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How Long Do You Really Need to Stay in a Job You Hate?

How Long Do You Really Need to Stay in a Job You Hate?

The pandemic has ushered in many changes in the world of work, from a push for remote work to the Great Resignation. Millions searched for more fulfilling roles and better work/life balance, work culture has undergone a shift like never before.

Another change that has come into play is work tenure. Let’s say you were hired into a position you don’t like almost immediately. The company culture differs from what you expected, or the work is less fulfilling than what they sold you in the interview. How long do you have to stay in a job you hate?

Before the pandemic, many career coaches and experts suggested that employees must stay in their current positions for at least a year, no matter the circumstances. Shorter tenures, experts told, meant that employees wouldn’t be worth the company’s while since they would move on when opportunity struck.

But that mentality has shifted. Rather than staying in a job you hate for the sake of your resume, it is becoming increasingly acceptable to quit after a shorter timeframe.

Here’s what you need to know about this shift in expectations.

Younger employees don’t see anything wrong with leaving a position they don’t like.

Earlier advice about staying in a position for at least a year is changing with younger workers. Millennial and Gen Z employees reported being more likely to quit a job if it didn’t turn out to be what they expected.

In a recent survey, 20 percent of these younger workers said they would quit a position within a month if it differed from what was advertised. At the same time, 41 percent would wait for two to six months, and 15 percent would stick it out for seven to 11 months.

“Just 24% would try to stick out a bad job for a year or more before moving on,” wrote Jennifer Liu of CNBC

This report indicates a shift in what job seekers would do in unfulfilling positions; at the same time, if and when individuals from these generations are in charge, they will likely be more accepting of short tenures on job applicants’ resumes, too.

Pandemic and post-pandemic job hunting might have contributed to job mismatches.

One of the reasons younger job hunters might be so willing to quit jobs they dislike is because of pandemic and post-pandemic hiring practices. A study of more than 2,500 participants found that 72 percent of Americans discovered a new position they’d accepted was very different from their expectations.

There are several reasons for this discrepancy. For instance, many job interviews are now performed online, giving candidates a less-clear picture of what they might expect working at an organization. They may not be able to get a real sense of their future boss or coworkers because it is more difficult to read and interpret body language over virtual platforms.

“It’s normal to feel nervous starting a new job, but it can be a big problem to be hired into a role with one set of responsibilities and then be expected to perform another or to join a company culture that turns out to be cliquey when you were sold on the idea of camaraderie,” explained Kathryn Minshew in Bloomberg.

Job-hopping — once seen as a red flag on resumes — has become more commonplace.

A job hopper stays in a series of positions for less than two years. In other words, their resume is riddled with short tenures in different roles. Employers used to see job hopping as a serious concern, but pandemic and post-pandemic realities changed this perception.

For instance, a single individual could have left a job they didn’t like, been laid off from another, and then sought out a third opportunity that was different from what was advertised.

Others intentionally job hop to find their ideal job situation.

“However, others purposefully use job-hopping as a means of finding their dream work situation. Opportunities may arise as the job market adjusts to changes such as an increase in remote work and redefined product needs,” said the Indeed Editorial Team.

As long as you can explain your work history to potential employers in your cover letter and interview, they aren’t likely to view your job-hopping as a reason not to hire you.

Staying in a Job You Hate

In today’s modern workplace, there is no reason to stay in a job you hate just for the sake of a resume. So, if you’re sure you want out of your role, there is no shame in immediately calling it quits or searching for a new position.

However, are you sure you want to quit? Change is hard for almost everyone. Some of your dissatisfaction might be because of the new environment or a single unfriendly coworker who stands out in your mind. In other words, you might need a more extended adjustment period to determine whether you like your job.

It would help if you considered changing your situation before throwing in the towel. Was there something the company promised you in the interview process that you need to get? Have you asked your boss for different types of projects? If you don’t try to improve the situation before quitting, you’re missing out on a valuable learning experience, not to mention the chance your work situation would improve.

If you’re sure you’re ready to leave, start preparing your exit plan by reading our article, “How to Survive a Bad Job and Get the Next One.”

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