Pros And Cons Of Leaving A Job Early
Submitted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine on Mon, 2017-05-15 17:10
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In a recent Forbes Leadership post, I covered a Payscale/ Millennial Branding survey which looked at workplace trends for Generation Y, including a finding that Generation Y favors leaving a job early.

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.

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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