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Does It Look Bad If I Leave My Job After 1 Year?

When our parents were starting out in their careers, most of them stayed with the same company for their entire career. My dad recently retired from Nationwide after working in the insurance world for 30+ years, and I’m sure you have parents and relatives who have done the same. I don’t think I need to convince anyone that this was more normal back then.

The reality is this: it's not happening anymore. In fact, it is almost normal to hop between jobs in your 20s. While my hope for The YoPro Know is to help you succeed as a young professional in the workplace (through work with businesses to help them better-engage you), I am also here to tell you that it is okay to leave a job after only being there for a short time if it gets you to where you want to be next.

I know a lot of us question how it will look if we leave a job after a short about of time. It's a really hot topic these days and something many YoPro audience members reach out and ask me about, but let me put it this way: I left my first job after one year and I’m still standing.

There are many things you should think about before you consider this step, but I want to share a few stories with you today from YoPros who have experienced it to share with you about this concern so many of us have. Let’s get into it.

Every career move prepares you for the next, no matter the time.

If this is the job that gets you to your next step, then you should let it. Rather than thinking about how it will look to others if you leave a job shortly after starting, consider how this role will prepare you for the next. This advice comes from Morgan Stephens, then-28-year-old HR Generalist for the YMCA of the Triangle in Raleigh, North Carolina. Coming from her own experience, she says that her biggest struggle has been figuring out exactly where she fits in the young professional world, from a career perspective. I think a lot of us feel this way, but it’s nice to hear these words: that every single move she has made, it has helped her grow professionally and develop for the next position that she has moved to.

There is not one recipe or formulaic way to do things when entering a job.

In other words, just because a role is not the right fit and you feel inclined to leave, does not mean you have messed up. Growing up and throughout college, I always thought I had to start at this 'perfect job' immediately after college and stay for my entire career. In fact, that is why I struggled internally for months at my first job, not able to understand why I couldn’t make the job work. Tyler Marrero, then-30-year-old Founder of PlaceMeant, LLC in Greenville, SC, confirms this for me by sharing there is no one path we all have to follow. I hope you'll let this sink in for you, too.

The days of staying at one career your entire life are over.

Remington (Remi) Role, then-26-year-old State Policy Analyst in Atlanta, Georgia, has a really interesting take on our generation and how we differ from our parents. He says that our generation doesn’t fit this mold anymore like our parents did, where they worked somewhere for 20+ years, became experts, and stayed there forever. Our new generational norm is staying at a company for 1-3 years, learning all we can, and then going somewhere else to grow with the next higher-level position. It’s something that companies are recognizing too, so think about this new norm when you are concerned about switching jobs “too soon”.

An important note to mention is that I am not telling you to leave your jobs – particularly when we find ourselves in a very unique workplace. I am telling you that it's okay to leave a job if you have assessed all your options and the best possible outcome is for you to jump ship. Have you tried to find new ways to grow and engage with others at the company? Have you communicated to your team and manager ways that you would like to grow? If not, then I wouldn't rush to leave a job.

You will know when a job is not the right fit for you. I think waiting it out for some time always helps, but it is extremely important to remember that regardless of these tips above, you will make the right decision for your own career growth. I am here to provide you with insight from YoPros like you who have experiences to share, but their story is not your story. We all have a unique path and I am here to equip you with the resources to maximize your young professional years.

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