If you are between the ages of 18-35, chances are you have hopped between different jobs at least once or twice in your life. According to an article in Forbes, millennials on average are sticking with their job for 13 months or more. I can tell you from my personal experience, my first job out of college lasted 21 months, and my shortest last 4 months. Every person will have different job opportunities and experiences, so it’s hard to truly gage the real average.
I will say this though: YOU SHOULD NEVER STAY IN A JOB THAT MAKES YOU UNHAPPY.
You should also never stay in a job that does not know you value, have opportunity for upward mobility, or respect your time or provide a work-life balance that is your version of “normal.”.
I have now been out of college for 5+ years and I can tell you that each job that I have had has taught me something different, but the overarching theme of my work history is that I am both resilient, and I’m always open for new challenges.
That is why you should give any job AT LEAST 3 months before you decide to start looking for a new one. The first three months are really the probationary period of your employment, and after the first 90 days, you will have settled into your job pretty nicely. Your responsibilities should all be laid out for you, policies and procedures are familiar, and you’re understanding and cognizant of the office culture.
If after 90 days you show up to work and realize that isn’t the place for you, that is totally OKAY. Not every job is going to be a perfect fit. We walk into job interviews all wide-eyed and ready for a new start, a new opportunity, and we sometimes are bait and switched. The job we think we are getting is not always the job we end up with.
While it is up to you to do your due diligence before you accept a job to find out about the company you’re working for (the same way your employer is finding out about you), you can never know how you are going to truly fit in at a job until you’re truly immersed in it. If you’re finding red flags (and I’m not talking about that the office is always cold, or your company doesn’t have casual Fridays) but real legitimate red flags like verbal and psychological abuse, lack of respect and empathy for co-workers, and a toxic work environment, start plotting an exit strategy.
Unfortunately, it is risky sometimes to look for a new job if you’ve accepted one so recently, but in my experience, I value my self-worth and what I have to offer, over settling for less. One strategy I have is that I always make sure that my LinkedIn profile is pristine and readily available for any and all potential recruiters and employers. You should ALWAYS be selling yourself. You and only you can sell yourself because you know what you want, and no one else can sell you as a worker or an employee.
If you’re not quite sure if you’re ready to exit your job quite yet, find solutions to the problems you’re encountering in your office. Are you feeling underutilized? Ask your supervisor for more responsibilities and show that you’re proactive. Is a co-worker being a total pain in the ass and absolutely making your work day miserable? Try and have a peaceful and constructive conversation with them. Let them know you feel with respect to the work environment, and if their behavior should persist, have a talk with a person in the Human Resources department.
The solutions to your problems can both heal the wounds you’re having or it can put a bandaid on the bleeding gash that is your job. No job is perfect, and it’s up to you to determine whether or not you are going to give it your all or phone it in until you find your exit plan.
I do recommend that if you are planning to leave your job, and relatively soon, always do the following:
- Make sure you leave without burning any bridges. You always want to ensure that when you leave a place of employment, albeit if it’s only a short amount of time, that you leave on a good note. You want your former boss to be a reference that you can rely on to give you a good reference. Most importantly, try not to be the office asshole who no one has a favorable word to say. That does not make you look good.
- Let your employer know with at least two weeks notice that you’re moving on. While some jobs may want you to start sooner than the normal two-weeks that is common courtesy, do your best to leave graciously and amenable. By going out of your way to give that two-weeks, you’re showing your former employer you’re not all that bad, and your new employer that you finish what you start.
- Finish any and all tasks that you started before your exit. It’s not polite to leave your former employer and co-workers with a heaping pile of unfinished work. It goes without saying that you should provide any and all notes or commentary on procedures and tasks you did routinely so the next person could transition right in.
All in all, your happiness and financial stability is up to you, but it’s okay if you want to leave your job. Trust me, there are plenty of other people who would gladly accept that position, especially in today’s economy. I do believe that when you’re leaving your job or planning on doing so, it should be for the right reasons, not superficial reasons. Know your worth, be respectful and define your goals so you don’t go from job to job.