Updated: May 12, 2020
Let's face it - in general nobody wants to work. Even those who absolutely love their jobs have responsibilities they don't find enjoyable. For example, actresses may love to be in front of the camera, the glam photo shoots and even the fame... but maybe they're not so fond of the press interviews, the paparazzi and the constant negative attention from gossip blogs. Although some people are blessed to work purely for fun, most of us need a career to 1) bring in an income; and 2) find some fulfillment and develop our expertise in an industry we love...or at least kinda-sorta like.
Your professional development usually takes years of shuffling through jobs, until you can hone in on your unique skill set, and ultimately find that special career area that brings a tiny bit of purposeful joy for 40 hours/week. One of the biggest obstacles my clients face in reaching that sweet spot is their recent work history consists of several different roles with different companies in a short amount of time. I can see this as soon as I look at their resume.
Your resume is a snapshot of you, detailing who you are and what key accomplishments you've reached over the past decade, give or take. If you've switched jobs more than four times in seven years, it's probably not because of the company culture over and over again... perhaps it's time to look in the mirror and ask yourself "Am I a good employee?" .
When I say a "good" employee I don't mean a suck up overachiever your boss loves, but everyone else hates. Take my quick quiz below to find out now - give yourself 1 point for each YES answer.
1. Are you trusted to be on time and stay for your entire shift, even without supervision?
2. Have you proven you can independently manage tasks?
3. Are your maintenance tasks up-to-date and free from error?
4. Are you able to adapt to changing environments without complaining? * Changing environments = new managers, policy updates, schedule changes*
5. Do you interact with the rest of the team and moderately compare to other employees in similiar positions?
6. Have you had an "emergency" that caused you to arrive late or leave early less than twice within a year?
7. Are you willing to take on more than your job description to assist the team?
8. Have you ever received praise from upper management for going above and beyond, or helping out a team member?
9. Have you been employed with your current (or most recent) employer more than two years?
10. Has your supervisor ever entrusted you with an important task s/he would normally handle?
If you scored 8 or above, congratulations, you are a reliable and trusted employee! If your score is under 8, you may have some work to do to increase your dependability and sustainability. Good employees are not people who show up just to get a paycheck, only do their job and meet the bare minimum standards. Employers want to invest in you (beyond just your pay) but they won't do this if you don't show loyalty and commitment.
Asking yourself these questions could help reveal some underlying causes as to why you are unable to stay put in a role for long. As an employer, I want to get my investment out of my hire, so a year's time feels almost wasted, especially if that hire is mediocre. I find comfort seeing resumes when employees have loyalty to a company, with progression in rank in that organization - that shows they've built strong relationships and delivered results.
It's easy to point the finger when we're unhappy with our work atmosphere, but sometimes we need to look inward before we classify the company (or the team) as toxic. It is very likely that if your history is consistently showing you change jobs like you change underwear, you are the common denominator an need to reevaluate your career goals and work ethic. It's a hard pill to swallow, but doing so will help you to become a better employee and a better person.