How can I balance wanting to continually change jobs to advance my career with appearing to be disloyal and permanently dissatisfied?
If you can’t be with the job you love...love the job you’re with.*
You might be posing a false dilemma. The desire to advance career and achieve your potential is good. That normally requires moving up, taking on new challenges, and new jobs.
I would worry less about the appearance of disloyalty and dissatisfaction than the reality. Your loyalty to a job is not defined by a sentiment, but by faithfully fulfilling your employment contract. Are you loyal or not?
Your second concern about dissatisfaction can rub two ways. It can be healthy if it’s warranted and motivates you to grow and improve. It’s unhealthy if it’s your basic attitude. That will surely cause you to underperform in your job, under-live your life and underachieve your potential. So, is your dissatisfaction of the healthy or unhealthy type?
Consider how you can advance your career with some measure of stability. Frequent job-hopping doesn’t look good on a resume and gives a prospective employer pause. Is this candidate stable? What might be the reasons for short job stints? Will I get any long-term benefit if I hire?
You also might not be enhancing your career growth by bouncing around, as opposed to advancing within a given organization.
Finally, for a reality check, you might ask some of your former employers how they perceive you. Your dilemma might be a straw man, but it could be how others really view you. You deserve to know.
*Stephen Stills approves this message. Our Lord, on the other hand ...