I’ve written in the past about the pros and cons of job hopping. Yes, it’s true; you can spin it any way you want. But let’s be real: job hopping is no fun. Whether it’s a “good thing” or a “bad thing,” for your career might be debatable in theory. But, in reality, it’s a serious pain.
When you bounce from job to job, you find yourself in a perpetual state of transition, never really settled. You’re always “new,” trying to learn the ropes and figure out the next step in your “career”. You’re always playing catch up.
If you remain a job hopper for a prolonged period of time, you may even find yourself sliding slowly backwards. Five years down the line, you could look back and realize you’re not just standing still (professionally speaking), you’re actually regressing—your skills are deteriorating and your resume is becoming a scattered, inconsistent mess.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “Oh no! That’s me!” I want you to keep reading. Don’t panic, but pay attention. I’m going to tell you how to stop job hopping once and for all.
First off, STOP. Don’t make any drastic moves. My guess is that drastic, spontaneous moves are what got you into this situation.
It’s time to take things slow.
Here’s what usually happens: You find yourself in a job that doesn’t match who you are and what you want. You decide it’s time to leave. But, instead of taking your time and figuring out the RIGHT move for your career, you get anxious. You start blanketing the town with your resume, talking to everyone you know. With every minute that goes by, your panic rises.
So, when the first opportunity comes along, you jump.
“It’s not perfect,” you think. “But it’s something.”
Then, a few months down the line, it happens again. You’re not happy. You panic. You jump onto the next thing, knowing it’s still not perfect but at least it’s somewhat better.
It’s a vicious, painful, stressful, self-inflicted cycle.
Now is the time to put an end to it. Your situation will never improve if you don’t slow down and think before making your next move. In the past, you haven’t taken the time or invested the energy to make strategic career moves. You’ve simply leapt without looking—out of panic, out of fear, or out of sheer frustration. You’ve taken the route that, on the surface appeared to be easier and faster, but ultimately lead to more pain.
To stop the cycle, you need to do everything in your power to make sure your next career move doesn’t lead you down the same path. You need to take a different approach. You need to follow a smart, strategic and structured process that has proven results. No more guessing. No more grand leaps of faith. It’s time to do the work on the front-end to make sure your results on the back-end are actually what you want.
But here’s the problem many job hoppers have: They don’t know what they want. They’ve been entrenched in this cycle for so long, they’re starting to worry that nothing will satisfy them. They start to think that no job within reach will pay a decent wage and still provide them with some level of fulfillment. They start to believe that settling is their only option.
Sound familiar? Snap out of it.
You deserve career fulfillment and yes, it’s possible—no matter who you are. If you haven’t found it yet, you haven’t made it a priority. You’re not really trying.
If you’re ready to stop the vicious cycle of job hopping once and for all, I invite you to join me for a free webinar:
How to Stop Job Hopping & Find Career Fulfillment
Do you bounce from one job to the next, never feeling satisfied? Do you worry that you’ll never find a job that pays a decent wage and makes you happy? You’re not alone! But you don’t have to accept this as a way of life. Everyone can find long-lasting career fulfillment and success…even YOU. During this webinar, I’ll give you real strategies for overcoming the challenges that have kept you professionally stuck and unhappy for way too long.
Attendees will learn:
How to stop negative job hopping patterns—and why NOW is the time to do it
Why conducting proactive career research will ensure you make the RIGHT career moves at the RIGHT time
How to identify your own career preferences (and ignore the negative influences of others)
The 4-step process you MUST follow in order to find long-term stability and peace-of-mind
Register for free here: THIS WEBINAR HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED–More information will provided soon.
Recently, I presented a webinar for my good friends at Careerealism. Because J.T. O’Donnell, the founder of Careerealism, is so cool, she gave me permission to share the recording with all of you.
Here’s the description:
Are you a job hopper? Do you bounce from one job to the next, never feeling satisfied? You’re not alone! But you don’t have to accept this as a way of life. Everyone can find long-lasting career fulfillment…even YOU.
During this webinar, career coach Chrissy Scivicque will give you real strategies for overcoming the challenges that have kept you professionally stuck and unhappy for way too long.
Attendees will learn:
What causes job-hopping and is it really such a bad thing?
How to stop these negative patterns when you’re ready.
How to conduct a proactive job search in order to make the RIGHT career moves at the RIGHT time.
How to pinpoint what you want and need from your career (and ignore what others want or need!)
Are you ready to find and create REAL, lasting career fulfillment? Watch the webinar now!
Written by Chrissy Scivicque, February 09th, 2011 | 1 Comment »
Out of everyone in my group of college friends, I was the only one who still had the same job two years after graduation. Everyone else had changed jobs once, twice, even three times. So, I felt somewhat smug—as if I knew 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 years. If only I had just left at the very beginning when I realized it wasn’t for me…maybe I wouldn’t have wasted all that time being miserable…
Of course, job hopping also involves a few pretty serious downsides. In order to make the best decisions in your career, it’s helpful to understand both the positive and negative aspects of bouncing around from one job to the next, and how it can impact your long-term goals.
Clearly, no one expects you to know exactly what you want from your career the minute you graduate from college. But, as you gain experience, you should become more astutely aware of what your idea of “the right” job looks like. If you find yourself stuck, feeling like nothing will ever make you happy, it’s time to do some self-reflection. If you need help, download my free mini-workbook which walks you through a process to determine what’s working (and what’s not) in your current career so you can begin pinpointing the things that may provide (or detract from) career fulfillment the future. Once you know more about yourself, you can be more discerning in the job search process.
