I took a job directly out of school 18 months ago with an employer I'd done an internship with and because we had mutual "good feelings" about each other. When I was offered the position, the salary was much higher than I'd expected, and I decided to leave a job behind that I'd been at for almost 10 years for this new position.
At the time I was hired, my boss and HR informed me I'd have 12 months to sit for a certification exam for this job in order to keep my position. This test is only offered twice a year, and the test was to be offered a month after my start date, and again in 10 months from my start date. Because I was new to the field, my new boss encouraged me to wait until 10 months to take the exam and even had that approved through HR. We'll call new job "Job A", old job "Job B" and the upcoming job I'm about to describe "job C".
Flash forward 6 months into Job A---things are going swimmingly, I'm about to buy a house (was pre approved, found one I liked, etc etc) when my boss and her boss have a meeting with me telling me HR made a mistake at my time of hiring and I actually only had 6 months to sit for this exam. They apologize profusely and then tell me the bad news-I get a 20% pay cut until I'm certified.
I schedule my exam and start studying, and also call the mortgage company to see how this affects my upcoming home loan. They call my employer flakey, ask for something in writing from HR about my salary returning to the previous amount, and HR says no. I lose the mortgage (no, not planning on telling future employers the house drama, but it seems as though a few people are confused as to why I wouldn't trust HR through this whole ordeal and somehow I'm at fault for deciding to leave this job).
So I start applying for new jobs. I have several interviews and people keep asking me why I'm leaving Job A, as I sound like I really enjoy it (in hindsight, I was probably over-doing the enthusiasm as I didn't want to sound as bitter as I truly felt towards Job A). At first I gave potential future employers the abbreviated truth-my salary was cut due to an issue with certification, but when I didn't get called back by those folks, I just started telling interviewers that I was ready to move on from Job A.
And I get a job-Job C-and it's been 7 months and it's not challenging, nor do I have a great team, nor is it interesting in the slightest (tbh, I settled, and have learned my lesson, but the disaster of HR at Job A really had me burned out by the time I left). I'm ready to throw a few hats in the ring but don't want to look like I'm a job-hopper (I was at Job B for 10 years prior to this) and would like to have a way of explaining this whole mess in a way that won't be a turn-off to employers. I also don't want to throw Job A under the bus. So what do I say?
(And yes, I have learned so much throughout this process about getting things in writing and not jumping into something else just for the sake of leaving and not being tempted by larger salaries and anything else sinister that could potentially be extrapolated from this whole mess)