If you’ve changed jobs a LOT and struggle to stay in a job for more than 9 to 12 months, you’ve probably been called a ‘job hopper’ at least once in your life. Well, research by LinkedIn suggests that you’re in good company, with millennials reported to change jobs four times by the age of 32. As someone who changed, not just jobs, but entire careers five times by the age of 32, The Ambition Plan’s founder Lauretta Ihonor says that job hopping doesn’t always signal immaturity or an inability to commit, instead it can be a sign that something much bigger is brewing within you.

Why can’t I stay in a job for very long?

Do you go through jobs at a rapid rate, growing bored and dissatisfied once you’ve achieved the goals you set for yourself and the repetitive monotony sets in? Welcome to the club. Before I delve into why job hopping could signal a very bright future for you (if you channel the thing that’s driving your job hopping) I should point out that all job hoppers are not the same.

The job hoppers I refer to in this article are people who excel at their jobs, achieve big things in record time, but then leave due to an overwhelming need to find a new challenge. You want to work, but you want the work you do to be fulfilling and worth every single second you spend in the office.

Having been there and done that myself, and now spending a good chunk of my typical workday mentoring many women who job-hopped incessantly before figuring out what they wanted to do with their lives, I can assure you that an inability to settle in a job for long may signal that, like a small percentage of the general population, you’re not a big flake, you’re a multipotentialite.

What’s that?

The term multipotentiality was described by R.H. Fredrickson and co-authors in 1972 as “the ability to select and develop any number of career options because of a wide variety of interests, aptitudes, and abilities.”

And author Emilie Wapnick, who has a website that’s dedicated to all things multipotentiality, says “a multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life. Multipotentialites have no ‘one true calling’ the way specialists do. Being a multipotentialite is our destiny. We have many paths and we pursue all of them, either sequentially or simultaneously (or both).”

Did things just fall into place for you?

Let’s get even more specific. Are you:

  1. Naturally curious and love to learn
  2. Able to pick up new skills quickly
  3. Known for throwing yourself into a new interest with an amazing amount of energy and enthusiasm
  4. Also known for quickly growing bored once you’ve learned whatever you wanted to learn about that specific interest/topic
  5. Prone to moving on without finishing projects – starting a project and finding a solution to a problem is more important to you than actually implementing the solution and seeing it through to the very end

Then, you’re almost certainly a multipotentialite.

And despite what the majority of society will tell you, that’s not a bad thing at all. In fact, once you understand your basic needs as a multipotentialite, it becomes much easier to create a career that will work for you.

Top of the list is entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur, you need to be good at coming up with creative ideas, finding ways to monetise them and then taking that vision from idea to reality. Entrepreneurship is also a good career path for a multipotentialite because it provides an opportunity for continuous growth, learning and reinvention. Best yet is that there’s always the option of selling your company or bringing in a CEO to run it when you’ve taken it as far as you want to.

Multipotentialites may also find that today’s increasingly popular portfolio career is a perfect fit for them. Having multiple strings to your career bow provides a way to keep your various interests alive all at once and will most likely prevent boredom from setting in too quickly.

So, what do you think? Are you a multipotentialite and how do you feel about it? Let us know in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “The Real Reason You Can’t Stay in a Job For Very Long”

  1. Hi there, I am not 30 yet and since I finished my studies in 2012, I have been a translator, a town clerk, a technical support advisor, a data analyst, an account manager and I’ve just started a new job as a metadata specialist. Oh, and the plan is to launch my career coaching business in the coming months! I’ve learnt so much in each one of these roles, had great results and feedback, even some fun at times, but I never stayed too long… I believe I have now just found my purpose and entrepreneurship might be the right path for me, but let’s see what the future holds. Thank you so much for this article and for putting a name to what I think I am, a lucky multipotentialite. Love that. 🙌🏾

    1. Thanks Fatou! Isn’t it such a relief to discover this! I (Lauretta) had this same issue. For a long time I thought something was wrong because I always wanted more and always wanted a new challenge. Even after getting my dream job – there was always another dream to chase! Once you embrace multipotentiality, navigating your career becomes so much easier as you can play to your strengths!

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