My short attention span

Posted: June 3, 2011 in business, Life

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. […] them.  Little time for much else.  I was never good with balance.  That might explain my short attention span with them and why I stepped away for months, sometimes years at a time.  The need/desire to do […]

  2. Shilpan says:

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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!


  5. 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 thinks 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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!

  10. 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”!!!!!


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