Pros and Cons of Leaving a Job Early  


Caroline Ceniza-Levine
Caroline Ceniza-Levine
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Joined: 4 years ago
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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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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, 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.


Dave Jensen
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Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 910
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.



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