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Are You a Job Hopper? 3 Reasons Why You Can’t Stick It Out

Are you a job hopper?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.

1. Self-Discovery

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. If you’d like more information on this, send me an email.

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. Career Management Consulting (also called Career Strategy Coaching) is an ideal match for people in this situation. If you have questions, drop me an email.

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.

Photo Credit: Woodleywonderworks (Flickr)

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27 Responses to “Are You a Job Hopper? 3 Reasons Why You Can’t Stick It Out”

  1. slcl says:

    i totally completely absolutely found this speaking to me. thanks for putting it out there and helping me feel like there is hope, and i’m NOT the only one. it really helped me. i start with high hopes, but always end up feeling out of place, disappointed, lost, under or over-qualified and so so sad.

  2. Chrissy says:

    Hooray! I’m so happy to hear that this spoke to you. And yes, there IS hope. You’re totally normal!! Tons of people deal with this same problem. It’s all about the job search process…finding the right way to approach it and then evaluate the jobs you’re looking at to know if they’re going to be a long-term match. Drop me an email and we can chat ([email protected]). I think I can help :)

  3. Zoe says:

    This really stuck out to me “simply conducting a proactive job search.” In the age of internet it’s easy to apply to 100′s of jobs on sites like and and accept the first job offer you receive…I feel in the internet age it’s so easy to be more submissive in your job search instead of really researching where you want to work and putting your whole heart into it…

  4. Personality Mismatch is huge and career counselors can do career assessments which can help you choose the correct career for you.

  5. I really liked what you said about how many people end up in a vicious cycle of job search mistakes.

  6. [...] making the right move at the right time. This is one of the reasons so many people end up being “job hoppers,” bouncing from one position to the next. If you don’t take the time on the front end to truly [...]

  7. [...] is one of the reasons that so many people end up being “job hoppers,” bouncing from one position to the next. If you don’t take the time on the front end to truly [...]

  8. [...] something they didn’t. It wasn’t until many years later that I understood the positive side of job hopping. It hit me when I suddenly discovered that I had forced myself to stay in a job I hated for five [...]

  9. [...] you find yourself job-hopping and nothing ever satisfies you for any period of time, it’s time to look at yourself. Most [...]

  10. pamela says:

    finaling think i have found th right web site.i am cearel job hopper.something i feel so gutily for job out of work.i wish stay with a job.i would be in this mess.i feel jugle you when you had some many jobs.i feel lkie i am the only jb hopping, everyone is in their happy job.can gave me advice?

  11. Ellie says:

    But what do you do when the jobs you know you are perfect for are not easy to get into and not regularly paid (if ever)? I definitely fall into the creative category (love project work), but because I’m good at a variety of creative skills (music, art, writing, films) I jump from one thing to the other and never get any proper work. I’ve sold 2 paintings, teach Literature, send scripts to the BBC and other places and have tried to learn animation in order to make my own films. I know the best thing for me would be directing films as I could use all of the above skills together. But that’s pretty much impossible to get into (I can’t afford film school, don’t know anyone high up in the industry, can’t afford equipment, can’t even afford decent animation software to make shorts since I’m out of full time work)! Aaaaargh!

  12. DRap says:

    I like to add a couple of other reasons — you’re just lied to about the job, and (what I usually come up against)– the job is meant to be done by a 4th grader. I’m in Admin Support and my problem is that the jobs are not “busy busy busy” as sold to me, but just need some organization. Once I whip it into shape, I willingly look for more responsibility; management doesn’t usually know how to deal with this. And they really don’t know how to deal with my suggesting the job go down to part-time. If it can, then I run on the environment, but unfortunately it tends to turn toxic; if it can’t, it’s time for me to go because it really messes with my head to sit there and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for hours on end. Good news for employer is that my successor gets hired at less time for less money.

  13. Fired Girl says:

    I was a jobhopper when I got out of college. The first year I had six jobs! I got fired or I quit to avoid getting fired. Then I had a six year career of doing temp work. I figured I could do anything for a few days. Why did I get fired. I really don’t know. I had good attendance and I worked hard. I also had ADD or ADHD. When I was fired I was told the same thing that I was a good worker and a hard worker but I didn’t fulfill the needs of the company. I was also told I wasn’t outgoing enough or didn’t have the right personality.

