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If I get a job but find I don't really like it, how long should I stay with the company before I can resign and move to a more favorable company? #CV23

I wonder if there is an accepted period of time that I should be with a company before I look for a new job. I don't want to look like I can't keep a job or like I'm unable to commit to a position. #CV23

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Subject: Career question for you

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Doc’s Answer

Rachel please understand the risks, quitting your job may bring you relief, but it will also likely create a blemish on your resume. Most employers will understand that it is inevitable you will make a mistake once or twice in the course of a long career, but if you are changing jobs every four months for no clear reason, that’s definitely a warning sign about your reliability as an employee. Make sure you develop thoughtful responses to the questions you'll be asked in future interviews about your short tenure at a job.

If the job really isn’t for you, there is no specific length of time you should stay with your new employer. Once you’ve made your decision, it’s essential to remain professional and follow the correct protocol.

Doc recommends the following next steps:

If you recognize that the problem isn't a temporary one, talk to your manager. Hiring and training new employees is costly for companies, so they naturally want to retain talented new hires for as long as they can. Approach them to have a candid conversation about what you don’t enjoy about the job. When you approach them, try to present solutions for how you could adapt your role to better fit your interests and skills. Perhaps with additional training and coaching, you would feel more comfortable and confident in your position, which would help you better enjoy your position. If not, your manager may even have a suggestion for where they could move you within the company to avoid losing you altogether.
Carefully consider your next step One reason it's important to have a timeline for getting acclimated to your position is that it ensures you consider your current position and what you would want in a future role very carefully. You don't want your eagerness to leave a job you don't like to lead you to accept another role that also isn't a good fit. By making the decision to stay in your current role and looking for ways to make the best of the experience, you could take your time with your job search until the right position presents itself. It’s important to also take time to consider what went wrong in your last search. This may help you avoid a similar situation in the future and allow you to find a job that you enjoy more. For example, you may want to ask a hiring manager more questions about the company culture and how the managers handle challenges.
Thank you comment icon Mr. Frick, thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I especially liked your comment about trying to present solutions for how I could adapt my role to better fit my interests and skills. So often I forget that there is flexibility in the jobs my training affords me, and that my role might be able to be tweaked into something closer to what I want. Thank you for that important reminder, as well as your other advice. Rachel
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Luke’s Answer

Good question and good responses here too. When I've asked this question, I've been told quite simply that changing jobs when you've been there less than 1 year is explainable if it happens once. If you keep changing jobs often then employers might start to wonder if you are the common denominator.

So don't have too much stress if you don't like your first job - but while you're still employed, take your time to look around and research jobs that you are more certain that you will like.
Thank you comment icon Thanks Mr. Garrett for your answer. I actually thought more than one job change in a short timeframe would look really bad. Perhaps one change might be able to be explained, so your response supported my thoughts. I think that my academic education did not prepare me for what the jobs in my field really demand of me, so I need to carefully consider how a job is presented when I apply and accept a position. Thank you again for helping me. Rachel
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J’s Answer

This is a really good question. I have been on interview committees where the concerns that you have mentioned were discussed.

There are several things to consider. Although not an exhaustive list, here are a few things to consider. I am not giving a time frame as to when one should leave, because this is a decision that the individual must make, and such decisions, in my opinion, should not be made based on person x stating that you should stay for three weeks, a month, three months or six months.

1. If you need the job to pay rent, bills, etc. quitting without something to go to may not be wise.
2. If the job is negatively impacting safety, one's physical and mental health than one may decide to leave sooner than later.
3. Sometimes, people do not consult their human resource office enough nor their immediate supervisor. Depending upon the relationship one has with their supervisor one could discuss their dissatisfaction with the job in a positive manner. For example: " I know I was hired to do A, B and C; however, I would like to try my hand at D. Is this a possibility? Here is how I see D working at this company." Another approach could be as follows " I have worked here for ___ months; I would like to have a discussion about X, Y and Z and how to improve operations within my job area."
4. Human resources: if dissatisfaction is due to harassment or any other unlawful activity then human resources, union representative, or the state labor office might be where one would need to go for advice.
5. If discussions and approaching individuals within the chain- of -command (this includes human resources) does not work and you are still miserable, then it is time to leave. Leaving can be a liberating experience; however, try not to burn down your house when you leave. Leave with integrity and respect.

Finally, some job applications will have a question that addresses why you left your previous job. I have seen people indicate the following:

"better opportunity"
'"enrolled in professional development opportunities to change career path"
"change in career path"

I hope this helps
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your quick and thoughtful response to my question. I found your recommendations very helpful, especially the suggestion about discussing my dissatisfaction by focusing on what I would like to do at the job (suggestion 3). I actually have not faced this situation as yet, but have some friends who left jobs after a very short time because they felt they could make more money elsewhere. I wondered if that would hurt them in the long run. Your suggestions of how to address why one left their previous job were therefore very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to help me as I begin my career in engineering. Rachel
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