Like other millennials, I've had a lot of jobs. Many of those jobs had a tenure measured in months, not years. I knew I was damaging my resume. However, I was chronically unhappy. After each job change I would convince myself that this was it. This latest job was the one I had been looking for all along.
Each time I was wrong.
There was always a good reason for leaving, but in the end most of the time my departure boiled down to the fact that I get bored easily and have a hard time with authority - two traits I share with many other entrepreneurs.
(For the record, clients and customers are very different than bosses. You are accountable to clients and customers, but you don't have to ask them for vacation, and, because you're an entrepreneur, you never get a vacation anyway.)
That character trait meant that eventually I would have start my own company, or risk having to decide which of my children to eat first.
After starting my own company I realized that all of that job-hopping was the best entrepreneurial training I ever received. I learned a lot about the right way to do things, and a lot about the wrong way to do things.
I learned that there are universal truths to leading your own company, no matter what industry you work in. Truths like:
1. Always be honest. As difficult as it may be at times, honesty is always easier, cheaper, and less painful than a lie.
2. Don't just say yes. The idea that if given an unexpected opportunity you should just "say yes and figure it out later" is one of the worst pieces of advice you'll ever get.
Saying you can accomplish something or provide a service you aren't currently capable of providing is a great short-term strategy to get customers as well as a great long-term strategy to destroy your reputation.
3. People make all the difference. A company with a great team , great culture, and poor product is a way better bet to succeed than a company with a bad team, bad culture, and great product.
All of these things seem obvious, but seeing these issues manifest themselves at multiple employers really helped drive the message home. You will always ultimately fail if you are dishonest, mislead others about what you are really capable of accomplishing, hire the wrong team, or create the wrong culture.
Job-hopping also forced me to repeatedly adjust to new environments. I would have to assess my new colleagues, bosses, employees, and markets. I had to adapt to the change I forced on myself, and I had to do it quickly.
And life as an entrepreneur is nothing if not constantly assessing and learning to adapt to new environments.
Job-hopping gets a bad name, and, if you're looking for a comfortable corporate career, it's probably not advisable. However, if you aspire to be an entrepreneur, it's not a bad thing to be exposed to a wide variety of different environments and scenarios.