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Perpetual Job Changing Syndrome: Is the Grass Really Always Greener?

Whereas workers once aimed to stay with the same company for life, job-hopping and career-hopping have become the norm for millennials today. The average American now changes jobs four times by the age of 32, a LinkedIn study found. Workers in entertainment, the media, government and the non-profit sector change jobs most often, while most stable jobs are found in industries such as manufacturing, automotive and oil. Some career advisers such as Monster contributor Joe Issid are even advising the workers change jobs regularly in order to continue building skill sets, keep up with technology and promote continual career advancement. But having too many career options can also promote a “grass is always greener” syndrome, which makes it difficult to stay content in any one job. Here’s a look at some of the issues that can plague perpetual job hunters and some tips for how to find contentment in a job.

The Siren Song of Too Many Job Options

Internet tools such as job boards, LinkedIn and the Labor Department’s website give job seekers more resources than ever to research career paths, companies and job openings. Unfortunately, having so many options can make it easy to overlook ways of achieving greater job satisfaction with your current employer, as career management coach Barb Poole illustrates through case studies. For instance, Mel received an offer for a management position at another company and immediately accepted. But he soon found that he wasn’t satisfied with his new job because he was treated like the new kid on the block, he didn’t fit into the company culture and the pay increase wasn’t worth the headaches. He began to miss his old job, and upon reaching out to his former boss, he learned that a management position had opened up, and had he remained where he was, he would have been first in line for the promotion. Poole says she advises prospective job seekers to first consider how they might get what they want while staying where they are.

The Problem of Elusive Job Satisfaction

A pioneering study of career changers by researchers Adrian Chadi and Clemens Hetschko pinpointed one of the underlying problems with perpetual job change. The study found that changing employers voluntarily does tend to produce relatively high job satisfaction due to increases in earnings, a sense of empowerment and the appeal of a new environment. However, the contentedness these factors produce is a temporary feeling that soon wears off as the employee settles into the new routine and must eventually face their new job situation more objectively. Satisfaction with a new job declines sharply as time goes on. Eventually, the employee is back in the same position of needing to seek a new job to recreate the emotional high of a job change. This can promote a perpetual cycle of temporary short-term job satisfaction amid long-term career dissatisfaction.

Settling into a Satisfying Career Path

Staffing consultant Robin Reshwan echoes Poole’s advice to consider whether staying at your current job is an option before seeking a new position. She also recommends asking other questions before moving on. How do your current job and your prospective job compare in a detailed, head-to-head match-up> What will the long-tern impact of your short-term job change be? How will it affect your image? How will it affect other’s perception of you in your job network> This is important if you’re depending on future job referrals.

Carefully researching prospective employers to find the right company fit can also have a major impact on whether or not your career change is satisfying. For instance, Amway has a track record of delivering exceptional job opportunities to people all over the world with a wide variety of backgrounds. Identifying a company with strong career advancement potential can bring you the best of both worlds, with the opportunity for continual change in an upward direction and the chance to remain with a stable employer.

Bill Clark

Bill is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about culture and the arts, however will write about anything that piques his interest including business, travel and lifestyle. @BilboClark01