How long should I stay in a job I don’t like?

If you’re a Gen Z that’s changed their job in the last two years, then you’re in good company –...

Andy Bristow
Andy Bristow
4 min read Reading Time
2 July 2023 Date Created

If you’re a Gen Z that’s changed their job in the last two years, then you’re in good company – it’s estimated that 72% of Gen Zers and 66% of millennials are contemplating a career change in the next 12 months, according to research by LinkedIn and CensusWide.

Regardless of your age, it’s understandable to be worried about how potential employers will review your application if you weren’t at the last place very long.

‘Shift shock’

That said, the majority of us – a whopping 75% – have experienced ‘shift shock’: that horrid realisation that you’ve not got what you signed up for. The question is: should you stay, or should you go?

The good news is that modern employers and recruiters are fully aware of the trend, and won’t judge you for it – with caveats, of course.

The bad news is, some employers will absolutely judge you, and some won’t even look at your CV, let alone hand you an interview. This is where it really pays to get to know a recruiter, who can get to know you as a person.

Reasons to jump ship

But back to the job at hand. Quitting after a short period – let’s say within a year – can feel like a risky move. But there are good reasons to move. 

These include a toxic work environment, bad management, or – quite simply – a better offer. If someone sought you out with an offer of better pay, better working conditions (i.e. flexible working) and interesting work – why would you stay?

Power to the employee

After all, employers are well within their rights to end a contract if an employee doesn’t pass probation, and some of these are quite lengthy these days, with three and six months being the norm. No-one questions the employer – there’s an imbalance of power here.

Tips for making the move

But, like always, there are caveats. If there’s a better offer out there, then you shouldn’t feel ashamed to jump ship. But, be honest when it comes to explaining your ‘reasons for leaving’ to the next potential employer. You’re an adult. Take responsibility. Be prepared to be scrutinised, but equally, make sure to carry out your due diligence before making the move. 

This is where a recruiter can help. Engaging with someone who knows their client inside out can provide the inside track on what it’s really like to work at the business – and even make suggestions on your behalf, such as a day with the company, before signing the contract, to help make your next move the right one.

Looking to make your move? Start the conversation