'Debt-free Diva' goes through two jobs in 13 months, questions need to stick at a career if unhappy

After feeling restless in her job, Tracy Hemingway says when she spoke to people about making a change, they told her, 'You can't change jobs again'.
After feeling restless in her job, Tracy Hemingway says when she spoke to people about making a change, they told her, 'You can't change jobs again'. Photo credit: Supplied.

A Hamilton woman who changed jobs twice in 13 months is encouraging Kiwis who are unhappy in their careers not to keep battling through and to follow their passion.

Following COVID-19, Tracy Hemingway, who is also known as the 'Debt Free Diva', sums up her feelings towards her day job as "restless".

Having "hit the peak" of where she could go in her job selling office supplies, Hemingway moved into selling veterinary pharmaceuticals. 

After 8 months, Hemingway says she resigned to take a job as a business development manager back in the office supplies industry, which represented "a step up". But within 5 months, those feelings of restlessness returned and she felt like "a square peg in a round hole". 

Hemingway has left a six-figure income to embark on self-employment, where she'll be using her experience paying off close to $100,000 of debt and saving a first-home deposit to help people to get a mortgage.

"I just knew it was time - I wasn't doing my company any favours by trying to push through - my heart wasn't in it," Hemingway explains.

Talking to others, Hemingway says many in her situation would rather stick out their job and be miserable than make a change. 

But as the job market is candidate poor, the 3.4 percent unemployment rate reflecting the tight labour market and difficulties finding staff, it's time to "challenge the status quo", she says.

"There was so much chatter - people said, 'You can't change jobs again', or, 'You've only been in this job a few months…' and [my response was], 'But why?'"

Studying for the level 5 certificate in financial services and topping up her income with various side-hustles (surveys, Trade Me sales, online mystery shopping and focus groups), Hemingway says swapping laptops to do her day job began to feel like "a chore".

If the last lockdown hadn't happened, she probably would've "just battled through". 

"I was going to stay with them till February - but it just got to a point where I thought, 'I've gotta go… my life is calling,'" Hemingway adds.

With three months of savings stashing away, Hemingway plans to "live on a strict budget" while she gets on her feet.

During COVID-19 last year, employees were concerned about job stability and security. This year, they're much more willing to take risks, Wendy Hewson, general manager of recruitment company PersolKelly tells Newshub.

"We're seeing acute labour shortages and pressure on salaries - the cost of living is going up significantly [which] along with labour shortages, it's having a high impact," Hewson says.

Some applicants had received multiple job offers, as well as counter-offers from their current employers. 

"Candidates are seeing they really are in the box seat and they've got quite high negotiating power," Hewson adds.

Although there's no hard and fast rule about how long people should stay in a job, a series of short-term moves may require an explanation.

"If there's a series of lateral moves, this may be a concern, but if they're due to relocation or vertical steps up, it makes sense," Hewson says.