What's your problem?

I get bored of jobs too easily...

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 30 Sep 2010

Q: Throughout my 10-year career I've flitted across jobs in publishing, never staying in a role for more than 18 months. I'm worried that my CV looks messy but I always find myself getting bored very quickly and, despite my best intentions, I end up moving on. Is this normal?

A: According to my calculator, you've already changed jobs between six and seven times. And the first thing this tells me is not that you get bored very quickly but that you always seem to find it easy to find another job to go to. So what is it, I wonder, that makes you so employable? I suspect you have an easy, engaging manner that leads people to take you on to do relatively undemanding jobs. They know you'll fit in with the others, get along well, be good in any client-facing roles: all jobs where an easy, engaging manner has a genuine value. But I also suspect that none of these jobs has ever scared you witless.

You're bored because it's all too easy. I don't suppose you've ever been fired because I don't suppose you've ever been asked to do a job that stretches you to the furthest limits of your ability - and maybe a little bit beyond. Nor, to your shame, have you ever seriously tried to turn one of those six or seven jobs of yours into a real, scary challenge. You've just done what was expected of you - and there's very little satisfaction to be found in that.

As well as that easy, engaging manner, you've clearly got skills. It's time you used them to the full. I'm not asking you suddenly to become ruthlessly ambitious in a blinkered, ladder-climbing way. I'm just suggesting that you exhibit a little more professional vanity; that you seek out jobs and opportunities that will demand of you a great deal more than you've given so far. You need to be presented with difficult projects - against serious competition and against deadlines. Half of you will wonder why you ever took them on and half of you will be fiercely determined to make them work. But I can promise you one thing with absolutely certainty: your days of being bored will be over for good.

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