Survey of Six Figure Earners Shows Why Focus Is Important

by Don Smith

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I've looked at many resumes over the years, and for many people, it would be easier to name what they haven't done than what they have done. Know where those resumes end up when they cross my desk?

They end up in the circular file.

Resumes in the trash can
The Circular File
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Including too many positions on your resume is one of the more common mistakes I see when reviewing applications. If you were washing dishes for your aunt on the side and you're interviewing for a technical position, it is probably best to leave that off your resume unless it leaves a sizeable unexplainable gap.

FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Successful

Changing jobs all the time, in general, is not a great idea if your goal is to build a successful career. Employers do not want to hire someone who has changed jobs every three months because they want you to stick around after they dump truckloads of cash into training.

Employers want to know that you will stick around once they hire you.

That's why employers usually ask why you left your last job during interviews, and it's also why a popular resume screening rule of thumb is no more than three jobs in five years. If someone is changing jobs more often than that, they're a flight risk.

Survey of People Making Six Figures

I did a survey a while back on people who make at least $100,000. I asked how long they had been with their current company, and 201 out of 331 (61%) respondents stated they had been there at least five years.


It pays to stick with something for at least a few years before deciding whether to stay or move on.

Survey Results of People Making at Least Six Figurs

When to Change Course

Interestingly enough, 87 (26%) of the respondents reported that they had been at their company for two or fewer years, so the rule of getting into one job and sticking it out for a lifetime is not hard and fast. I wouldn't recommend continuing to flip burgers for the rest of your life if you want to make some serious cash.

It makes sense to change courses if you hate what you do, are not yet on a professional career path, or can get offers making double your salary as some of these people did when they decided to change.

Many of the respondents said that they had changed jobs several times before finding their current position. That's pretty easy to do when you're young; employers expect a high school kid to have several odd jobs, and if the job you're interviewing for is waiting tables, they aren't usually too picky.

As you get older and into a professional career, though, it gets looked down on more and more because it looks like a pattern. Don't change jobs or careers every time the wind blows if you want to be successful. But don't be afraid to make a change if you have been doing the same thing for ten years and are miserable either.

My suggestion?

Pick a course and stick with it. If you hate your decision after a few years or it is evident that your pay is stagnant and you're having trouble paying the bills, try something else. Whatever you do, don't spend your time looking through jobs all day rather than doing your work if you expect to get that raise.

About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

  1. Don this post is timely. I swear; just reading the title the other day clued me in. I needed to focus just a little bit more and only do a few set things daily. Less time on social. More time promoting my eBooks, courses, guest posting and genuine blog commenting. Plus I need to get back to fast typing again; I have the skills, so may as well use them, and cut down on all the time I spend in front of a laptop daily.

    1. Generally I’ve found the old 80/20 rule applies on those types of things Ryan. 20% of our activities produce 80% of our results. The trick is to figure out what those activities are and focus on them.

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