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Off the Record: Stop making excuses for why you’re leaving your job

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Every time someone finds out I’ve been working at this magazine for two years, their face starts to resemble the famous “not bad” Obama meme.

“You should get some sort of long service award,” one joked.

While I acknowledge my tenure with the magazine is not anything miraculous, I will admit I am a minority among my job hopping-crazed generation.

In the past month alone, I’ve received more emails than I can count with my fingers of people leaving their jobs – one of whom has just taken his third posting in two years and another who has moved roles twice this year alone.

This is not including those in my personal circle who have recently quit their jobs or have started emailing me for HR contacts as they go on the Great Job Hunt.

Off the top of my head, the more common reasons I’ve heard for them leaving their jobs are “It’s become boring”, “There’s too much stress” and my personal favourite: “I just didn’t like it anymore”.

Oh please, those are not reasons. Those are excuses.

I started working when I was 16 and I have never been under the impression that working life was a walk in the park. While I am a firm believer you should enjoy what you do, I’m not expecting things to be smooth sailing 24/7. Heck, I’d even go so far to say I don’t want a job that’s smooth sailing. Where’s the fun in that?

Job hopping isn’t something unique to a particular demographic or geography; it has almost become the working culture of today. I’ve met HR leaders and recruiters who no longer turn a cheek to CVs peppered with jobs that have lasted less than two years. Probably even less than one.

As you can probably tell by now, I don’t understand job hopping. I don’t get how someone can claim to have acquired all the skills they need in a particular role in a year or less. I’m still learning new HR terms and have just discovered tabs on my LinkedIn account I didn’t even know existed.

According to a study by Lloyds TSB insurance a few years back, the average attention span of a person has dropped from 12 minutes to just five over a decade – no thanks to technology for speeding everything up.

That being said, I can understand why it now takes a shorter period of time for someone to get bored with their day-to-day work routine. So there’s where you, as a leader or HR practitioner, come in.

One of the reasons I think I’ve barely considered moving into another role is because I get all the support and engagement I need here. I work on my own schedule, I have a creative say on the content we put out, and occasionally, a couple of my wild ideas get approved (remember the time I wanted my own talk show and my editors let me spend every Friday morning talking to a camera?).

That sort of accountability, freedom and dynamism have been more effective at keeping me rooted than tangible benefits.

It might also be good to keep in mind the end of the year is drawing close and people who don’t feel they’re gaining anything from their jobs are going to be starting to weigh up their options.

Therefore, employers who are still complaining about workers who can’t seem to stay put should perhaps review their engagement structure. It’s not going to be an easy feat and I don’t think it’s something an organisation can perfect overnight.

But in today’s landscape where the employment market favours the employees, you either go big or go home.

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