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Resignation Guide: How Long Should You Stay in Your Job Before Leaving?

Quitting too early, too often could hurt your career.
by Arianne Merez
Jul 4, 2022
Photo/s: Echo Antonio
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With one month left in her probation, Mae resigned from an advertising agency to jump to a corporate job that she now wants to resign from too, except she fears stigma from job-hopping.

The 24-year-old who finished college and joined the workforce in the first year of the pandemic in 2020 is worried that switching jobs twice in as many years would make her miss out on career growth opportunities.

"It might hurt my career if companies I'd like to apply to in the future see that I only stayed for five months in my first job and if I leave my current job for another one, it might look bad that I've had three jobs and I'm not even 25 yet," Mae, who refused to reveal her full name, told reportr.

MORE ON CAREER:

How to Resign and Leave Your Job Gracefully

The Great Resignation: How to Deal with a Toxic Boss

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More Working Hours Equals More Productivity?

Across different industries, there has been a decline in employee tenure with Gen Z employees or those aged 20-24, staying in companies for an average of 1.3 years as opposed to the average tenure of 7.2 years for those aged 45-54 according to the 2022 State of HR Report by Sprout Solutions. 

"And with the hybrid work era creating new opportunities and easier ways to find greener pastures, HR leaders should brace themselves for more turnover waves," the report, which surveyed some 200 HR professionals in the country, stated.

Millennial and Gen Z employees have also shown more interest in switching jobs at a faster rate to advance their career than any other generation.

Some 52% of millennials and Gen Zs said they are "extremely likely" to consider a job change in the coming year, with the younger generation switching jobs at a higher rate of 134% compared to the pre-pandemic year 2019 according to LinkedIn data.

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Starting out in the professional world can be scary and hard. And things could even be harder when you realize that your first job isn't exactly ideal.

When your first job isn't all rosy, how long should you stay before you quit?

For fresh graduates or young professionals, it's ideal to stay in a job (especially your first one) for at least a year or two to gain a "solid experience" according to human resources manager Tessa Mercado who is also known as the "Millennial HR Manager" on Facebook and Twitter.

"There are many factors kasi sa pagre-resign but nowadays, if we look at the trend, 'yung mga millennials and Gen Z parang mas mabilis magsawa. Very adventurous kasi ang millennials and Gen Zs but when it comes to tenure I'd suggest staying a year or two in your first job para hindi red flag sa mga HR," she said.

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For career growth, Mercado said it's ideal for young professionals to stay for at least two to three years in a job to master the ropes of the role.

Changing job landscape

The job landscape is changing too with higher priority for flexibility for young professionals and the rise of remote work setups due to the pandemic according to psychometrician and human resources manager Michelle Morales.

"Modern companies now are more output-based and the job landscape, in general, has changed with the pandemic with more importance given to flexibility and mental health," she told reportr.

Shorter average employee tenures for young professionals can also be attributed to the rise of technology, Morales said.

"I think contributing factor din yung work environment noon at today sa work tenure. Noon, it entails time for an employee to learn a lot about his or her role but for millennials and Gen Z, information comes faster because of technology," she added.

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But young professionals should still be cautious against developing a personal trend of having short tenures in different jobs since these can be seen as a "red flag" by hiring managers especially if the reasons for resigning are toxicity and burnout according to Mercado.

"If the person keeps on resigning and they tell HR na it's because the company was toxic or burnout, it might be a red flag that maybe the person has a problem with attitude," she said. "For HR professionals, more than experience, attitude is more important."

Know when to quit

Adaptability is an important trait for employees nowadays with the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, according to Morales and Mercado.

For young professionals who are at the crossroads of whether to stick it out or quit, here are some factors to consider before you submit your resignation letter:

1. There is no more growth

As a young professional, especially those aged 20-25, learning should be a career staple especially for the first job according to Morales.

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"Ask yourself if you have learned or mastered your role. If you see that the role is stunting your professional growth na, then maybe it's time to assess if it's time to move on na for career growth," she said.

Morales advises young professionals to set career goals and timetables like becoming a supervisor in five years and a manager three years after as a motivation for professional growth and development.

2. You are becoming a toxic person

Has your current role changed who you are as a person for the worse? If yes, it might be time to think to quit said Mercado.

"Kung alam mo sa sarili mo na nasisira ka na at hindi na ikaw 'yan, nagbabago ka na, nagiging toxic ka na din at the same time, it's better to resign," she said.

3. You are no longer fulfilled and happy

All jobs have challenges but if the work no longer brings fulfillment and happiness to you overall, it might be time to consider other career opportunities according to Mercado.

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"Kung alam mo sa sarili mo na kahit anong gawin mo sa trabaho eh hindi ka na talaga masaya, maybe it's time for a change na talaga," she said.

And for young professionals who want to quit their jobs but fear the stigma that comes with short tenures, here's a piece of advise from Morales: "Remember that more than the tenure, what's more important is what you can offer to the table and your attitude when it comes to the role."

MORE ON JOBS AND CAREERS:

Work From Home: Can Your Career Grow Without Human Touch? 

Hybrid Work is Most Preferred by Filipinos, a Deciding Factor for Jobseekers

'I Should Have Resigned Yesterday': Signs to Just Do It

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