Article Unemployed? In this economy? Brutal. Here’s why you can’t keep a job and how to emerge better from it. 0 2023 Life coaching Career coaching life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub

Why Can't I Keep a Job? Tips From a Coach


The only way to do great work is to love what you do. Steve Jobs Coaching Quote

They say that money can’t buy happiness. And yet, humans are seemingly inclined to measure contentment, joy, even self-worth based on how much they make. This is totally understandable, of course. We live in this day and age where contentment only lasts for as long as we have the latest gadgets or the trendiest clothes. 

Being materialistic is our way of rewarding ourselves for all the hard work and challenges we have to put up with at our jobs. 

So, when unforeseen unemployment happens, everything falls apart. At least, in our minds. There’s this intense feeling of the world ending. Panic and anxiety ensue. 

Your first instinct is to find a new job. But getting hired is not that easy. And after being in too many jobs or interviews already, there comes a point where you’ll just feel defeated. 

You’re getting desperate and will settle for any job just to keep the lights on at home. Sometimes, depression also enters the picture, and you start questioning everything. 

Why can’t I keep a job? Why is this happening to me? 

Getting out of the abyss can be challenging, especially when your confidence is shattered. But take it from a coach. It gets better. 

And that’s what we’ll be discussing for today’s article. 

Why Can't I Keep a Job?

Jumping from one job to another can mess up your mindset. It can make you question your career goals and what it is that you truly want. The following are the possible reasons why you can't keep a job:

There's no "I" in Team

Working with others is a requirement for most jobs. It usually takes several people to complete a project. For the result to be good, it is crucial that you know how to collaborate with your team.

Thriving at work involves your ability to work effectively with your co-workers. You'll need to add value to the dynamic of a group endeavor (Lencioni, 2016).

But this can prove difficult because of the following dysfunctions that teams commonly face:

  • Absence of Trust. Showing vulnerability in front of other people is never an easy thing to do. But fearing it too much impacts the trust-building process, considerably might I add, within your team.
  • Fearing Conflicts. Keeping the peace in your team is necessary. But make sure that it isn't at the expense of productive conflict. Pleasing everyone on your team will only make your project stagnant.
  • Lack of Commitment. When you can't commit to a unified decision, it prevents the whole team from sticking to what needs to be done to achieve success. 
  • Avoiding Accountability. Interpersonal discomfort among the members of a team is unavoidable. Wanting to avoid it altogether can prevent you and your teammates from holding each other accountable.
  • Inattention to Results. Your focus should be on the collaborative effort to reach a collective success. It shouldn't be about wanting all the credit for yourself. 

Almost is Never Enough 

Another probable reason you have the question, "why can't I keep a job" lurking around is your inability to meet the job's expectations.

That is why it's important to find work within your job parameters. This way, you get to deliver on what's expected of you. Maybe even exceed your own and your boss's expectations of you.

In addition, not meeting a job's expectations may also be due to stylistic differences. It would be best if you could adapt to the working environment you're in. If not, then there's a huge chance that you'll see your supervisors or boss being unreasonable with their demands.

There's also the issue of underperforming. Effort gaps occur when employees aren't getting work done. It can be through work that isn't done well enough to pass the company's standards. These gaps may be caused by a lack of motivation to do the work. Or it may also be due to the inability to prioritize what needs to be done.

Lack of Professionalism 

Professionalism is a person's attitude, behavior, and conduct in a work environment. But this does not necessarily mean you only need to show professionalism in those settings.

Being professional at work entails demonstrating a strong work ethic. But what does this mean exactly?

  • Being punctual, not just when you go in at work but also with your meetings and deadlines
  • Contributing to your team in achieving a particular goal
  • Striving toward collaborative success and not prioritizing individual credit (just putting it out there again)
  • Communicating effectively with your co-workers
  • Meeting company expectations and goals

There's also the case of showing discipline, integrity, and dedication to the work you are doing. But these should be a given already. 

Professionalism also involves following through on your commitments. You need to show up if you agree to cover for your co-worker's shift. You need to be reliable once you commit yourself to something and not go back on your word.

