Why Can't I Keep a Job? 7 Potential Answers (and Solutions)

Updated March 10, 2023

If you find yourself asking "Why can't I keep a job?" it might be the perfect opportunity to evaluate your past work performance. Having a steady career could be an important component of your present and future success if you have specific or long-term career goals. In this article, we examine seven potential reasons why you can't keep a job and discuss tips to address each one.

Related jobs on Indeed
Career Coach jobs
View more jobs on Indeed

Why can't I keep a job?

Here are few reasons why you may not be able to keep a job:

1. Having an unrealistic outlook on jobs

If you find yourself daydreaming about a different job, it can contribute to feeling strange instead of content at work. This is why it's important to have a realistic outlook on your career path. Every job has its perks and downsides, and when you evaluate your outlook using measurable parameters, like your salary or benefits package, you can gain insight into where to focus your energies. You might discover that your current job is worth pursuing or that it's time to look for a new position.

Here are a few tips to help you develop and reach your expectations:

  • Talk to your supervisor about new opportunities.

  • Ask for help when you need it.

  • Remember what you love about your job.

2. Pursuing jobs that don't match your qualifications

While looking for a job, you're likely to encounter positions with strict requirements. Being forthright on your resume and during an interview might reveal that you're not qualified for the position. If you focus your job search on roles you're unqualified for, finding a great career may take longer than you expect.

There are many steps you can take to help you attain the qualifications for your dream job:

  • Practice your interview skills.

  • Pursue education in your career field.

  • Base your career choice on your interests and passions.

  • Be selective with your job choices.

  • Work with a career coach to define your goals.

Read more: How To Introduce Yourself in an Interview

3. Not meeting the job's expectations

Different jobs will have different supervisory styles and expectations, but it's vital to work within your job parameters to meet or preferably exceed your expectations and goals. Meeting your goals on time, pursuing on-the-job training and working to maintain a positive mindset can add enjoyment to your workday and illustrate your commitment to your work.

Here are a few tips to help you achieve and exceed your expectations:

  • Cultivate a positive attitude.

  • Ask for and receive help from others.

  • Help others when you are given the opportunity.

Related: 10 Things You Can Do When You Hate Your New Job

4. Being chronically tardy to work

Any position you hold requires you to be on time and prepared for your workday. Taking long lunches or leaving early on a workday can affect your overall job performance. Being dependable and on time is a simple courtesy that can go a long way in performance reviews leading to promotions and pay raises. Using the following time-management skills can help you organize your workday:

  • Prioritize self-care. Getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated and getting exercise throughout the day can boost your ability to get up when your alarm clock dings.

  • Create a daily task list. Creating a list of your day's goals can help you prioritize your tasks, helping you feel in control instead of overwhelmed.

  • Maintain an organized workspace. Knowing that you will arrive at a clean, organized workspace is an excellent incentive to be on time.

  • Avoid procrastination: Instead of putting a task off, take action to complete it to try to alleviate stress on yourself. It can be helpful to break the task down into manageable segments.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition and Examples

5. Spending too much time on social media

While it is tempting to pull out your phone or open up social media on your work PC, it's not advisable for most positions. Spending your company's time perusing social media and the internet may distract you from work.

It's a good rule to separate your social life from your professional life, and this certainly includes what you share on social media. If you share information about your life on your personal social media sites, there's a great possibility that it'll be seen by your boss and coworkers. A few tips to help keep your personal and professional life separate, include:

  • Set your social media accounts to private.

  • Refrain from logging into those accounts on your work computer.

  • Be mindful of your coworkers' privacy when posting.

6. Lacking professionalism

Maintaining a professional persona at work is essential for a multitude of reasons. Professionalism is demonstrated by having a strong work ethic. A strong work ethic is illustrated in many ways, including punctuality, maintaining a collaborative spirit, meeting deadlines, staying on task throughout the workday and effectively communicating with your co-workers.

There are traits of professionalism that are vital to display and maintain during your workday:

  • Honesty and accountability: Being an employee that can be counted on is invaluable. This means reaching your goals, completing your work and accepting guidance. If you make a mistake, it's in your best interest to be honest about what led to it and listen to the feedback to ensure it doesn't keep happening.

  • A sense of integrity: This is an aspect of professionalism that will allow for career growth and an enjoyable work atmosphere. Try to be an employee who can be trusted to make smart choices, refrain from gossip and remain open to learning experiences.

  • Responsibility: Focusing on your work quality, practicing effective communication skills, delivering your work promptly and being trustworthy are all qualities that reflect your dedication to responsibility.

Read more: How To Empower Yourself and Others

7. Not working well with a team

Being a good team player is vital if you belong to a healthy, organized workplace. There may be projects or tasks that you must work with people to complete. Being a part of a collaborative project isn't always simple, but there are definite steps you can take to try and perform your role to the best of your ability:

  • Remain fully aware of your role and expectations.

  • Appreciate and welcome collaboration.

  • Remain flexible.

  • Stay committed to the deadline.

Related: 6 Qualities That Make a Great Team Player

Are you looking for a job now?

Why it's important to keep a job

Having steady employment can create financial, emotional and mental stability. Understanding what's important in the workplace for your well-being and capitalizing on your strengths are actions that can help you find a good job match.

Retaining employment at the same company until it makes sense to leave is important for several reasons, including:

  • Invaluable experience. On-the-job training and experience are invaluable and can lead to upward mobility.

  • You build a strong resume. Maintaining a position at the same company demonstrates reliability and a trustworthy nature.

  • Planning for your future. Starting and maintaining a retirement fund can provide for your future.

  • Creating strong business relationships. Networking with fellow employees can lead to new ventures.

  • You can create lifelong stability. Doing your job well can lead to favorable reviews, potential promotions and raises, all increasing your net worth and retirement fund.

Is this article helpful?
Explore your next job opportunity on IndeedFind jobs
Indeed Career Services
Indeed Resume
Get noticed by employers
Upload a resume file
Interview Practice
Practice interviewing with an expert career coach
Book a session
Resume Services
Get your resume reviewed or rewritten
Upgrade your resume
Resume Samples
Kick start your search with templates
Browse resume samples
Salary Calculator
See your personalized pay range
Get your estimate
Company Reviews
Access millions of company reviews
Find companies

Explore more articles

  • 10 Best Cities for Software Engineers
  • A Day in the Life of a Journalist (With Duties and FAQs)
  • 18 Jobs in the Aviation Industry
  • Pros and Cons of Being a Sports Medicine Specialist
  • How To Find Construction Jobs To Bid On for Free (With Tips)
  • 15 Highest-Paying Business Majors
  • Permanent Employment: Definition, Advantages and Differences From Other Employment Types
  • What Is a PhD? (With Pros and Cons of Earning One)
  • 14 Types of Engineering Careers To Explore (With Salaries)
  • 13 Careers in Insurance (With Job Duties and Salaries)
  • 19 Jobs That Pay $1,000 per Day
  • 10 of the Best Technical Degrees You Can Pursue