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When is it ever acceptable to leave your job in the first few weeks?

Posted on 03 November 2021

When is it ever acceptable to leave your job in the first few weeks?

5-minute read


Finding a job in today's climate can be tough, there is a ton of competition out there for each opening and this can sometimes lead to panic accepting the first position that is presented to you, or accepting something where you might still have open questions about. Regardless, you join a company and after a few short weeks, your initial doubts are confirmed and you find yourself in an environment that you feel is not truly right for you, you then start thinking to yourself, now what?


This happens more than you might think, and if you are reading this article in that position today, this is what we want to try and answer for you. To give you a little guidance and clarity on your options, bringing simplicity to the chaos of recruitment for you.


Do you know enough?

The first thing you will want to identify is ‘do you know enough’ about the situation in order to make an informed decision about the issues you are facing. If you find yourself in a position where you want to leave inside a month of joining, really ask yourself why… what are the issues you are facing right now, are they team related, are you not having the right support? is the workload too easy? is the workload too hard? (or anything else you can think of!)

Once you have identified the core reasons as to why you are feeling this way, stop to consider other perspectives around these issues, for example, if the workload is too easy, maybe the team are easing you into your role at a slower pace?

If you are not feeling supported, perhaps your manager has not have asked what your preferred working style is yet?

If the team are cold towards you, maybe they are wary themselves and it might just take a little longer to form a bond.

All we are doing here at this moment is taking the sting out of what you are feeling, we are trying to ease your emotions towards the issues and consider alternative views, but this is all guesswork for the time being. It is important to remember that the company hired you for a reason, they saw potential in your skills during the interview process, so it is best to explore these issues further before making any rash decisions.


Speak to your manager

Having identified the issue(s) as to why you find yourself contemplating leaving so soon, it is wise to shed light on them to your direct manager. This is a very uncomfortable step for many, but a necessary one if you intend to truly discover if this organisation is right for you or not, otherwise if you let the issue persist either you or the company will make the decision to part ways without ever exploring the root cause to your problems.

Approach this conversation with openness. Try to avoid the blame game and simply voice what you have noticed and how it has made you feel, if you can bring forward specific examples to support your argument then feel free to do so.

Express that you want to find the right solution moving forward and are open to suggestions as to how you can continue working with them.

If we refer back to the example that the workload is too easy, you might highlight that you are finding the current tasks rather on the easy side, and that you wanted to understand more about the long-term product development roadmap and when more challenging tasks would be presented as indicated during the interview process as this was the main driver for you accepting the position.

This now moves the conversation to an open discussion with your hiring manager, allowing you to gather more information and make a more informed decision if the time frame suits your interests. If it does, you have your answer and if it doesn’t you know it is time to explore other options.

Each reasoning will of course be handled differently, but you should be able to see how bringing your issues into the light will help gather more information to determine the next step you need to take.


The Stigma around short work

Chances are you have been told throughout your career to never leave a job without having another lined up (my mum loved telling me that one!) or that you should stick to the current company for at least a year as to not show jumps in your resume. Both sound like sound advice from those not in your position, you are the only one to make a judgement on what is truly right for you and what isn’t.

One or two short permanent roles will not make you un-employable, it might be questioned in future interview processes but it won’t stop someone from hiring you, fact.


When should you leave a job within the first few weeks?

Most issues can be resolved with an open discussion but there are always some that might require more immediate action, we have tried to cover off some of the ones we have seen over the years below:

  • Categorically the job you applied and interviewed for, is not what you are doing. There is no chance of you being able to move your responsibilities and tasks and as a result, are stuck.

  • Your new manager is abusive and despite your attempts to speak up about this, their behaviour does not change (this can be said for the team as well).

  • You are being asked to do things that are morally and ethically not aligned to what you believe in.

  • The working environment is unsafe.


We honestly hope you don’t find yourself in this position but if you do, with a little luck this article will help guide you to a resolution that is right for you. As always, if you feel someone could learn from reading this, please share it with them and together we can all bring simplicity to the chaos of recruitment.

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