How Long Should I Stay at My First Job?

Nov. 9, 2018

It is exciting to get your first job after college to jumpstart your career in the right direction. You are still energetic with a lot of fresh ideas that will add to the success of the organization.

As time goes by, you may realize that probably that is not your dream job, or you simply hate your job. Another reason may be that you do not feel challenged in your area of expertise. Tough times may come, and you will question your position in that company. After a while, you may start asking yourself whether you should pursue other avenues in your career or stay and wait for a promotion. When is the best time to quit?

Why do you want to quit?

In this comprehensive article, we shall delve into giving you more insight on the reasons why it may be time to leave your first job and questions that you must ask yourself before taking that huge leap.

‘How long should I stay at my first job?’ This is quite a relative question because there is no particular time frame that you are meant to work in your first job. As an individual, you may have set your own short-term and long-term career goals that will guide you during your career. However, some factors that may affect your working period in a particular organization that will make you want to stay or quit.

One of the primary reasons that you should stay is for experience purposes in your line of work. Learn all you can during your employment period and gain relevant skills. It is essential since it will boost your resume when you are seeking other job opportunities.

How Long do Graduates Stay in Their First Job?

With the rising rates of unemployment, most graduates do not immediately land on their dream job. If you are a student straight out of college, you are now starting your life.

Your first job is a learning platform that will guide you in your career path. As much as there is no set rule on how long you should stay at your first job out of college, you need to keep an open mind.

Do not let yourself work in your first job until you are old and wrinkled. Throw your net outside and fish for more jobs, there are many opportunities waiting for you in the world where you can fully utilize your knowledge and skills. However, recruiters always recommend that you consider working for one year in your first job before leaving.

In many cases, you may find a part-time job after school. Do not despise humble beginnings; I would advise you to do it whole-heartedly. Nevertheless, if you want to know how long you should stay at your part-time job, you should continue looking for other jobs. The moment you get a stable full-time job, then, you can quit your first part-time job.

However, you may still ask yourself ‘how long should I stay at my first job after college?’ Since employment has several challenges, you may encounter some of them in your workplace. Some reasons may force you to quit regardless of whether you have worked for a short or long time.

Below are some of the reasons for leaving your first job:

  • Health

It is essential to take care of your health when you are working. Do not compromise your health for the sake of performance. Ensure that your wellbeing comes first because it is essential that your emotional, physical, and mental health is intact in any workplace. If your job is threatening your health, then, you should leave by all means.

  • You Do not Feel Challenged

Do you feel overwhelmed with routine? There are work routines that remain constant on a daily basis thus you may end up feeling unchallenged. Challenge is good because it helps you to think and find new ways of solving problems.

  • No growth

Career growth is critical in maximizing your potential in an organization. Thus, if you are working in a company that has little or no growth regarding promotion, then, you need to be open-minded in seeking other opportunities. Carry out a small survey and gather information on the longest-serving staff to gain a better perspective of the company’s growth

  • Hostile working environment

Is the environment ideal for employees? If you are working in a hostile environment with no organizational structure or a set culture meant for the staff, then you should consider leaving and start to seek other opportunities.

  • Inadequate Salary

Do you know your worth in your profession? It is important to survey on salaries in your industry to know how much your salary should be. If you feel you are underpaid, give yourself two years before you start seeking other options.

  • Unstable Employer

You may land your first job in a company that is undergoing a restructuring process due to mismanagement or strenuous budgetary allocations. If this is the case, chances of retrenchments are high, and most employees are likely to lose their jobs. So, to be safe, it is essential to continue applying for other positions. If you immediately land on another job, resign your current position and move ahead.

How long should you stay at a job without a promotion?

It is essential to find out the growth trends in the organization you are working. Most organizations have different policies when it comes to promotions.

As a young graduate, you need to focus on learning the ropes first before eyeing that promotion. Put in your best foot and work hard, you never know, your promotion may come earlier. However, it is recommended that you should stay for at least five years before you consider quitting because you did not get that promotion. Instead, concentrate on other constructive benefits that the company is offering, and the experience you will get in that position.

Do you wake up in the morning and you don’t want to go to work? You may be wondering ‘How long should I stay at my first job if I don't like it?’ A majority of people do not like their jobs because they are not passionate about it. It is quite normal; since the bills have to be paid you have to continue working. Therefore, if you don’t like your job, you should strive to look for other opportunities that are of interest to you. This will increase your chances of growing positively in your career instead of working in a frustrating job that you do not like.

Ultimately, if you decide to leave your first job before the one year limit, it is imperative that you leave with dignity. Do not burn your bridges because you might need to go back later in your career. Give your reasons gracefully and treat all your current colleagues and managers with respect. Also, you can approach your employer and thank him personally for giving you an opportunity to work despite the short period. This will go a long way in preventing resentment and hurt feelings.


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