If you’re a serial job hopper, don’t worry: I’m not here to pick on you. This article isn’t about placing blame; it’s about exploring motivation.
You see, I’ve worked with a lot of people who want desperately to find that perfect job—a job that holds their interest and makes them feel truly excited to go to work each day. Yet, these same people find themselves bouncing from job to job, unable to make a long-term commitment. Job hoppers often have good intentions so it becomes frustrating when they just can’t find a job worth holding on to.
If the description above rings true for you, there could be several things going on. By understanding what could be causing your situation, you may be able to resolve it. So take a look at the three most common reasons I’ve discovered for being a serial job hopper, and see if any describe you.
Younger professionals especially may be going through a journey of self-discovery, bouncing from job to job as a way of exploring their options. When you don’t have a lot of experience, it’s hard to know what you’ll enjoy. Right after college for example, many people spend a few years in a state of transition. Job hopping during this period of time is nothing to worry about; it’s quite normal. Sometimes, the only way to know what you want in your career is to try a variety of things to determine what you don’t want.
2. Job Search Mistakes
Those who are more experienced and still find themselves job hopping may want to evaluate their job search process. Many people end up in a vicious cycle: They fail to use an appropriate level of discretion in their job search and they simply accept the first job that offers them a decent paycheck. Then, because they weren’t cautious enough on the front end, they end up in a role that pays the bills but doesn’t satisfy them on any deeper level. So, very quickly, they find themselves back in the job market. They let themselves get consumed with anxiety and worry, feeling the need for that paycheck, and they end up accepting yet another job that simply offers the salary needed, instead of taking their time and putting in the effort to find the RIGHT job.
This can be resolved quite easily by simply conducting a proactive job search. I’ve actually spent years creating a well-defined system that helps job seekers make intelligent, long-term decisions to find employment that makes job hopping a thing of the past.
3. Personality Mismatch
At some point—usually about a year into employment—the reality of the workplace catches up to you. No matter how exciting and interesting the job appeared on day one, it eventually becomes just another job. It happens to everyone, even rocks stars and astronauts. If they’re willing to pay you to do the job, it probably won’t always be a day at the park. Some people have creative personalities that struggle deeply with routine. They are more likely to feel antsy to the point of serious despair. However, instead of really analyzing what’s going on and creating a strategy for managing it, many people simply bounce on to the next job, hoping that something will change. Sadly, it never does.
If this description sounds like you, don’t worry: you’re not doomed to a life of job hopping. You have options that will help you work with your personality instead of fighting against it. If you want to find a career that will satisfy you long-term, it IS possible. But you’ll need to do a little work.
Job hopping isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing, but most people don’t enjoy it. When you bounce from job to job, you’re usually looking for something—a feeling of fulfillment that’s missing. Plus, job hopping is hard! It’s stressful to look for a job and, even once you’re in, you still have that rough period of learning the ropes. In my experience, finding a long-term career that truly nourishes you is the ultimate goal for most people—and I truly believe it’s possible for everyone.