  14. DJ says:

    Ever since I left school, I’ve continuously gone from job to job and never felt like I enjoyed any of them. I’ve questioned myself so many times as to why I give up so easily. I quit school early, I don’t stick at relationships, I don’t keep in regular contact with my friends and I don’t stick at jobs! I’m either running from something or searching for whatever it is I feel that is missing. My family get so frustrated with me, and I do too as I know I’m passionate about so many things, I’m creative and take a keen interest in life. I’m working at the moment and the group I work with all dislike each other, everyday is the same: bitching about one another, but I know that that’s the same in all work environments. I can already feel that wind of change heading towards me, when I feel that I know it won’t be long before I’m looking for another job.

  15. Dejected says:

    I’m a “job hopper”, primarily because I never finished college and took jobs I knew I wouldn’t enjoy just to have some income. The jobs I did enjoy were part-time and usually low-paying. I needed full-time income, so I had to leave those behind. I am a perfectionist, so I take any job seriously and do an outstanding job, but naturally, I get burned out. These days, it is especially difficult to get employed without “stable” tenure. The companies that I probably could stick it out with (because they pay decently for someone without a degree) won’t give me a chance, despite being qualified, so I end up back at square one. I’ve been in this go nowhere cycle for years now. I am very depressed.

  16. Randy says:

    Today, at 51 years old, I still want to immaturely believe that the strife of paying for a bachelor’s degree (Mechanical Engineering Technology – Associate’s General Engineer’g) had a worthwhile future. America sold and sold the idea that there were major shortages in science careers. Big friggn deal and ohhhh poooor me.

    Resentment caused me to synically believe the degree that seemed reasonably affordable or the pride of refusing to cheat or drop classes retaking physics and calculas until A’s were maintained was not scientific enough. It wasn’t a good start.

    I became totally dedicated and illusioned that building on self was happening in 3 particular jobs at the difficult portion of my career when paying off school loans.

    The first wound me on unemployment with all others when the owner sold “his” business (acquisitioned) to a large conglomerate. He was eventually fired for immoral practices as original owner of unsaid company.

    The second was acquisitioned by a large conglomerate. We were replaced by others as we educated them to move into our positions from another state.

    The third was purchased and moved to another state. I was offered a job but could not move for family reasons.

    Through even deeper insecure resentment, I clung to a presumption that maintenance of “marketable skills” at all costs meant job security. Companies must no longer be capable of determining whether they are in business three months from now.

    Unintentional pride and clinging to a premise to control what is unmanagable is how this job hopper got made.

  17. [...] you bounce from job to job, you find yourself in a perpetual state of transition, never really settled. You’re always [...]

  18. Luis says:

    I have had exactly the same problem. I stay at jobs a few months then I quit because I end up hating them and the article is right on target, it is because those reasons it mentioned. I pretty much en up desperate for a paycheck and take the first thing I find only to quit later. It is depressive. I’m realizing all this and want to change!

  19. M says:

    This describes me completely: “Some people have creative personalities that struggle deeply with routine. They are more likely to feel antsy to the point of serious despair.”

    After four years as a school teacher, (a career choice I made after doing a lot of research and personality tests and soul searching) I was extremely unhappy. Despite loving my job on many levels, I felt trapped, claustrophobic, sucked dry and unfulfilled. I never got any time to pursue my own interests, and for me, letting my creativity out is central to my happiness. I know that sounds silly but it’s a big part of me and if it’s suppressed for a long time, I gradually become depressed, withdrawn and pessimistic. I believe this is experienced by many creative people. I also found the rigid routines and lack of flexibility to be a source of frustration. Over time I became increasingly depressed, and it became clear it was affecting my health and my relationships. I actually believe that if I hadn’t got out, I’d have died, either by my own hand, or through some major health catastrophe.

    I took some time off to explore my options, in particular, running my own business. I thought that being self-employed would give me the freedom and the air to breath which I craved. And it has done, but it’s brought difficulties also. Being self-employed gives a creative person almost too much freedom! Without the structure of a job, you can jump endlessly from project to project without finishing any of them, ignoring practicalities which bore you. I’m sure every self-employed person can relate to these issues! Plus, as a creative person, I’m not very business minded, and this has worked against me.

