How I created my own rotational program

Rotations are pretty common in the corporate world nowadays. While the structure of a rotational program varies among each company, the goal is usually the same: to expose you to different areas of the business and help you solidify your choice about what you want to do at that company. For instance, my employer had an entry-level analyst rotation whereby one spends a year and a half in three different roles: six months on the retail side of the company, six months on the institutional side, and another six months in brokerage operations.

When I was applying to jobs as a college senior, I didn’t know what areas of business would fit me best. So I would’ve really benefited from a rotational program. But after sending my applications to many of them, all I received were rejection letters.

Not to worry, I thought. And worry did I not.

In the span of three years after graduating college, I ended up working three different jobs for two different employers:

  • Job #1: worked at a software start-up, doing software implementations and project management
  • Job #2: big company, client-facing role, working in a call center doing customer service
  • Job #3: big company, analytical position, doing sales analytics and compensation processing

This didn’t happen by design though. I didn’t start working at my first job knowing that I will quit in 10 months. Or that I will do sales analytics two years later. I just knew the kind of experiences I wanted to have, generally speaking. My subsequent job changes were driven by various factors, like job satisfaction, personal life, career opportunities, and so on.

So when I look back at the last three years (I’m writing this in April 2020), I feel like I was on a three-year rotational program.

You might think this sounds like … intentional job hopping. But if you work hard in your role and have a solid reason to change positions or employers, everybody understands it. It’s just business, as they say. You are on a path to discover what fits you best, which sometimes means you need to change jobs. In fact, some bigger companies actually encourage their employees to switch roles within the company.

Which leads me to another point. You actually should explore different roles, companies, and industries, especially while you’re young and have little overhead. How are you going to know what you’re good at if you don’t try it?

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