been in my current job 17 years. It’s a small company, but I like that much better than big companies. I have the opportunity to get my fingers into a lot of different tasks without stepping on anyone’s toes, yet still focus on the core things I really like to do. I think that’s what has kept me entertained for so long. However, that’s really not my primary focus. I think I would stay in a horrible job (within reason) as long as it provided enough resources and time for me to enjoy my family and hobbies. When a job can become like a hobby, that’s even better.

    1. That job/hobby combo is what I’m shooting for. But I like your attitude because you can make work enjoyable and interesting and not get distracted. My goal is to find something I can do for the rest of life and never retire. I’m learning that retirement is a scam. I think I’ve made the best choices I can make up until this point but my next step is into the unknown and the next 3-4 weeks I’m trying to solidify my goals and a clear path.

      1. I am so glad you said retirement is a scam. When you look at people with great sustainable careers, they never retire. They die doing what they love and most people who retire die very poor, sad, and lonely. It is costing our country a lot of money to keep up the retirement sharrades* brought in by the industrial revolution. They told people they could retire after working 30-35 years, but you would have died from a disease or work itself by that point.

        1. So true. Have you read The 4-Hour Work Week or The Cashflow Quadrant? I highly recommend both.

          The best path is to build a business (not necessarily self-employed) then begin investing. It took me about 10 years to figure it out and I’ve lost some time but I still think there is always time to take control of your future.

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