Proactively searching for a job that matches your unique career wants and needs should help prevent job hopping, but there’s no guarantee. Sometimes, the only way to really learn what works for you and what doesn’t is to simply step in there and give it a try. I always recommend that, unless things are really unbearable, it’s a good idea to stick with a new job for at least a year. This gives you enough time to really get a feel for it and make an informed decision.
Most of us enjoy routine…up to a point. Then, it becomes monotonous. Job hopping certainly provides variety. You end up learning about many different businesses and industries; you gain a variety of skills and meet a wide range of people. This is what many job hoppers crave when they bounce around. They just want to escape the boring everyday routine. Be cautious of this! While it’s nice to experience new things, most jobs will have some degree of monotony. When you’re being paid, it won’t always be exciting and new.
If you’re a job hopper, or if you end up being one, you can always frame your scattered experience as being a good thing: you have a wide range of capabilities and broad point-of-view. However, in reality, your experience in each area is rather shallow. If you only stay somewhere for a short period of time, you’re not getting a deep understanding of what’s going on. That usually takes several years to accomplish and prospective employers may be concerned about your skill level.
Lack of Loyalty
Inevitably, once you’ve job hopped a few times in a row, employers will start seeing it as a red flag. They’ll wonder about your loyalty. They’ll worry that it’s not worth the time, money and energy needed to train you because, in a year or so, you’ll be gone. This can be a hard stigma to shake so you better have some strong justification for why you left each position and proactively address it in your cover letter. Don’t try to ignore it and hope they won’t notice.
You Don’t Know What You Want (‘Till It’s Gone!)
The other thing prospective employers will assume is that you don’t really know what you want. When you tell them why you’d be perfect for the job and why it’s a position you’ll be thrilled to have, they’ll doubt your motives. Your past doesn’t indicate that you really know what will please you. Again, with a little clever maneuvering, you can frame it in such a way that your past actually proves that you know exactly what you want—and DON’T want.
But, ultimately, many job hoppers end up regretting their decisions. They fall into the “grass is always greener” syndrome. Once they’ve moved on and fallen into another monotonous routine somewhere else, they realize that the last job wasn’t so bad after all.
If you ever find yourself labeled as a “serial job hopper,” take some time to evaluate why it’s happening and how it’s affecting your long-term career objectives. Create strategies to overcome this issue so you can settle into a job that feels right and keeps your interest. Working with a career coach or participating in a group coaching program may also be helpful.
Okay, so you gotta get out. I hear you. You’re practically screaming it from the rooftops. It’s time.
But let’s not be hasty here. Believe me; I’ve done this a few times. It’s much more effective to focus on doing it right. Here are a few of the ideas I like to review with my career coaching clients when they’re ready to give up and go home.
Run Towards, Not Away From
Don’t just focus on leaving your current gig. Quitting isn’t about running away, it’s about moving forward. It’s a path that opens opportunities so focus your attention on the future. Don’t waste time and energy pushing the job you don’t want away from you. Instead, pull the job you do want towards you.
Slow Down and Check Your Ego
Don’t get in a rush. Focus on making the right long-term career decisions. Ideally, give yourself as long as six months to make the move. Obviously, this can be difficult. Many of us get to a breaking point before we truly make the decision to quit. By that time, we’re maxed out with anxiety and frustration. Try to be proactive and make the decision before you get to that point.
Once the decision is made, check your ego. When you know you’re ready to leave, it can be hard to put up with those everyday irritations. You want to just mentally and physically check out. Instead, swallow your pride and continue to do your best even with one foot out the door. Don’t disengage before it’s time. The right position may not come along for a while so keep yourself grounded. There’s no need to rush the process just because the decision to quit has been made.
You Have Nothing to Prove
Quitting is an emotional experience. Often, when we’re ready to move on, we start noticing all the ways in which others have been holding us back or treating us unfairly. Our patience goes right out the window. All too often, I see people trying to teach others “a lesson.” They think that by quitting abruptly or making a dramatic exit, they’ll prove something to those who let them down. Save yourself the energy. You’ll never teach anyone anything by quitting in a huff or storming out. Don’t pour your frustrations into a manifesto Jerry McGuire style. No one cares. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the truth.
Be Honest With Yourself
When you’re searching for a new job, you’ll need to weigh your options. No position is perfect, no matter what they tell you during the interview. In every career transition, something is gained and something else is lost. Don’t fool yourself into believing that any career move will come without a shred of sacrifice. Just be honest about it. If you’re willing to give up the big bucks in exchange for a job you truly love, understand that this decision will come with a few hardships. If you want the paycheck and are willing to do a job that doesn’t ignite your passion, recognize that there will be a different price to pay. Make your decisions with eyes wide open and remember that one is not better than the other; they simply have different consequences.
No matter what, I always recommend that you give a full two week notice. There is simply no excuse for failing to do so. It’s unprofessional and it puts an unfair burden on the employer. You won’t make any friends in business if you don’t respect the basic rules of etiquette, and this is certainly one of the most important. Offer to help train others and organize your work as best you can for an easy transition. No matter how you feel about the job or the company you’re leaving, it still provided you with a paycheck and the experience you needed to get to this next step. A two week notice is a small price to pay.
Manage Your Stress
Change of any kind is stressful. The process of transitioning out of one job and into another is one of the most stressful changes to go through, even once the job search is over. You end up in a new environment, learning new skills and meeting new people. It’s a brand new routine and, for many, it can take months to feel comfortable in a new job. Create a game plan for managing that stress and recognize that even the most positive career changes can feel downright overwhelming at times.
Visualize your perfect career transition. Make a plan and then execute it to the best of your ability. If you need a little more guidance and personal assistance, consider working with a career coach throughout the process. You may find it’s one of the most intelligent investments you’ve ever made in your long-term career success strategy.
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. 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.