Starting a new job should be an exciting time. You’re embarking on a new journey at a new place with people that you chose to work with.
However, not all jobs end up being as great as you expect them to be. And there are times when cracks emerge early after starting a new position.
If you’re in a place where you’re not so sure if your new job is the right fit, then you may be wondering how long you should give the new position a chance.
To that end, this article offers recommendations for how long you should stick with a new job and answers other common questions around that topic.
Let’s dive in.
How Long Do You Give a New Job A Chance?
The typical rule of thumb for minimum tenure is one year before leaving for a new position. However, I’d offer a bit of a unique perspective if you’re not enjoying your new job.
In my experience, the first 90 days at a new company are typically some of the best. During that period, you’re in learning and relationship building mode. You have little pressure and expectations and really are coming in to understand your role, the company’s products, the team, the culture, etc.
Additionally, during that early period, you often aren’t going to understand many of the challenges that the company has. Every company has problems, and you generally are blind to those in the beginning and so are viewing the company in the best possible light.
With all of that being the case, the first 90 days should feel like a honeymoon period. So, if you’re not enjoying that initial period, I would view it as a cause for concern.
My advice if you’re in that situation would be to leave very quickly or to stay for at least a year or two.
The worst thing that you can do is to stay for about six months, and then bail. That middle period of time would be frustrating for the company because they will have invested a significant amount of time and money into developing you. And it’s long enough for you where you probably do need to list the position on your resume. If not, it will look like a noticeable gap missing from your resume. Either way, it could be viewed as a red flag for future employers.
So, to directly answer the question of how long you should give a new job a chance, I would give it at least two – four weeks. From there, if you have some serious long term concerns about the fit of the role, be decisive and move on quickly (assuming that you have an alternative lined up). Alternatively, settle in for a while and stay for at least a year or two.
Assess If Your Dislike For Your New Job Is Only Temporary
A caveat that I’ll point out to the previous advice of leaving quickly or staying for at least a year is that, before deciding to make a quick move, you need to make sure that you understand the root cause of why you’re not enjoying your job.
If it’s a long term reason like realizing that your new boss is toxic, that the company culture is not a fit, or that the product is fundamentally flawed, those are good reasons to act swiftly.
However, there are some reasons that are only temporary and that you would probably be better off to push through. For example, if you’re not enjoying your job because you’re struggling to pick it up early on, that’s likely a reason to stick it out. There are often learning curves with new positions and leaving in the face of some immediately early struggles would likely be rash.
Is It Ok To Quit A Job You Just Started?
Yes, it is ok to quit a job that you just started. While it certainly isn’t ideal to have a quit a new job, at the end of the day, your work is a significant and extremely important part of your life. If it quickly becomes clear to you that you made the wrong decision by accepting the job offer that you did, then it’s reasonable to make a quick decision and move along to something that’s a better fit.
After all, it’s important to remember that circumstances change for companies as well and they often terminate employees shortly after they began. A recent example is the returning CEO of Flexport immediately rescinding dozens of accepted job offers.
So, while it should be avoided, it it ok to quit a job you just started if it becomes clear that it’s not the right position for you. However, try to make sure that you only do this in limited circumstances and don’t become a compulsive job quitter as it could negatively impact your reputation and make it more difficult to get new jobs.
How Long After Starting a Job Can You Look For a New One?
As previously mentioned, the typical rule of thumb is to remain at a job for at least a year before looking for a new one. However, my point of view on this is that if a new job is clearly not the right role for you, then it’s better to not be scared to quit your job, act decisively, and try to move on as quickly as you can, before the company has invested significant resources into training and developing you.
If you’re trying to assess how long to give a new job a chance, I would recommend at least two – four weeks to make an honest assessment. From there, if there are clear, long term red flags about your fit with the company, act decisively and make a move before the company invests too much in the way of time or resources.
However, make sure not to overreact to temporary growing pains. And if you do get through that initial period, try not to hop in the awkward middle ground of there being a healthy investment from the company and yourself that you likely will need to speak to or address in a resume or future interview.