Stay or Go: Navigating the Gray Area of Quitting a New Job

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Jun 2, 2023 9 min read

You went through a long application process, passed several interviews and possibly a task, just to find out that your new job is not the best match for you.

Maybe your new manager is not as cool as they appeared to be in the interview, or maybe your colleagues are a bit more passive-aggressive than you’d like them to be.

Or it might be the case that the company is great and you love the job, but your partner has to relocate, and you don’t have the option to work remotely.

Whatever the reason may be, the thought of quitting a new job can be overwhelming.

No one wants to go through the job-searching process several times a year. And how will you even explain your short stay at your last job to recruiters?

In order to make things a bit less complicated, we have selected all the factors you need to consider before quitting your new job.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How much time you should give your new job
  • Whether the company culture is important enough to influence your decision
  • What the most common signs it’s time to move on are
  • If communicating with your current employer is actually worth it

… and more. Let’s start!

Top 5 factors to consider before quitting your new job

Leaving a company you’ve just started working for is a decision that requires careful consideration.

In most cases, you wouldn’t want to base your decision on the general “you either like it or you don’t” rule.

The reason for this? It’s normal to feel weird during the first couple of months. It’s a good idea to give yourself at least 8 weeks before making a decision in order to get used to the new processes and faces.

The first factor worth considering would be whether the job fits your skills, experience, and motivation.

Factor #1: Job fit

Is the nature of the job what you imagined it to be? It might be better, but it might also be worse.

We know it, it’s not always easy to assess whether the job would be the right fit for you before you take it.

But since you’ve already joined your new team, you can get a better idea if the job fits you. Here are some questions worth asking yourself:

  • Do I use my full potential or do I feel too comfortable?
  • Am I challenged to think outside the box and grow?
  • Do I use my job-related skills?
  • Does this job meet my career goals?

Once you’re done, it’s worth looking at the bigger picture. Time for assessing the growth perspectives.

Factor #2: Growth opportunities

What’s the structure of your team?

Teams with a flatter structure are nice because everyone gets to have their voice heard. However, being part of a flat structure means having fewer prospects for career growth.

Teams with a strict hierarchy, on the other hand, are more inclined to linear, steady career growth. However, personal opinions are less often valued here.

If you’re not sure what the structure of your team is, it’s worth asking your manager about the growth opportunities for your position.

In fact, growing in your job could mean taking on more responsibilities, learning new things, working on projects you feel passionate about, or getting regular salary increases.

But having in mind that you’re new to the job, it’d be useful to remember that not all growth opportunities could be obvious.

So when in doubt, ask your line manager.

You can also check their work history on LinkedIn and see how long it has taken them to grow within the team. Just keep in mind that growth is individual, and simple research like this one might not represent opportunities 100% accurately.

Factor #3: Company culture

According to a study by Harvard Business Review, company culture is inextricably connected to leadership. However, it is also greatly dependent on the ways employees relate to each other in group settings.

And that’s why people have recently started paying more attention to it.

Another important factor that shapes culture is the values shared by people in the company. These may include discipline, integrity, diversity and equality, loyalty, and accountability to name a few.

Depending on the values a company chooses to stick with, the work environment and processes may be affected.

For instance, if a company has put discipline on a pedestal, it might provide less space for creativity and risk. And if it stands behind diversity and equality, you should expect that no discrimination will be tolerated.

A good way to get to know what your new employer’s values are is by digging into the company website or checking public announcements in the media.

If you find that the company values don’t really fit with yours, make a mental note of that. Depending on your own views, this realization may be a turning point.

And if you’re the more practical type, it’s time to assess the way compensation and benefits can affect your choice.

Factor #4: Compensation and benefits

It’s no secret that a good compensation and benefits plan can attract the right talent and make them stay.

So don’t worry if you deem these two to be important factors for your decision.

In fact, it’s normal to have your wage define at least some of your feelings towards your employer - after all, it’s easier to be happy when you know you’re valued.

Just make sure to keep benefits such as longer annual leave, food vouchers, office massages, and remote work in mind!

