It's Okay To Be Restless: The Benefits Of Being A Job Jumper And Traveling The World

by Sarah Kate Larsen

A year ago, I was ashamed at the large number of jobs I'd held for short amounts of time. I have had very few jobs that I've held on to for longer than a year. Unfortunately, this looks bad on a resume and my mom constantly reminds me of the importance of being hire-able. I’m what I like to call a, “job jumper,” but recently, I acquired some pride in my occupational accomplishments.

Some people are lucky and know from childhood what they aspire to do with their lives. They unquestioningly persist toward achieving goals, despite possible societal discouragements. As for the rest of us, it’s tough to know what we want to do with our lives. More accurately, we want to try practically everything rather than focus on a particular goal.

Whether it's music, art, dentistry, construction or entrepreneurial endeavors, there's too much to try and too much to get tired of trying. Job jumpers are people who are curiously unsettled; constantly exploring new experiences and searching for new tidbits of useful information.

Because of this constant search for more, most self-proclaimed job jumpers whom I’ve met have traveled or at least dreamed of travel. During my recent trip to Asia and Australia, I came to see my job-jumping habit as a life advantage. Thrown into new experiences, job jumpers have a repertoire of knowledge to draw from our bulging bags of former careers.

"You have sales experience? Come with us on our Bangkok gem sales endeavor and we'll split the profits."

"You have rock climbing experience? You're hired for boat cleaning — we need someone who can abseil."

Maybe even more importantly, it takes courage to try new things and to trust yourself to succeed. So many people stay in jobs they hate out of fear for the unknown or lack of experience in attempting something new given the possibility of failure. To put it simply, job jumpers are flexible.

It took me a long time to see the benefits of being occupationally restless; I grew up in a town where the forces of suburban conformity were strong. The ideal life consisted of good grades, a good college, high-paying job, nice husband, cute babies and presentable home. There is nothing wrong with each of those things in isolation. But this particular complete-life formula felt like a seat with no legroom. There was little space for flexibility. The unstable job jumper was looked down upon while the solid stone was revered.

To each their own; I learned the validity of this cliché by living many types of lives myself. I am happy to have once been a lifeguard, waitress, saleswoman, climbing instructor, house painter, commercial model, coat checker, dish washer, writer and more. It has allowed me to travel and take on many more opportunities of various design. One day, I hope to find something I love that makes me feel compelled to pour all of my time and energy into a focused pursuit. For now, that something is the search, the love for travel, knowledge, experiences and sharing it all with you.

So, my fellow job jumpers, don't be ashamed of your restlessness. As I sometimes remind my loving — but possibly overbearing — family, adaptability has its benefits; why worry so much? And, take into consideration professor Leon C. Megginson's popular paraphrase of Darwin's "Origin of Species": "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change."

You heard it here first. Job jumpers have a better chance of surviving the impending zombie apocalypse.

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