Walk into any bar around town at happy hour and you’ll overhear more than one person complaining about work. Job dissatisfaction is pretty common and often people feel like they owe it to a company to suffer through a bad experience. A terrible manager, poor company culture, or even boredom make the work week difficult to get through. But how long should you have to wait a bad job out before you move on? The answer might surprise you.
According to a national survey of 11,000 job seekers conducted by Beyond, The Career Network, 46 percent of respondents said that six months to one year was an appropriate amount of time to “stick out” a job if it doesn’t make you happy. Today’s job seekers are impatient—and that’s okay.
One Short Stint Isn’t a Deal Breaker
A few decades ago, leaving a job after just a few years signaled disloyalty. Many people spent their entire working lives at one company, carefully worked their way up the corporate ladder, but times have changed. Professionals no longer feel they need to “pay their dues,” and instead will easily jump ship to get ahead in their career.
The reality is, one or even two short stints on your resume isn’t a deal breaker as long as you can explain why they’re there to recruiters and hiring managers. Maybe the role seemed like the perfect fit until you realized there’s no room for growth. Or maybe you accepted a job at a big-name company only to find the culture to be stiff. Either way, be ready to explain what you’ve learned. Future employers really only want to hear what you’re looking for in your next role, and even more importantly, what value you can bring to their company.
However, if you find yourself hopping through multiple jobs with the same experience, then you have to evaluate whether it is the companies you’ve worked for, the career you’ve chosen, or you as an employee that is the problem.
Your Well-Being is Top Priority
When people complain about their jobs, long hours, little sleep and stressful days usually top the list. What some don’t realize is that your work life doesn’t necessarily need to be this way. A career is meant to be fulfilling and meaningful. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be bumps along the way. A few stressful days here and there is just a fact of life, especially if you’re a new hire or carry a lot of responsibility in your role. Sometimes it takes a while to get used to a job. Be sure to give it at least six months. After you’re comfortable in your role, if your job is making you miserable more days than it makes you happy, it might be time to move on.
Bottom line—nothing is worth sacrificing your well-being, and as long as your basic needs are being met (food, shelter, clothing), it’s okay, and encouraged, to put your health and happiness before your current job.
Strategic Job Hopping Can Make You More Money
Today, professionals find that moving on to a new company can earn them a higher salary and better title quicker than waiting for a promotion at their current company. For instance, if you feel like you’re unlikely to see career growth at your current role after a year or two, it might be your best option to advance your career elsewhere. That said, you shouldn’t look for a new job every six months, especially if you’re only looking to make more money or climb the corporate ladder. Job hopping is still a red flag to recruiters, so be careful. Having a mix of jobs that you left quickly, as well as jobs that you stayed in longer, shows that when the fit is right you are loyal.
Things have changed since our parents held jobs. It’s rare to see someone spend their entire career in one place. Because of this cultural shift in what’s acceptable, it’s okay to leave a job because it’s not making you happy. Take some time to evaluate what it is about your current role that’s unpleasant and if you can’t change it, consider moving on. There is a job out there for you that will make you want to jump out of bed every morning, but you have to go out and find it.
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