Factor #5: Work-life balance

It might be the case that your compensation is top of the market, but you don’t have any work-life balance.

In general, having a proper work-life balance doesn’t just mean not working 24/7.

It also means being able to enjoy leisure time without checking your email constantly. Last but not least, it includes having the energy to do nice things for yourself and your family after work.

Fairly speaking, you’re expected to have at least a relatively good work-life balance if you’ve only been in the company for a few weeks.

It might be a red flag if training and orientation activities take up so much of your time, that you’re not able to enjoy time off work properly.

Carefully assessing these 5 factors is a must, but let’s not forget that timing is also crucial when it comes to making the right decision.

How Long to Give a New Job?

Shift shock - that’s what 72% of new joiners have experienced when changing jobs. It’s the feeling you get when you realize that the company or position doesn’t match your expectations.

It’s common for gen Z and millennial candidates to experience shift shock because they have higher expectations and lower patience levels. However, this phenomenon can affect you even if you’ve been around for longer.

And if you ask us, there may be a link behind this and raising employee dissatisfaction.

That’s why we advise you to give your new job the standard probationary period - 3 to 6 months. Take enough time to get used to the work processes, your teammates, and your manager.

Of course, the factors we discussed above may shorten or extend this timeframe.

Another thing worth remembering is that you should always set realistic expectations. Don’t be the person who says “if they don’t promote me in 3 months, I quit”.

And if you’re not sure whether your expectations are realistic - communicate them with your line manager. Ask them what they think. Seeking feedback is always a good idea.

Still not sure what to do? 5 signs it's time to move on

If you’ve weighed the pros and cons of your new job but are still not sure whether it’s time to go, here’s a definite list of things to look out for:

Persistent unhappiness or dissatisfaction

If you lack motivation and are generally dissatisfied with your job - it’s time for something new.

You don’t want this lack of happiness to spill over to other aspects of your life, right?

Lack of opportunity for growth

Although you might think it’s too early to worry about your career development… it’s not!

If you want to become a manager or head of the department, but all your teammates have been stuck in their positions for the last 3-5 years, then save yourself some future disappointment and start looking for a job that matches your career goals!

Incompatible company culture

Regardless of whether you’re working in a small NGO or a large multinational corporation, company culture is something you’ll face every day.

It’s intertwined with the ways you communicate in your team, the feedback you get, and the impact your work has in general.

So if you have doubts about the compatibility of the company values with your own, we advise you to assess carefully the impact this might have on the future you.

After all, we might not be able to influence the values instilled by our families, but we can choose the ones held by our employers and coworkers.

Unsatisfactory compensation or benefits

There are people who treat compensation as a lesser priority than culture or growth opportunities, for instance.

And truth be told, if you’re learning new things, having fun at work, seeing plenty of opportunities for development, and feeling that your voice is heard, you might devote little attention to whether they’re paying you a top-of-the-market wage.

But if you’re unhappy and feel undervalued, then low pay may become the top factor that influences your decision to quit.

Chronic work-life imbalance

The notion of quiet quitting - or choosing life over work and doing only what you’re required to do - is here to stay.

It would only be normal for employers to start recognizing this.

So if you’re regularly required to work overtime and are struggling to make time for yourself, family, and friends, then what you’re facing might be a chronic work-life imbalance.

This is really a red flag, given you probably started your new job not so long ago. Think whether you would be able to compromise your personal life and most importantly, whether it’ll be worth it…

The next steps…

If assessing all these factors has led you to the decision to quit, you’re not alone.

Our career counselors have helped thousands of people prepare for the next step.

It doesn’t matter whether you need someone to help you craft a job-winning resume and cover letter, or you would prefer to get professional advice as part of your interview prep.

Book a call with our experts and skyrocket your career! Life’s too short to waste time in a job that doesn’t fit you.

And if you need another tiny push in the right direction - take our free quiz!

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Volen Vulkov
Volen Vulkov is a resume expert and the co-founder of Enhancv. He applies his deep knowledge and experience to write about a career change, development, and how to stand out in the job application process.
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