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Pros and Cons of Leaving a Job Early  

 

Caroline Ceniza-Levine
Caroline Ceniza-Levine
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September 11, 2019 5:37 pm  

One of the survey results showed that Generation Y do not think they should stay at an employer for more than a year. The hiring managers I have worked with as a recruiter see a two-year stint as a minimum, so one year on the job is definitely leaving a job early. In fact, if you have a series of even two-year stints that’s seen as a stunted career. So who’s right?

There are pros and cons to leaving a job early.

You build a diverse body of work
If you have shorter tenures, you will work at more places, which does contribute diversity in roles, companies and industries. This is a good thing in today’s ever-changing market.

You diversify your income stream
If you work at more places, you build a vast network and are less encumbered if any one employer goes down. This is a great thing in today’s volatile economy.

You learn to navigate new environments
There is great skill in being able to adapt to a new environment quickly and make a contribution right away. If you work short stints at many places you have more opportunities to hone this adaptability skill.

You do not demonstrate staying power
However, leaving after a year begs the question about why you didn’t stay. Is it that you wouldn’t or that you could not? Many hiring managers believe that if you’re so good, your current employer will find ways to make you stay.

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You develop no track record of long-term results
A big reason to stay is to show an impact where you are. When you stay at a job for just a year more or less, how much impact can you show? It is hard to even meet a wide swath of stakeholders, much less develop the relationships that enable you to influence people and change behavior. Without tangible results, your work appears superficial and unimportant.

You have no track record across business conditions
If you are able to make an impact early in your first year, that’s a great achievement, but arguably still incomplete. Your results may be due to temporary market conditions luckily in your favor. When you stay at a job for just a year more or less, you do not show results across market ups and downs.

There are pros and cons to leaving a job early. What you prioritize depends on where you are in your career and the specific job at hand. What makes sense for one job may not make sense when considered over the arc of your career.

Have you ever left a job after just a year? Why did you do it? Would you make the same decision again?


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DX
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September 12, 2019 11:25 am  

Hi Caroline,

Good post.  And I have left jobs under 2 years, only at the year mark. 

A key reason, behind that has nothing to do with desire to leave early at all - the reality of today's world is that alot of early leaving is due to many external factors beyond the employee, and today, alot of it is due to rapid change caused by reorganizations, mergers/acquitions, and impending job losses.  And also in my case family need.

I think it is rarer today, you find people wanting to leave in a year. Some excpections will be a contractor who finds a permanant role in a year. Or someone, who within a year has markedly improved their value (compensation worth) linked to experience.    But in terms of proportion, at least in my sector, the Pharmaceutical Industry, alot of early departures is linked to external/environmental changes, precipitating the desire to leave and find other grounds.  Not what I think you're suggesting that people ACTUALLY want to leave in a year..I think that is a false assumption. If not, wrong.

You raise some good pros and cons, but it comes down to balance.  Too many one or 2 year stints is not a good thing. Sticking around a company for 4to 5 years in the same role can start to be negatively impacting in a world where change is happening much faster, hell stick around 9 to 10 years and that start to work agaisnt you and I know folks who are in the same compnay 17 years..or more...and well...externally, they're non-competitive useless folk. Thier CV goes into the garbage. We just did that to an applicant actually, person was 18 years in one company, found themslevs out of a job, applied to a position we posted, all of us in our team voted that person down because despite their experience, we didnt want someone who only knew 1 company.  You can imagine all the words we used..."too comfortable, not dynamic, can't manage change, will have a hard time fitting in to our organization, too entrenched in their ways probably, too political maybe".  And that's not even a phone call!  That's looking at a CV and deciding to dump it.   Our team, most of us are in our current role less than 2 years.   Sooooo....see the point?

So back to balance. 

I have not regreted leaving any job under 2 years, as I moved on to opportunity and yes I would make the same decision again.  Today, things move so fast that when you join a company, it could be that your'e considered a dinosaur of the team, ..in the first year!! This was the case in my last company (I stayed 4 years there), where I think it was 9 monhts in and I was referred to as dinosaur. We join with running starts - so what is suppose to be your 1 st year learning, 2nd year and beyond delivering, those time lines are now accelerated.  My current employer, 3 weeks learning if that, and deliver withing first 6 weeks, oh, and I should have delivered before I joined the company too (!! nearly kidding).    More recently, I"ve been referred to as an 'Old" and "tenured" and "most knowledgeable member of the team"...yeah...uh huh...1.5 years in.   yup.

So for me a PROs: learned alot fast (i.e. deliver NOW), I have gotten to see how other companys work, I"ve learned their practices, made them my own, and bring them to my new employer - this is why alot of company's hire externally these days!   Network - good point you raise, each company I meet a hand full of people that I carry in my network - it has help me weather change - its nice to be in a spot where I'm not to worried because I do have a network now that I can go to external to the company.  Track record, I disagree with you. Because we are moving so fast, there is no sticking with a job, sometimes as I've hinted to you above, the job does not stick with you, and that's actually more often the case ..actually its the vast proportion of the case.  In my last company I had 4 different jobs in 4 years. My job changed (to my benefit lucky me!, others..not so lucky, so got parked into roles they didn't like). 

