Dear Career Angel: I'm flighty in my career but want to change. Help?

A consummate job-hopper seeks advice from MT's Career Angel. Is Jenny doomed to restlessly move from role to role, or can she learn to take satisfaction in the job she holds now?

Last Updated: 28 Jun 2013

Dear Career Angel,
I really enjoy interviewing for new positions and feel like I really shine in those kinds of high pressure situations. However, as soon as I get the job I want, my enthusiasm wanes very quickly. I have changed jobs after less than a year several times. What's the secret to keeping myself engaged with my role? I'm worried about looking flighty on my CV.

Jenny, Bognor

Dear Jenny,

Although we all like the excitement of a new job, you are right to be concerned. Unless you are in an industry where short contracts are the norm (i.e. TV), you will certainly look like a job-hopper if you are not staying in your positions for circa two years.

There are exceptional circumstances - for example where someone is rapidly promoted - but these can be easily explained in person or on a CV. In your case, you will need to come up with a good story if employers are to feel they can rely on you.

For the future, consider the age-old advice that you get out of something what you put in. Are you dedicating yourself 100% to doing your best in your jobs or are you looking for them to provide you with instant gratification? In order to keep engaged with your role, you must give your all in terms of your energies and focus every day.

Instead of jumping ship because you feel bored, try setting yourself some targets for 18 months from now. Build up your skill sets. Teach yourself SQL and take over your group’s databases. Take a management course. Endeavour to get excellent performance reviews. See if you can gain the excitement you crave by being promoted internally instead by being recognised as an asset.

A former boss once advised me that to be promoted, we must already be behaving and acting 'as if' we were at that level. My challenge to you would be to stretch yourself to behave as if you were the level above and see if that offers you some stimulation.

Also, take on some challenges outside of your immediate role such as joining some employee committees or engaging in the firm’s charitable efforts.  You will waste valuable years of your career if you look for others to validate you, whether in a new or existing role, so look within to be your best.

Good luck!

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