Job-hopper: A fun label I’ve accidentally earned over the last five years.
Your twenties are weird. I mean WEIRD. You’ve been in college, dreaming of what your life would look like only to find out that dream doesn’t become a reality overnight. You get a job with your degree or you get a job that has nothing to do with your degree. You punch the clock and pray for 5:00 to show up each day. You try to get involved in young professional groups to meet people. You wonder if this is all there really is to life.
I get more messages than I can count from young professionals miserable in their current job. They either hate what they’re doing, hate their boss, or hate their work environment. So many people are desperate for a change.
I made a huge leap two years ago when I left my dream job as a news reporter. I had become miserable and the stress was revealing itself physically all over my body. My mental and physical health were in bad shape and I was desperate for a change.
I’m sure many people I took the leap without a bit of preparation, but my decision was saturated in a A LOT of prayer. I didn’t have a job lined up, but I had Jesus ready to catch me. He told me to go so I went. And he led me to the next place — a really cold place.
No. Literally. I worked as the Marketing Director at an ice complex for two short months before an innovator approached me to join his start-up team. Both of those jobs were not glorious or amazing or even much fun. But they were where I was supposed to be at the time and I learned so many things in both of them.
Imagine the flack I got for hopping two jobs within 10 months. I know people thought I was crazy, but I was honestly just following God’s lead. I wasn’t running away from my problems; I was running to His promise.
God had connected me with someone who worked at NASA when I was trying to leave my news job. She didn’t have anything available at the time, but wouldn’t you know she contacted me a year later just as I was feeling hopeless in my job with the start-up.
My commute was really difficult and I started getting a strange vibe from the owner after about six months of struggling through yet another job. I couldn’t believe I had landed in another not-so-great position. But God had a plan as always.
That job had been flexible and perfect for a season of wedding planning. It took me to a conference in a country I had never been to and connected me with people I wouldn’t have otherwise met. GOOD things came from a not-so-good situation. And that can ALWAYS be the case if we allow it.
Fast forward to working for NASA for a year-and-a-half. The reactions I got when I told people I worked for NASA was priceless. And I loved getting to say I was part of the team telling the world about the work the agency was doing to send man back to the Moon. It was absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
But I didn’t work for NASA directly. I worked for a contractor and that comes with challenges of its own.
I enjoyed every minute of my time with NASA. I worked under the most incredible leader I have ever worked for. But some of the stress and some of the issues were mentally and physically affecting me in some really negative ways. I was walking through a season of intense depression and trying to juggle a new marriage, a high-stress job, the pursuit of my dream as a writer, and ministry school. Woe is me, right?
I don’t list out my activities to present you with my resume. I just want you to know I was out of the energy I needed to spin all the plates without dropping them. One of them was going to shatter.
My husband was desperate for me to find a new job. My counselor encouraged me to look for something new. My friends were praying for me. My parents were concerned. I was praying like crazy for God to move.
And for quite some time, He waited. He waited for me to learn some hard things I needed to learn. He waited for me to tell a few more people about Jesus. He waited for me to really grasp why I had been there — and it wasn’t because space is cool.
After the worst three weeks I had ever had at a job, my mentor told me to reach out to a friend at church. The very next day, he called me and set up a coffee meeting with the man who would become my new boss.
You should’ve seen the look on people’s faces when I said, “I left my job at NASA to sell insurance.” Their responses hurt my pride and Jesus checked my heart.
He reminded me that my job is not my identity, that what I do is not who I am.
When I told one of my bosses — the woman I mentioned earlier who is the best leader I’ve ever worked under — I cried in her office for an hour. And she said, “The path of history has not been straight, and neither will yours.”
She never once made me feel bad. She applauded me for doing what I needed to do to help support my family and pursue my dreams. She said, “You will leave a hole here, and we will miss you, but the timing just isn’t right for you to be here.”
I left an office of people who were my family. I sobbed for hours and mourned the nicknames I had from people I may never cross paths with again. It felt like a death, but it felt like new life at the same time.
Only Jesus can make death feel like new life.
So, I prepared for the insurance exam, which is one of the hardest tests I’ve ever taken. I cried and prayed during the ENTIRE test and passed with the Holy Spirit. AMEN.
I walked into a world I never set out to be a part of, into an office I never would have imagined myself in. And it was so good.
Jesus took me to a new family. My boss and his wife are kind and supportive. My co-workers have become my friends. Helping people protect their homes, cars, and families gives me joy.
All that aside, I am helping to support my family and pay off debt. I am funding my dream of becoming a writer. And I am earning an income that will pay for ministry school. If you are working, even in a job you don’t enjoy, be proud that you are earning a living. Like I’ve said before: God will not always call you out of a job you don’t like. I’ve been there. But He will remind you to be thankful for what you have and where you are.
And weeks after I started working in insurance, my brother’s and sister-in-law’s house burned down. They lost everything. It made what I do during my day job to help people very real. They relied on their insurance to restore their home.
They watched their house burn to the ground with their memories and material possessions inside. Because God rescued them from what could have been a fatal situation, we were all more grateful than upset. But they had to buy new shoes, undergarments, toothbrushes, etc. It’s hard to fathom. And it breaks your heart. And it brought everything full circle for me in the season I’m in.
What I want you to take away from this is to stop trying to plan your own life. It won’t work. I’ve tried! Only Jesus can plan it to the fullest.
I didn’t tell many people about my work change because I was so worried about what people would think. I replayed the voices I have heard about my “job-hopping” tendency and how bad my resume would look. I valued their opinions over my obedience to God.
But I won’t let the enemy’s strategies work. I’ll take the narrative of my life right back from him and give it to God. I’ll share my journey with you with the hope that it encourages you in whatever you are walking through.
I finally dropped the pride I had placed on job titles like “news reporter” and “NASA social media” and picked up the promise God had for me in an environment that allows me more brain space to write blogs and books after work hours and get to ministry class on time with energy and excitement.
Drop your pride and pick up God’s promise, my friend.
Leave the unhealthy relationship. Make the career change. Give the money. Serve at the event. Show up to the small group. Move to the city you’re called to.
But don’t do anything without God going first. (I am not talking about leaving abusive relationships. That’s a different situation. Find help immediately if that is your situation.)
Pray before you take a single step. He may want you to stay right where you are a little while longer. He may want you to remember that where you are is exactly where you once prayed to be (BEEN THERE DONE THAT.) But you have to ask Him to find out.
God will never leave you or forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
He goes with you. He stays with you. He protects you.
Stop worrying so much about your plan and how it looks to everyone else. The Author of Salvation has the pen in His hand, and He is writing a beautiful story for you. He makes the smudges and stains white as snow and rewrites every bad line to flow in your favor.
Whatever step you’re taking, whether you’re leaving, staying, or stepping back, God is proud of you. And so am I.