How Soon Is Too Soon To Switch Jobs?

Q. I know that there are previous forums regarding job changes, and the negative effects long time. However, when is it too soon to switch jobs?

I recently graduated in June of 2012, and started working as a Research Coordinator at a prestigious University. I was one of the few to receive a job offer prior to graduation, and I was very grateful for that. However, now that I am here, I realize that scientific research isn’t my passion. I like business, and business administration. I know I want to be in management (I just do not know what industry, specialization, or field of management). I am starting to get used to healthcare, but I’m not sure if that’s what I want either.

Anyways, due to a pretty good resume and education background, I have been approached by 5 or 6 different firms or recruiters since I started here. Recently, one specific position really caught my eye. I am not sure if I should go for it. My current job offers a great work/life balance, which I intend to take advantage of and study for my GMAT. I have a lot of goals, and a loose idea of how to get there.

The new position may be exactly the industry or field I am interested in (though I can’t say that for sure) but may not offer me the work/life balance for the GMAT.

A. Sounds like you are actually at that lovely place of indecision where many new grads find themselves. Pursuing higher degrees never hurt anyone and if your current job allows this flexibility, I would stick with it for now. The minimum time you need to stay in a job is six months, it is only then that you can truly get a sense if the job and make an accurate assessment. You do have to be careful not to get trapped in a job that is easy, but in your case I would worry more about leaping from one thing to another without giving yourself the time to truly assess the opportunity. – 40-something, advertising executive, NYC


A. If you have a solid background and they already know that they are unhappy and that it really is a mismatch, then it’s okay to leave even within the first 6 months. You don’t even have to put it on your resume after two months. As long as you have a solid background and don’t look like someone who can’t hold down a job, I think it’s okay. If you know it’s wrong and it can’t be changed, then move on.” – Headhunter, NYC


A. I would at least give it six months before thinking that you have invested too much. I was miserable two months into a new job. But after I experienced milestones and some success and built relationships I realized it wasn’t because the culture wasn’t the right fit or I didn’t like the people or the work was wrong…it was I put pressure on myself that I should have been farther along in 2 months than I was. Getting a mentor helped tremendously. For your situation, it just sounds like you aren’t sure you like the work. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Experience the culture for at least 6 months and chalk it up to a learning experience. – 40-something, marketing director, financial services, Cleveland


A. I don’t think the about of time will matter since it is your first job. You could frame it as transition job as you were getting out of school that gave you the opportunity to do xyz.  But first ask yourself why you want to quit. Take an inventory of what you want and need to be happy at your next job. Then ask why you want to get your GMAT and what it would add to the process in value and time.  It seems like your question isn’t really about when to quit it’s about whether to change career paths or to get your GMAT right away.” – 40-something, wellness coach, business owner, NYC


A. If you have only worked since June / July you are only in 3 months. While you could easily explain this, you want to make sure you aren’t burning bridges, as it is also your first reference. So don’t leave until you have the next job offered and accepted and make sure you can give adequate notice. Another thing to remember as you weigh your options — If those recruiters and companies are after you now, chances are you will be just as attractive 6 months or 2 years from now to similar companies. Maybe not rushing will give you some time to figure out what you want your next move to be as you will want to stay in your second job for longer.” – 40-something, marketing, Columbus, OH


A. I’m assuming your career goals and thoughts of going back to school are related. I’d begin by figuring out my career goals, then I’d find people in those positions and talk to them about how they got there. Once I collected some input I’d figure out a plan to start getting there that fit my circumstances. In my experience there are a number of ways to get to one place. – 40-something, graphic designer, NYC



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