As a matter of fact, according to a study by Virginia Tech, professionalism and work ethic are considered the top and most essential competencies for workplace success. About 97.5% of the respondents said so.

most essential competencies for workplace success statistic

To help you develop professionalism in the workplace, here are some of the tips we've compiled for you:

  • Take the initiative to ask for more projects to be assigned to you. You wouldn't want to be doing the bare minimum.
  • Become an efficient problem-solver. There's no need to always ask for your supervisor's help or insight on something every step of the way. Try and figure out some of the details yourself. Seek guidance when you're at a dead end.
  • Avoid becoming too emotional when met with challenges and setbacks at work. Learn your triggers to be able to react appropriately.
  • Embrace feedback and constructive criticisms for your work. Doing so can help you grow and learn more. 
  • Collaborate and network with colleagues to establish professional relationships. Having cordial relations can help you work better with others.

Wrong Ticket and Train, Buddy 

Some people just know what it is that they want for a career. They even have the determination to do whatever it takes to get it. I’d like to think of them as the lucky ones.

Unfortunately, only some are absolutely certain about what they want from the get-go. Sometimes, it will take trying out several jobs before finding the one that fits. Ever thought that this might be the answer to the question, “why can’t I keep a job?”

It helps when the career path you’re going for is the one you studied for in college. This makes it easier to find the job you’d be qualified for and love. But this isn’t always the case. There are still times that you’d want to divert from your college degree and go for something you’re passionate about.

Furthermore, it isn’t uncommon for you to encounter positions with strict and specific requirements to be hired. It is, therefore, important that you are honest with what you put in your resume and during interviews. Fixating on jobs that you know you aren’t qualified for can make your unemployment longer.

It would help to consider the following in order to find the most suitable career path for you:

  • Pursue a job that aligns with your education
  • Or one that is based on your interests and passions
  • Enlist the help of a career coach

Remember, it is also equally important to evaluate your potential employer just as they evaluate you. Take Harvard Business Review’s word for it. Finding the one, aka your dream job, is also a matter of taking the time to get to know what the role entails. Alongside this is the knowledge of whether the organization aligns with your values and career goals.

Through the Eyes of Employers

Not to negate what we just discussed, but…a total of 97% of employers will pick candidates with the right mindset over those with the exact skill set required.

the edge of candidates with right mindset statistic

They believe that mindset trumps skill sets overall. It is what they seek in their employees, and it’s what retains people in their employ (Reed & Stoltz, 2011).

Okay, so your mindset plays a significant role in your employment. But combining it with the skills will make you a star employee.

Seeing through Rose-Colored Glasses

Every job position offers certain perks. These advantages may include higher income, more paid leaves provided, and better benefits. Who can say no with these offers on the table, right?  

So you jumped the gun and accepted the job without taking the time to consider everything. Fast forward to now. You’re on the verge of quitting if you haven’t already. And thoughts like “why can’t I keep a job?” plagues you every waking moment.

There’s only one person to blame here, and that’s you. You turned a blind eye after hearing all the perks you will be receiving. 

But along with that salary are the endless overtime, immense workload, and the implacable boss. Add to that the fact that your professional growth has plateaued out and is just waiting for its downfall.

You didn’t know that you were signing up for any of these because you said yes in a flick of a finger. Initially, you thought that, hey, it pays well. So maybe the working environment is held to a high standard. But this couldn’t be far from the truth.

9 to 5, What a Way to Make a Livin'

Sing it, Dolly Parton! And what a way it is, indeed. It's the traditional mode of making an income and paying the bills. Some would even argue that it is more stable than modern jobs.

But as the rest of the song goes, It's enough to drive you crazy. And it will. It might have already if you're on the couch asking, "why can't I keep a job?"

While most people enjoy a 9 to 5 job, it just isn't for everyone. It might not be for you if you've been through several of them already and didn't find happiness in any of them.

Just take the effect of the pandemic — The Great Resignation. It took a life-threatening disease for people to realize that it isn't worth it to stay in jobs they don't love. Who would want to continue with a career that met its dead end and no longer offer growth or a future? 

I wouldn't! And neither should you.

The pandemic unlocked new career opportunities that many of us would never think possible. Remote work is widespread now. You get to have flexible working hours doing the thing that gives you purpose anywhere in the world. A far cry from the hecticness and limitedness of a typical 9 to 5 job.

