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 says


    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”!!!!!


  2. Perry Clark says

    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. New Mexico Lobo says

    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

  4. Gloria Adams says


    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

  5. Randy Jeter says

    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!!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      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. Pat Reynolds says

    From: Pat Reynolds []
    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.


    • jlcollinsnh says

      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 says

    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!


  8. Nichole Stough says

    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!

  9. Mark A. says

    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

  10. Josh says

    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 says

      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.

  11. Ali Beshara says

    Thanks a lot Jim for the article ..

    I wounder if you are still interested in the blog anymore 🙂

    I am in a similar situation .. but currently spent just over 6 years in the same job .. ( well.. jumped to another employer for 5 months and came back 😉 )

    just wanted to ask ..

    Is what we are going through a medical condition or a psycological or whatever ?

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Ali…

      So far, I am.

      The blog just had its fifth birthday and I still find it engaging. I think my upcoming book helps. 🙂

      This being my own creation gives it more legs than a regular job.

      That said, ask me next year. 🙂 🙂

  12. @kindoflost says

    I left a 7-year job a year ago. The first two were the best, the last three were hell.
    I just started reading your blog, heard great things about it on other blogs, you’ve been on it for 5 years now, so this must not be a job for you. Good deal!

  13. Ingrid Alwina Masalamate says

    Hello Sir/Madam,

    Hope My email finds you well.

    I’m Ingrid from Maxima Creative Agency.
    We are the Literature Agency base in Indonesia.
    Our Vietnamese publishers have very Interested in this title below:

    The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life
    • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (June 18, 2016)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1533667926
    • ISBN-13: 978-1533667922

    Could you please let me know if you handle the Vietnamese rights for this title.

    As your information that We are a sub-agent of few publishers such as Hodder & Stoughton, Allen & Unwin, Penguin Group, Thomas Nelson, Career press, Crown Publishing, Perseus Books, Kensington, Random House, Shambhala Publication and etc.
    And agencies such as William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, Inkwel Management, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, HarperCollins, Anderson Literary Management, David Black, Diana Finch, Jean V. Naggar, The Axelrod agency, Writers House and etc.
    We have sold more than 2700 titles for Fiction, Non Fiction and Children titles.
    You can see some of titles that we have represent.
    Fiction : Penguin USA (The Fault in Our Stars), Writers House ( Nora Robert and J.D Robb’s Work : Bed Of Roses, Vision In White, Savour The Moment, Reunion In Death, Seduction In Death, Imitation In Death, etc.) Harpercollins Publisher (USA) Johanna Lindsey’s Work : Say You Love Me, All I Need is You, The magic Of You, etc). The Axelrod (Julia Quinn’s Title). William Morris endeavor Entertainment ( Lisa Kleypas’s Titles etc).
    Non Fiction : Chicken Shop Titles, The Crown (Nick Vujicic Titles), Perseus Books (Brain Rules by John Medina, 29 Gifts by Cami Walker, etc), NewMarket Press (The new Totally Awesome Money book for Kids, What’s Happening to My Body, Chasing Miracles Ready, Set, Grow ! and etc), Levine Greenberg ( China’s Megatrend by John & Doris Naisbitt, etc), Thomas Nelson ( John C Maxwell’s Work : The winning Attitude, Life @ Work, Failing Forward, etc).
    Children : Random House Australia ( The Floods Series by Colin Thompson, etc), Scholastic Canada (Robert Munsch’s titles, etc).
    Looking forward to hearing from you and thank you for your kind cooperation in advance.

    Have a nice day.

    Best wishes,


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