CONS: stability. I didn't want to be jumping every 1.5 years or so, but that's the pace of change.  For example, in my last company, despite great experience, I had 8 line managers in 4 years (where I had them 4 different jobs).  My current job, new line manager in first 3 months. And a whole bunch of changes happening.   So stability has a new meaning which is, be competitive.  Other con, deep rooted relationships lacks.  Yes, here are a circle of trusted collagues in my immediate circle, say 2 or 3 people, but as my universe of people nears 80 people I engage with, well forget personal relationships. We are working on Project/Program based relationships, we don't even make time to say, hello how are you, this is who I am, its'...when is to due, what are you doing, what am I doing, by when, the budget is this, and I have so and so allocated to do this, that and the other by end of month etc.

Externally, I'm competitive but now I in my current job it IS about the tenure AND its about strengthing my CV by the tasks I do for my job.  I'm in a spot where I'm getting the best of the best, delivering for the company, nearly everything I do is strenthening my CV day by day, I have a track record, not only in the company but I do have an external facing role where my record is actually externally visiable vis a vis publications and a couple clnical trials i've been able to set up, disclosed on a public domain. Not too shabby for 1.5 years in.  So alot can be accomplished and is, it's today's world really... and don't worry a company can and will dump you after a year as well. So another side of the coin.

Happy to address any questions you have - as noted i'm in pharma so I give a pharma view.

DX


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Dave Jensen
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September 26, 2019 6:34 pm  

My thought is that while staying in a job has certainly shortened with the phenomenon that the OP brought up, it's not as bad as portrayed with people leaving after a year or so. You hear about this "generational" element all the time, and quite frankly I think those are overblown. If people like their job, and they see career progress, they'll stay. It's not so much about the company and the "rah rah" feeling of the mission as it used to be. It's much more focused now on the actual team that you surround yourself with. If that team is led well, and you like the people, and you can see your way "up" in the organization, the current generation or the older generation, they're happy.

 

Dave

Dave Jensen, Founder and Moderator
Bio Careers Forum


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zoeywilson141
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December 20, 2019 8:50 am  

I agree - if a person likes the work, team and management, they will stay. Frequently people also move because they are told that they will do better if they move. It's sad, but a perfectly happy-in-job person can start feeling uncertain about the whole thing, if they are frequently told that they can do better elsewhere.  


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DX
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December 26, 2019 11:47 pm  

Dave nails it on the head on the recipe for “retention”/ “staying”.

That said - today the recipe can be short lasting.  One may find a great team and great boss, great project and within that environ career development/progress - however in my most recent experiences my great teams last about 1 year.  Team members leave, (for varied reasons mostly due to members being on different stages of career/job needs, your more tenured colleagues are pursuing thier next step). Bosses change too, thier are also on thier paths, and political and organization can change (ie new senior leaders, project changes, job responsibility change) and so and so on.

Dave hits it right, it’s not about company rah rah and even in Pharma is so called mission can be quite “artificial” - i.e. Business Unit head says she or he can’t sleep until all patients in need get our treatment, and next day they resign for the next job and company.  

So today as I’ve noted in prior post development is a first and foremost an individual responsibility, satiafaction is also individual, and that could mean, a shorter tenure - OR a longer tenure provided all those ingredients are in the recipe Dave notes - on a background of constant change.

 

DX


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Dave Jensen
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December 27, 2019 4:31 pm  

Thanks DX.

I'd love to hear what the elements are of job satisfaction . . . to me, it's a feeling that I'm making an impact. I could be paid a very high hourly rate to sit and perform a task, but if that task didn't seem to fit into the mission and have an impact, it would be pure boredom and I'd last about a week. Give me something to do that is an element of a bigger picture, where people are counting on me and where I have team members who will take my work and make something out of it -- that's what would get me excited about my job. 

I'm in the older generation -- a "boomer." But my guess is that this element of job satisfaction is one that ALL will have in common. Please let me know if I am right. And what generation you're a part of . . . 

Dave Jensen, moderator

Dave Jensen, Founder and Moderator
Bio Careers Forum


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DX
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January 6, 2020 1:36 pm  

Hi Dave,

I like your view of impact - that's an definitely a key element.  For many of us, where that impact is and at the level of that impact, be it direct or indirect, and to whom and where can be very differentiated, yet indeed a driver of job satisfaction.

I would say my direct job impact, is to the teams I work on - I contribute to over arching objectives and looking at "objective hiarchary", then if I'm achieving those objectives, then certainly i'm making that impact. 

Another element around that impact is liking what you're doing.  If not loving or another word, passionate.  I would say you're an odd "boomer" if you are in the realm of "job satisfaction".  My parents are boomers (I'm a Gen X) and their mantra to me was you don't have to like it, just make sure it pays!   Well to that extent, both my parents never really loved what they did, one had mild interest, and yes they earned well, but that came with a price.  So to "like" a job and not suffer..that was nearly communist and/or un-American. Sarifice was a word they often said, I'm not sure for what.   

So back to job/career,  among the team environs, certainly feeling of impact and passion for what one is doing are key, so called "keep" factors for one staying a job.  Of course, within limits as it pertains to career development/career ambitions ofcourse.  As much as one can like a job, there comes a time when one should move on, and/or must move on until one is where one wishes to be. And even then, its there is always some form of development. 

So do we have it all in common as you suggest, Yes.  Do we all get to live it. No. Take my parents, for them it was, get the paycheck, provide for family, do the job, like it or not. They sucked up a lot and yes they gained and grew, but "in-job" happiness - no, that I can't say they ever had and sadly it spilled over to personal happiness. Yes we had a big house, nice cars, good life style - with a price though.  

And final thought, our interests as it pertains to where and how we wish to make an impact, and what we are passionate about can change over time - And well...it's why many of use nearing our mid-40's in corporate start the crisis of "what's next'.   I guess in non-corporate sectors too.

DX

 


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