    Now I wonder if there’s any employment that’s right for me. I became very depressed within the confines of the teaching profession, but I fear that I don’t really have a talent for self-employment or running my own business. I can’t go back to teaching. So what do I do now? That’s the problem I need to solve.

    Prior to becoming a teacher, I was a temp for about 10 years through my twenties. I loved temping. It allowed me to job hop as much as I liked, move to London, Sydney, take time off when I wanted to, go travelling, study, explore new industries, and if I started to feel bored or miserable after a six months or a couple of years at a job, I could just ask my agency to find me a new one. It was perfect for me. Then when I turned thirty I thought, “I’ve got to get serious, now.” So at that point I became a teacher, and I have been miserable ever since.

  20. Emily says:

    Does this make me a job hopper?

    My first job was working for a grocery store as a courtesy clerk. This was my first job when I was sixteen. I didn’t see myself making this a career even though I got promoted to cashier.

    I then worked for a warehouse factory for two years that job was once a week and it was a night job. Over the summer it would be totally dead and I would still be on the schedule but No work at all for three months.

    Then I left that and did an internship and successfully completed that internship in four months. and would have stayed full time but went home to finish school.

    I then got another job that basically offered me the first position once I got back from my internship. I love the company but again I do not see myself here for the rest of my life. I’ve been here for this company for a year and five months.

    I finally decided to look around a little bit more and look for positions that have my interest. I’ve always been interested in working for resorts and I have a job interview soon. While being employed by my current job I’ve had several interviews for other positions over the year and five months i’ve been with the place but have turned them down.

  21. applecider says:

    Hi! The “send email” links are no longer working… was wondering if there is any kind soul who can help with regard to this… any assistance would be deeply appreciated! Hope to hear from someone soon. Best regards and cheers!

  22. Chrissy Scivicque says:

    Hi applecider – Just tested the email link and it seems to be working fine on my end. It opens a second window and redirects to your email client…there could be a firewall on your end messing up the process. Sorry for the inconvenience…

  23. elaine says:

    Thank goodness for this article.I recently just started a new job which took me almost three months to get through the various background checks etc.I was hired and was on high the whole time waiting telling family and friends and anyone who would listen about how happy i was to to working at this place.Once i got through the first week of training on the compny and what was expected of me,I was put in a area where i i had no prevous experience and now i’m been tested daily on what i’ve learned so far. Which brings up alot of anxiety and fear for me.I can’t wait at the end of my shift to clock out and go home.I started this past weekend submitting my resumes all over the place.I think i’m too old to not be able to stay put in a job for an extended period of time.I’m looking for anything to repalce this current job.Just so people around me won’t think that i’m a real loser,I will stay at this job unitl i know for sure i ‘m hired at another one.This is very depressing and i think i have a mental disorder at this point,Or maybde i was just placed in a job that i have no interest in at all.If anyone is has or is experiencing something like this i would like hear their story.I over 45 and i need to be in one job take care of myself in retirement.

  24. Pau says:

    I´ve been looking for more information about job hopping, and I am glad to have found this. I am from Mexico and never heard of this, but it sounds like me. I wish there was more information or how to improve ourselves and not to be job hopping anymore. I think I am afraid to be commited to a job, I have been in positions were I am promoted but I just can do it because is not what I want, and I start looking for a new job, Or find any excuse to leave the job. It makes me sad, but also it gives me anxiety to be in jobs were I don´t want to be.

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  26. […] course, job hopping also involves a few pretty serious downsides. In order to make the best decisions in your career, […]

  27. thepinch says:

    I am 61, bipolar/ptsd, and I about an hour ago I resigned after a week with a prominent retailer.

    One has to consider that staying in the wrong job too long is symptomatic of our own limitations. The backslapping turned to lifting 45 lb weights repeatedly, being told to change my dominant hand, and being called out again and again for losing a password. I could make a decision early, without developing any equity in the store. Did I mention I am in sales?

    You can forget about your ego, and your lofty degrees. I have a few too. In case you did not notice, millions of people are underemployed. So take the red pilI. Learn to live on less. Sell. And set yourself free. When you are willing to work for little, you will never be out of a job, and you call the shots.

    I supplement my income with rentals and selling the odd bit of stuff I no longer want. Sometimes I swap goods for labour. That is very popular. If I need something done I always give back to the guy on welfare or disability. Works great.

    So you see,=you always have a job. You just have to learn to choose yourself first.

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