Recently a friend got the chance of a big promotion.  Although they weren’t 100% sure about the role, they dismissed this as the mind trying to talk her out of it, and so she took the opportunity. 

Unfortunately, they ended up being stretched thinly across the team, struggling to compete with the demands of several needy managers, and feeling overwhelmed within a month of starting, realised the role wasn’t for them… it had all been a terrible mistake. 

As the pressure continued to build up, they sought solice from a close colleague, explaining this unhappiness.  It was too much, too soon and she was thinking of applying for others jobs. 

The colleague responded with the tired old advice 

“You need to be in a role for a minimum of two years, before you should even start looking for your next job”  

This is terrible advice, and I’ll you why… 

How long should you work a job before moving on? 

When assessing how much time you should allow to pass before you start looking for the next role is a simple answer: 

If your new job is impacting you physically, mentally, and/or spiritually, and you have done everything you can to try and address this, then you should feel no obligation to endure working a set period of time before you start applying for jobs. 

Advice: Leaving a job in less than 2 years

This post is featured on Linky party #346

Economic Reasoning… 

I stopped feeling guilty about leaving a job when I came to the realisation that we are working in a free market, an open economy that allows you to move between jobs as you please. 

If you ever think of your situation in reverse, you’ve started a new job, are performing well, and what you’re doing, but your employer begins to struggle financially.  They would have no hesitation of letting you go to make a cost saving. 

The freedom of movement makes changing jobs easy – when you see that ‘ideal’ job pop up when you’ve just started a new role, you can move. 

The market is harsh both for the employer and employee, and you need to learn and respect the unwritten rules of a job market in a democratic economy creates, but also utilise this to your advantage. 

Impact on your CV 

A common fear is how a short stint in a role will look on a CV. 

An approach is to look at this logically – if this is the first time in your career you’ve worked less than a year in post, then I wouldn’t sweat how it appears, there are all sorts of reasons a person may work a short tenure. 

If you’ve worked for the same organisation for many years, but changed jobs internally this isn’t as bad because it shows you’re fitting into the company culture, you’ve just moved about a lot due to your skills being highly recognised in the form of promotions! 

There are simple ways of “cooking the books” on your CV, if you: 

  • Worked for the same organisation doing a similar job these can be combined into one. 
  • List your employment in years, not months. 
  • Leave off roles where you only worked a few months. 

For more tips on managing short stays in a job, check out this post: 7 Resume Tips For Job Hoppers 

If it’s a regular trend for you to work jobs for less than a year, then greater care might be needed so that is doesn’t look like you’re a professional job hopper, and you might even want to take a long look at yourself to understand why you keep moving, are you: 

  • Making bad choices? 
  • Have unrealistic expectations? 
  • Difficult to please? 
  • Just like the novelty of ‘new’. 
  • Undergoing feelings because of the change process
Image from Pexels: Time to update the CV?

Is loyalty a good thing? 

The reason “you need to serve X time…” is still a common trope in the workplace due to the traditional sense of loyalty between employer and employee. 

Attitudes on loyalty to your employer is certainly a generational thing – my dad worked in less roles throughout his whole career, my grandfather worked even less.  Current studies show that younger employees under the age of 30, think it’s more acceptable to switch your jobs frequently

It’s still open to debate whether loyalty to a company pays off, for the sake of working less than two years, you probably won’t be seen as a long-term employee, and arguably I would say if you are unhappy, it’s a good thing to jump ship before more time and investment gets put into your development. 

Sometimes I believe in the benefit of being “loyal enough” that is to do a enough time to make a good impression, but not stay too long to out stay your welcome.  I always like leaving when I’m on top so people remember all the good things I could do rather than be a burnt out long stander who really needs to leave. 

Moving jobs on a regular basis isn’t ideal for anyone 

My attitude might seem cavalier, but my attitude has always been to never “just put up with it” and live for the weekend/holidays, and ensure I’m doing something that gives me job satisfaction. 

Despite this I recognise that moving jobs on a regular basis isn’t ideal, honestly, it can be a pain in the arse and emotional drain to go through an annual process spending evenings and weekends seeking the next job. 

I’d much rather be focusing that energy on my family and focusing on other goals than doing an annual job hunt! 

Before I decide to change jobs, I always assess the pain I have to go through, such as: 

  • Is it the right time?  Do I have other pressing priorities I should focus on? 
  • Risk of changing jobs or moving to a new organisation? 
  • How much more do I get paid?  Will I see greater work benefits over longer term? 
  • How much notice period would I need to give? 
  • Would the notice period be pleasurable? 
  • How many colleagues do I quite like that I’d be leaving behind? 
  • Will I need to book leave to attend interviews? 

Is it Bad to Change Jobs Within 2 Years? Always look at whether the positives of changing a job out weigh the negatives of staying in the job you are doing.  For Impact on wellbeing, that is priceless… 

How long should you work a job before moving on?

Conclusion 

I disagree with any view that says you need to serve ‘x’ amount of years, before you start job hunting, because the only people who serve anytime are those doing a prison sentence. 

However, careful thought should be taken when deciding to move a job you’ve not being doing too long to avoid making any rash decisions, because sometimes you can end up doing something worse! 

Yes, when you get offered a new job, you get a warm glowy feeling, but when that moment dies down, and you start your new job it’s back to reality. 

When you reach that position where you decide you don’t want to do your job no longer make sure you do the following first: 

  • Question your motives. 
  • Think of the implications, such as how it will look on your CV, and think how you will manage this. 
  • Ensure you’ve done what you can to resolve the problems you’re experiencing 
  • Assess whether the pain of moving is worth it at the moment. 

Your life is your life, don’t let yourself get trapped into having to ‘endure’ anything, make the decision you need to make.

For further information I recommend checking out this video which explains why staying in a steady job might be bad for your career:

A Life After Layoff: Why a steady job is bad for your career?

Wishing you the best in your success.

James @Perfect Manifesto

<<read next: The Humble Person’s Guide to Hype and Self-Promotion>>

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12 thoughts on “Is it Bad to Change Jobs Within 2 Years?

  1. I was at my last job for 23 years, but back then, employees seemed to stay more with one employer, James. In fact, during my 35 years of working full time, I only moved jobs three times. These days, I think social media plays a big part in moving people between positions, and I agree with your points, especially that you don’t need to be in a job for ‘X amount of years before changing it. Goodness, if I was unhappy in a job and it affected my health, I’d have no hesitation in looking for a new job regardless of how long I’d been in the role. My health is far more important than any job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I’m in the camp of changing up your job every 5 years at the minimum, but appreciate for some (especially if its there ideal dream job) why they’d do it for life.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. On several points I agree with you.

    Don’t force yourself to continue to endure under unbearable pressure.

    The choice to change jobs before 2 years is very appropriate. If the pressure continues to damage. Including mental damage and so forth.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. thanks for the thoughtful post; you make a lot of good points as to what to consider before leaving a relatively new job. I’ve stayed in my job for 35 years, but as you note, that may be a generational thing…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s excellent- I think if I ever find a job that I love and don’t get bored with it over time (and it pays the bills) I’d happily stay in it until retirement.

      During those 35 years Jim has your job stayed pretty much the same or has there been radical changes as the organisation undergoes its own changes?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can imagine tech has played a big role, going from undergraduate degree to masters degree I saw small changes like handing my assignment to an office, to submitting it online (always a panic it was done right!)

        Liked by 1 person

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