According to Forbes, people work best if they are given control over their schedules. Not to mention, they are happier and can easily organize their days based on other aspects of their lives. A better balance between your life and work, if you ask me.

Where's the Passion? 

Did you know that about 87.7 percent of the American workforce is not able to bring out their full potential because of their lack of passion for their work? It's difficult to force yourself to do something when your heart's not in it. 

how lack of passion affects work statistic

What's the purpose even? To put food on the table?

There will come a time when this won't be enough. It will be torturous to subject yourself to the same old work routine until you're gray. How masochistic of you!

And you still ask the question: why can't I keep a job? Maybe it's time to diverge from the norm. Perhaps you being unable to keep a job is the sign to start turning what you're passionate about into your profession.

It's your passion. You're bound to excel at it naturally. 

Still, it is important for you to distinguish a hobby from a passion. A mere hobby may be enjoyable for some time, but you can't guarantee that it will still be a year from now. Your passion, on the other hand, can bring you both satisfaction and financial aid – in the long-term.

In addition, it's also important to note the demand for your skills. You're looking at a risky business if there are insufficient buyers or too many competitors. 

Don't let this stop you, though. Have faith in your passion. Nothing worth it ever comes easy, after all.


This is Far from the End


If there’s one word that can sum up the turmoil of emotions and thoughts that follow after a job loss, then that’s it.

One moment you have a stable source of income. Next thing you know, you’re panicking about how (on earth) you’ll make ends meet.


It may seem like the end, but, trust me, it’s far from it. The shock will pass. The anguish will subside. 

Why don’t we start your healing with the following:

  • Self-compassion: We both know this isn’t on top of your list. Yes, it has been tough. It doesn’t mean that you should be hard on yourself as well. Be gentle instead, and practice self-compassion. This includes attending to all your needs – physical, emotional, and mental.

Consider the SCARF model. The model states that losing a job violates human social dimensions: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness.

With all of those affected, it’s acceptable (and fairly reasonable) to grieve. That includes doing what you can to heal. It’s commonly known as self-love, you know ;)

  • Expressive Writing: There are too many emotions surrounding job loss that talking about it can seem daunting. You don’t have to if you don’t want to. There’s always writing to help you process what you’re going through. 

Research even shows how unemployed professionals who write about their job loss get re-employed more quickly. Through writing, you can find the motivation to seek new employment (Buhrfeind et al., 1994)

  • Beyond your Control: Let go of the things you can’t control. It would be pointless not to. 

Welcome the change and reflect on the positives. Acknowledging that this is happening with an optimistic mindset in place can help you move from an emotional state to a problem-solving one. If you want help with this, you can always check out career coaching.

It can be a Good Thing, You Know

Where does one start after a job loss? Is there even a silver lining?

It may not be apparent, but losing a job can make you a stronger candidate for other positions. Hiring managers want to see candidates that know how to handle failure. They prefer those that have experienced it firsthand and come out of it stronger. 

It’s like pain tolerance. Seeing past the failure and moving forward to better things. 

Are you the type of person that can endure and handle a setback? Because this says a lot about your character and, therefore, how you’ll be a part of an organization.

The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one. Oscar Wilde Coaching Quote 

Keeping the Job 

Why can’t I keep a job, you ask? Well, here’s how you can:

  • Wear the right attitude. That means coming to work with respect for your co-workers, commitment to your responsibilities, and innovative ideas to ensure company success. Leave the negativities behind.
  • Be bold. And by this, make sure that your boss knows you and what you can contribute to the company. Being invisible won’t get you anywhere. The same goes for being a kiss-ass. Find the middle ground and work from there.
  • Traffic is not an excuse. As much as you can, come to work early to avoid being late. And whenever you can, render overtime to finish the tasks of the day.
  • Show you’re flexible. It is unavoidable to work on the weekends, especially when the company has a deadline. Offering to come in during those days and help out shows that you can adapt when the unexpected happens.
  • Keep it up-to-date and current. Your skills, that is. Aside from your responsibilities, it’s also important that you improve your knowledge and skills. This is especially true if you’re eyeing a higher position or looking for reassignment to another department.


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The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, recommended treatments, or professional advice. Readers should consult with a licensed professional to get advice for their individual situation. See the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for more information. Copyright Life Coach Hub Ltd 2016. A community of life coaches dedicated to improving your life.
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