How Long Do You Have to Stay at Your First Real Job?


Sometimes you start your first real job only to quickly realize it doesn’t meet your expectations. Maybe the work was misrepresented in some way, and you didn’t discover the discrepancy until you were in the position, or you thought the job was something you wanted to do, and later figured out it wasn’t.

While no job is perfect, and they all come with tasks you would probably prefer to avoid, sometimes the idea of sticking around is too much to bear. But, even with that, you don’t want to jump ship too soon only to face unintended penalties for that decision. So, before you kiss your first real job goodbye, here’s what you need to know.

Understand the Standard

Often, the unwritten rule regarding how long you should stay in a position is one year. This allows the company to recoup the cost of hiring you and demonstrates you are willing to stick with a job for a respectable period of time.

If you are working in your first real job, and have already crossed your one year anniversary with the business, you’re typically in the clear to look for a new position. Most employers won’t perceive you as a job hopper at this point, so the risk of repercussion is minimal.

However, there are situations where the standard doesn’t apply, such as those covered below.

You Haven’t Ended a Job “Early” Before

In most cases, a person can leave a job in less than a year if they haven’t done so previously. Since this is your first real job, it’s possible this applies to you.

A single instance of a quick exit isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm in the eyes of employers. At some point, almost everyone ends up in a position that isn’t the right fit, so finding a new opportunity before the year is up can be a smart move that many hiring managers will understand.

However, you will likely need to explain why you are looking for a way out so soon, so make sure you have a solid reason that doesn’t require you to badmouth your current employer. That way, you can answer questions with ease.

Mitigating Circumstances

There are also numerous situations where a short stint with an employer may be necessary. For example, if you have to move to another city unexpectedly, you might not have another choice. The same can be true when certain health issues arise for you or a family member.

Additionally, if your current position is putting your health or safety at risk, leaving may be necessary as a method for protecting yourself. Similarly, if you’re so miserable you can barely get through the day, getting out might be a requirement to protect your mental health.

In the end, trying to stay for a year is generally a smart move, but you can seek a new opportunity sooner at least once in your career without it necessarily being a big black mark on your resume.

If you’re interested in finding a new position, the professionals at The Advance Group can connect you with some of the leading employers in the area. Contact us to see what jobs are available in your field today.






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