How to Make Your Way Out of a Premature Job Hop

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Today we have a question from a woman who moved to a new city for a new job. She now misses her first job…and thinks she made a big mistake. It’s her first job and she is worried about changing jobs again so soon. She reached out to our 40-something panel for some perspective!

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 7.49.13 AM copyIt sounds like you loved your old job and the people there (which is huge) and it is at least worth a try to ask if you could go back.  I worried about job-hopping when I was younger.  I’m now 47 and have never worked for any one company longer than 5 years – but have had a successful and enjoyable career working at Apple and Four Seasons and as a consultant – with many friends made along the way.  Try not to be too hard on yourself; sounds like you took a calculated risk.  Just think about and execute on your next steps to get back to a good place that you deserve.  Good luck!  – 40-something PR exec, NYC / SF

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 7.49.13 AM copyI suggest you send an email to your boss at the company you just left. Tell him/her what you just said above, and that you would like him/her to consider you the next time a position opens up. What’s the worst that could happen? He/she could say no.. and then you won’t be working there (which has already happened anyway). If he/she says yes, then you may end up at in a new opportunity at your old job! I see this a lot in my own company. We call them boomerang employees. Don’t let pride stand in the way from you asking for your old job back. – 20-something, Marketing / Advertising, NYC

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 7.49.13 AM copyIf you are comfortable with your geographic choice (in other words you don’t want to try to return to your old job), I think it’s perfectly reasonable to be looking for something new – while simultaneously continuing to contribute and learn as much as your can in your current role, even if you are “miserable”. I would suggest you try to unpack what about the new role is making you unhappy; what about the first job you loved; and how you translate these learnings into your next role. And when you do begin interviewing, do not have anything negative to say about your current position. Something like “I was hoping to learn xyz and it turns out the job has evolved into something quite different than what I expected, so it’s time for me to move on”. Net, as an employer, job-hopping would not be my concern as long as there is a logical explanation for the changes. – 40-something, San Francisco, Chief Impact Office, Nonprofit

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 7.49.13 AM copyOne move does not make a pattern so you are not doomed and no need to punish yourself. With that said, it is difficult to share insight and provide counsel without knowing more about your industry, how long you worked at your first job and the reasons for finding your new position so tenuous. If you left your dream job on good terms, I suspect you can ask and learn about opportunities to go back. We have many people in our firm that returned after testing the waters elsewhere. – 40-something, financial advisor, NYC

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