My short attention span

Now that I’ll probably never have a full-time job again I’ve finally figured out something.  I’m good for about four years.

I just quit my job.  Best boss I’ve ever had.  Great properties.  Wonderful team.  Fine industry.  Customers who were friends.  My boss said, “You may not believe it now, but in a couple of months you’ll be missing this.”

“I’m already missing it,” I said.

But at 6.5 years, I was 2.5-years over my limit.

For my first “professional” job out of college I started an ad agency with my copywriter sister and her art director husband.  I was an English major.  No one else would hire me.   I was the Account Executive.  I didn’t know what that was (English Major, remember?), but it was on my freshly minted business card.

Not surprisingly, the agency failed after two years.  (What’s surprising is we lasted two years!)  So it doesn’t count.

The next job was selling ad space.  4-years.

The job after that was selling ad space.  Again, 4-years.  Then they made me publisher.  That lasted for 7-years.  But the last three I was out of my head with boredom.

I quit for a complete career change.  That job lasted just shy of a year and ended with my boss and me screaming at each other.  Looking at just the work, another three years would have been perfect.  So that doesn’t count.

From there I set out to buy a company.  That failed but morphed into a speaking and consulting practice.  Total time:  5 years.  But it was really two jobs and I still had steam left.

But then a consulting prospect hired me to be a publisher again.

One spring day, two days back from a vacation, I found myself telling him it was time for me to move on.  I hadn’t planned to quit that day and nothing particular happened.  It just seemed time.  Looking back, it had been 4-years.

We took the summer off and wandered around Canada making it up to Hudson Bay.  In the Fall I joined the company that moved me to New Hampshire.  I was a Group Publisher for some technology magazines.  It was 1999.  Couple of years later the tech bubble burst and a couple of planes slammed into the World Trade Center Towers.  By 2002 I was on the street.

 Didn’t make four years on that one either, but would have liked to.

The next three years I was unemployed.  Or retired.  Or something.  I just know job hunting is not in my skill set.

Finally, a colleague from the past hired me into the job I just left.  And now I’ve hurled myself back into the abyss.

In the unlikely event that you or somebody you know should hire me, remember I’m good for 4-years.  If I haven’t left on my own by then you’ll want to push me out. 

Thanks in advance.

Care to comment?  Just click on the circle on the top right of the post.

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  1. R. Nardi
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink


    Fix the typo in this post. “I just quit my job. Best boss I’ve ever head.” – I’m sure you are not giving your boss “head”!!!!!


    • Posted June 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      thanks for the ‘head’s up. I appriciate it. so does my former boss….

  2. Perry Clark
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Your 4 and out rule is a good one. I have found since leaving Penton that 3 years is about right:
    3 years consulting gigs
    3 years Reed Elsevier
    3 years John Carroll University
    3 years Kent State University

    Currently at University Hospitals. Really enjoyed all of the above and never missed good old Penton for a day!

  3. Posted June 6, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Nice blog-
    What does blog stand for?
    If you’ve only been working for 6.5 years, how old are you – 24?
    Everyone’s a lobo – “whoof, whoof, whoof!”
    Fritz in New Mexico

    • Posted June 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      how should I know? I barely figured out how to get it up. the blog, that is.

      yep. 24. that’s it.

  4. Gloria Adams
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink


    So………..what you going to do now???

    Wish I had the guts to change jobs so easily. I’m still doing the Nashua-Tulsa routine. Need to get together for lunch sometime

    • Posted June 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Hi Gloria,

      not sure it’s guts. maybe just a lack of common sense? :)

      Great to see you posting here and thanks for subscribing!

      As to what I’m going to do check out:

      lunch for sure. I shoot you an email and we’ll pick a day.

  5. Randy Jeter
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Jim Collins retires from paid job in publishing. Goes back into publishing for free with a blog…… There goes the neighborhood.

    Wait, I just read your blogs. You missed your calling!!

    • Posted June 6, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Hey Randy…

      trust me to turn a paid gig into no money…

      glad you enjoyed the bog so far. guess I was just slow finding my ‘calling”

      good to see you here!

  6. Posted June 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    From: Pat Reynolds [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 10:26 AM
    To: Collins, James; Jim
    Subject: Re: Moving on


    I received your “departure” email while I was in the Far East. At first I couldn’t believe it was true. Then I got your blog.

    My early career was similar to yours. I worked for 4 companies for 5 years each (20 years). Then I started PoolPak. Finally found someone I could work for. That was 25 years ago. Maybe it’s time for you to start your own company. Then you will be a king that eats rice and beans; and likes them.

    You were/are a class act. I aways knew why you were successful. I’ll miss our get togethers with Bob Gregis and Rod Beever.

    I’ll miss seeing you.

    Have fun doing whatever you’re doing.


    • Posted June 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      starting/buying a company are both things I tried and failed at. (Mmmm. new post idea: stuff I’ve failed at)

      but I agree, for guys like you who can make it work it’s the best solution. not easy, though.

      Thanks for the kind words. back attacha!

  7. Liz Stott
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    This is great Jim – a great read. Very funny, dry, edgy – I love it. I can see you’ll be distracting me with your rants!! Very engaging!

    Good luck – and I look forward to reading more. I’ll keep you in my Favorites!


    • Posted June 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Hi praise indeed, Liz…


      Now I’ll have to try to keep it up. Ah, man. the pressure!!

  8. Nichole Stough
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Great blog, Jim! I always wanted to write a blog but didn’t think anyone would be interested in reading my mundane rants ;)!Your blog is great – funny, smart and full of practical tips and information. Who best to give advice other then someone who’s lived it?! Thanks for including me…I look forward to reading more!

    • Posted June 7, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Wow, thanks Nichole. Great to see you here. You can rant to your heart’s content here! Maybe even a guest post?

  9. Posted March 28, 2012 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Great read Jim. You know art of funny yet engaging articles.

    • Posted March 28, 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Thank you, my friend. High praise indeed coming from one of my favorite bloggers.

  10. Talita
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    So we should get ready to say goodbye to the blog in 2015? :(

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted April 12, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink


      I hadn’t thought about that…

      Welcome Talita!

  11. Mark A.
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Hello Jim, What a relief! I’ve had a bunch of jobs in my field of fundraising for colleges and conservation groups. I get the first twinge of “been there done that” as soon as the first yearly cycle completes. By the end of year two, if I haven’t quit (twice) or been canned (once), I feel like an old timer. In year three I am talking to the head hunters who call. If I stay six years I either have grown to dislike my boss and others I need to work with, which is bad and I quit (once), or am staying for the money, also bad considering my goal of doing good in the world through nonprofit work, and get canned when the organization inevitably changes leadership (once). I’ve felt some guilt about this pattern but your post is literally the first thing I’ve read in 25 years of working that tackles this very real boredom phenomenon head on and honestly. What a relief! Like Perry above, my attention span must be three years. Cheers, Mark

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted January 31, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      We’re not alone, Mark.

      The odd ones out perhaps, but not completely alone. :)

  12. Posted February 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jim,
    This article made me very happy bud! I have lasted between 2-4 years at each job I’ve had since grad school, owned a fitness franchise for 4.5 years, and I have learned a ton. I’ve been pretty good at most of them, but always find myself wanting to try new things, and I am constantly pulled toward entrepreneurial exploits. My last job was in automotive, I learned a ton about digital and social media marketing, and then started my own consulting company last month…I’m very glad to see you did this too. Thanks for your inspiration :) Great work here!

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted February 5, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Hey Josh…

      Very glad to hear it and to see this old post getting some new life. It is one of my favorites!

      If you haven’t already, you might enjoy reading How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne.

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