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Gen Y Speaks: Why I’m bucking the job-hopping trend and sticking with one employer for now

It’s commonly said that millennials come from the job-hopping generation.

The writer says that she is choosing to buck the trend of millennials who tend to job-hop.

The writer says that she is choosing to buck the trend of millennials who tend to job-hop.

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It’s commonly said that millennials come from the job-hopping generation.

Our ambitions to speedily climb up the corporate ladder, earn more and pursue better opportunities are reasons why many millennials take a more fluid approach to our career trajectory.

I, however, am choosing to buck that trend.

In 2016, at 23 years old and fresh out of university, I was actively on the lookout for a position that would offer me the skills to work towards eventually becoming my own boss.

After a period of searching, I came upon a role of sports adviser with sports goods retailer Decathlon and was sold by the possibility of a “zig-zag” career path on top of the chance to combine my passion for sports with my career.

Five years on, I’m still with Decathlon, and have zig-zagged around the proverbial corporate ladder to take on the role as a sports leader in team sports, then department manager, and now leading my own team as store leader at the new Decathlon click-and-collect store at Westgate mall.

Meanwhile, most of my friends have gone through at least three different companies in this time.

That is not to say that I had not considered job-hopping myself. The truth is, as recently as a few months ago, I was considering a job change.

The writer is now a store leader at the new Decathlon click-and-collect store at Westgate mall. Photo: Decathlon

If there’s one thing that scares people in my generation the most, it’s stagnation.

We’re a generation always on the move.

Our favourite past-time is travelling and we’ve been taught that progression is the ultimate goal in life.

So when life got too comfortable in 2019, I was tempted to jump ship in pursuit of better professional growth but as luck would have it, I just didn’t find another suitable role I wanted to take on.

Then the pandemic hit. While I was thankful for a job in these uncertain times, the sudden spike in demand for sporting equipment coupled with the increasingly alienating working conditions as teams were split for safety reasons took a toll on me.

I felt overwhelmed, and was physically and mentally exhausted. I was so close to tendering my resignation.

But considering the circumstances, I talked myself into giving my current role one more shot and decided to speak with my assigned coach to see if I could improve my work conditions and seek fresh learning opportunities or decide if I’ve really come to the end of the road with Decathlon.

Both my coach and I agreed that a change of environment was required but my coach also recommended that I consider new roles and challenges that I could attempt from within Decathlon.

Honestly, it was kind of a relief for me, to be able to find a solution from a place of comfort instead of throwing in the towel and venturing into the unknown.

But I was not completely convinced yet, so I weighed the pros and cons.

I move:

  • I may get higher pay and better designation

  • I will take time to readjust into my new role and settle into a new corporate culture and team dynamics

  • I will have to prove myself to my new company that I’m worth the chance and work towards a promotion

  • I learn new skills in a new business or industry

  • I’ll feel stagnant and move on to another company and the cycle repeats

I stay:

  • I challenge myself in a new role within a company that I’m already familiar with and can quickly hit the ground running

  • I know where to go for support and I have friends and colleagues to look to for help

  • I will learn yet another aspect of the sporting industry that I haven’t been exposed to, thus creating a more in-depth understanding of the business and the industry

  • I feel stagnant again and move on to another role, and broaden my professional skill sets within the industry and business

In the end, it was a matter of deciding between being a jack of all trades or being a master of one company or industry.

I decided that I didn't have to list working for 10 companies on my resume just to show that I have grown professionally, but I will have to make the effort to challenge myself in a place I find joy to work.

I take pride in rising through the ranks in the same place one zig-zag at a time.

I also realised that I was lucky to have open and honest channels of communication.

It’s true what they say: “People don’t leave because the job is bad, people leave because of bad managers.”

So my message is this: To companies out there struggling to retain staff, rethink the way you empower your team to speak out with confidence and without fear.

Because the more honest they can be with you, the better equipped you will be to help address their concerns and keep them before it’s too late.

To fellow Gen Ys, there will always be challenging times and times of stagnation in every new role you take on.

There is merit in building a portfolio and deep expertise in a specific industry and company.

You don’t have to feel like you constantly have to prove your worth and value by finding a new job. Growth may just be within reach, you just have to ask.

Does it mean I’ll never leave my job?

No, when I finally feel like I’ve accrued enough experience to run my own business, I’ll not hesitate to fulfil my entrepreneurial dream. But not quite so soon.



Vigneswari Muthalagan is a store leader with sports goods retailer Decathlon.  

Related topics

career job-hopping millenials Decathlon job

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