Asking yourself this, how long should I stay at my first job?

As I am searching for many candidates with 1-2 years experience after grad school, I get asked this question many times.

Asking yourself this, how long should I stay at my first job?

Graduates aren’t always excited with their first job after graduation, you’re not the first and won’t be the last. Many are asking this question right now or will be very soon, they reach out to their counsellors, friends, and family members how long should they stay in their first job before considering making a move.

The answer varies, some might say 8 months, 12 months or even 2 years. The answer for you, given your situation might be different to someone else. Ultimately, how long you stay depends on your career goals which covers 2 areas, how much you’re learning and what is the job doing for your career aspirations.

Statistics show that 18 months is socially acceptable and under 8 months doesn’t look so good, unless you can give an objective reason. 18 months shows you passed your probation, first performance cycle and gave it everything before it wasn’t challenging enough or helping your career aspirations.

Some questions to ask yourself prior to leaving your job:

  • What are your prospects for the future?
  • Are you being challenged?
  • Are you acquiring new skills?
  • Is this company, group and role your career aspirations?
  • Are you in the right field?
  • What is the office environment like and does it suit your personality?
  • Are you being paid market rate?

Brain Tracey an excellent speaker and an expert in his field mentions, “the reason many people underachieve in their careers is because they do not realize how long it takes to achieve mastery in a given field. Extensive research into the area of career success suggests that it requires about five to seven years of hard work for you to move to the top of your field. This means five to seven years of focused, concentrated, determined hard work on yourself to get better and better in the key areas responsible for your personal development. And, I am sorry to say, there are no short cuts.

Personal development through hard work

The good news is that if you start now, make a plan and work hard every day, five to seven years from now you can be in the top 10 percent of people in your field. Through personal development, you can become one of the highest paid and most respected people in your field. You can enjoy the results and rewards of a top performer if you make the decision to apply yourself.”

So, making the right choice for your career and aspirations matter, make the best choices that suit your goals. The answer to the question will all depend on your situation, so do think it through and only leave if you’re going to a better career opportunity.

Whenever you decide to leave your first job, make sure you maintain a strong professional ethic and be positive right until you depart.

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