Job Hopper

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


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.

Are You A Job Hopper?

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.

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.

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: Shutterstock

Chrissy Scivicque

Chrissy Scivicque is the founder of She's a certified career coach, corporate trainer, and public speaker.


  1. I’m interested in what people consider a short tenure. I was thinking under about three years in a few consecutive jobs looks like hopping, but some people posting replies seem to view a longer period as ‘short’…

  2. Job hoping is like a double edged sword that can cut in both directions. It could work to the advantage of the people involved and could also become detrimental. it is also dependent on the profession and level of development in that profession. If at any point an employee discovers that he/she is no-longer relevant to the organization, it is in their best interest to quit than get fired. for people that are new in a profession, I think it is a common thing for them to move around jobs in an attempt to understand how such professions are used in different organizations and to gain more skills too. What about people who could not get into full time and stable jobs but only get into temporary, casual or contract jobs? their over riding consideration should be pay and the same fate awaits them compared to job hopers because they may never have the opportunity to explain to the hiring managers the reason they held so many jobs in such a short time.

  3. You forgot to mention Adult-ADHD. That made my career-life a living hell! I was stuck in the secretarial profession that was a suffocating experience for me and I thought something was terribly wrong with me because no matter how i tried to remain inspired I was not able to lie to myself, so my boredom and carelessness became evident each time. I always quit with my dignity in tact – with the exception of one dismissal (not bad if you could consider the denominator :)). I was ADD as child (I figured that out) but because I performed very well in school, there had never been the need to seek help and at the age of 34 I finally found my place. The thing is, my kind has to go the extra 10 miles to get to know themselves and the blessing we received is to be very creative problem-solvers! However will I not mention this in interviews because of the stigma. I left the job-market now to prepare and build momentum for my career-change, have a REALISTIC plan and I am looking forward to the day I’ll be taking a shot and try again – this time remaining truer to myself.

  4. The jobs I loved the most were all volunteering for non profit. i have been trying for years now to get into it and so far no luck. I see a lot of myself in that article, never feeling 100% satisfied and somehow bored.
    Maybe yes we can be more creative than others but really speaking its so frustrating.
    I wish it was easy and an employer would see your quality and motivations.

    Thank you for the article :-)

  5. I combined part-time work, time in undergraduate & grad school, plus volunteer positions, with caring for children with special needs, so my resume looks like there is a lot of job hopping. I finally graduated, and my kids are now old enough and stable enough for me to begin my career, but the first job I found (and love) ended up going to part-time at the end of my temp-to-perm contract. How long do I stay at the same company in order to avoid the appearance of job-hopping if I am not able to convert my position back to full-time? I am doing everything I can at work to prove my value and improve office capacity, and my manager is supportive, but her higher-ups made the decision. Family finances are a serious concern. (I’m leaving my full name off for obvious reasons.)

  6. Jobs hopping depends on the organisation culture, if its very political and thrives on it, then at what level would you want to stay in it . Also if you have consistently reported to bad managers, who only undermine your position and potential despite all your good intention to given your best and drive it, you can only get frustrated you will never achieve your full potential.
    Steve Jobs and other influencers constantly remind us follow your heart, do what you enjoy the most.

  7. I personally don’t see any detriment to job hopping provided it is done for the right reasons. One reason could be centered around providing a skill that is currently lacking in a company and then ensuring that your skill is also passed onto someone else who remains in the company after you’ve gone. Spending 3 years at each company before moving on can be considered increasing your professional skills. It is good to learn new techniques and to see first hand how other company’s do what you do. So if done correctly with learning and problem solving involved, I don’t see anything negative about job hopping. Plus I’m doing it so that I can move across the country and see more of the world before I retire.

  8. Thank you, Ms. Scivicque, I found your article to be right on the money!
    I guess that I’ve been somewhat of a serial job hopper — the longest I’ve lasted anywhere is 8 years (and I’m 54).
    It seems that time after time the kick I get out of the work initially just starts to wane, and then I start sabotaging myself.
    Maybe it’s the creative side that doesn’t feel satisfied — I’m not sure — but, yes, something always seems to be missing.

  9. Over the span of time between now and the year I graduated high school, and even before then if you count being a pump jockey and working on the family farm, I have held something like 14-15 different ‘jobs’, several within my time in the military, none of which really paid a tinker’s care, in final analysis, but did pretty much keep me monthly-billing-cycle-compliant, for the most part. Some jobs/positions lasted for several years, some for only a year or two, and some were only several months duration, temporary-type work. And, all jobs are temporary, ultimately, no matter how deep you shove your nose up your boss’ heinie, or how well things might be going for you NOW, there’s a bunch of things that end up getting added into the Grand Calculus of Work-Stuff, including jobsite politics, and people just plain getting sick and tired of each other and their ways and idiosyncrasies and sometimes systemic dysfunction within organizations, and since most organizations employ actual living, breathing people, there’s bound to be some small amount of that no matter where you co. Comma. Some companies/organizations do a better job of policing that kind of action than others, and like the man said, you can’t soar with eagles, if you work with turkeys, and there’s a lot of turkeys no matter where you go.

    Working independently: If you’ve got some $ saved up from your daily labors, you might be in a position to effectively apply your accumulated life experiences, and become a 1-man/woman band, and make shift for yourself as…A Company Of One. Maybe. Depends. One direct benefit of working for other people in various roles, is that you also can learn the ropes of various aspects of running a business, from the administration to hands-on labor to management to planning and organizing and the whole 9 yards, basically. That is, if you kind of set some goals in mind. What are your goals, why are you at your current job, what is it that you either want, or maybe NEED to learn/re-learn, to facilitate your later independence?

    One thing to keep in mind in all your trabajo-ing, is that eventually, we all get old(and broken). What will happen to YOU, if you for some obscure unforeseen reason, can’t make shift tomorrow? What are your personal contingency plans, in that event? What if the company goes belly-up? What if, what if, what if…if you’re not thinking along those lines already, when it’s your time to jump off the ship you’re currently aboard, you might end up tangled up in the lines, and following it to the bottom…glub, glub, glub. When you put it that way, it definitely illustrates the merit of maintaining good respiratory health, and possibly the purchase of a good, sharp pocketknife, with which to sever ties as the need might arise. And, metaphor aside, in our modern world where stuff changes without notice, it’s a good preparatory mental step, to be ready to shake hands and say ‘goodbye’. If life is a journey, then a job is sort of a voyage, it stands to reason that one way or another, you’ll be carrying your duffel down that gangplank at some point in the future…whether dockside or in the churning froth of socio-economic uncertainty in the middle of stormy weather. How ARE your swimming skills? Points to ponder. Happy Sunday, wishing you calm seas and clear skies…

  10. Note: you are not putting us down but you fail to point out in your article that job hoppers are a result of the downturn in the economy. There are now more temporary jobs in the market as employers can bring in a temporary person so they do not have to pay them benefits. I have been told I am a job hopper and is not for the reasons in your article it is for the reasons I have stated in my message above.

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