Should I Stay in a Job I Hate If It’s Been Less Than a Year?

Blog / Should I Stay in a Job I Hate If It’s Been Less Than a Year?

by | Dec 15, 2021 | Job Seekers

4 Questions to Ask if You Find Yourself Dreading Going into Work Each Day

Back in the day, people would stick with a company for 20 or more years and retire. But times have certainly changed, haven’t they?! There are volatile startups, economic downturns, and younger generations who are willing to leave a job if it’s not what they are looking for. 

But just how long should you stay in a job for the sake of your resume, even if you hate it? There’s no easy answer to that question and we certainly don’t recommend asking your old Magic 8 Ball at the risk of getting “without a doubt” as your answer before going through all the facts. 

But we understand that there is nothing worse than starting a job you are excited about only for you to quickly realize it is not what you expected. And if you feel as though your interviewers misled you about the position, sadly you are not alone in having those feelings. 

So, at the risk of some serious decline in your own morale, happiness and overall personal satisfaction from your job, what should you do if you find yourself unhappy at your job? 

Let’s go through a series of questions to help you answer that very important question. 


How long do people stay in their jobs?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been in their current job was 4.2 years in January 2016. This median number does vary by age (it was only 3.2 years from those between the ages of 25 and 34) and by occupation as well. But if you are working a nightmare job, how long do you really need to stay? Three or more years can sound like an awful lot of time for a job that leaves you feeling depressed by the end of each workday.

How long should I stay at my job?

In an ideal world, you should stay at each job for a minimum of two years. However, if you quickly discover after starting a job that it’s the wrong one for you, don’t feel obligated to stick it out until your two year anniversary. 

However if it has been longer than a short period of time after accepting, it’s best to stick it out. There are some circumstances even after a longer period of time that you should consider looking for a new job, even if it hasn’t been two years. These circumstances include:

  • Your job is putting your mental or physical health at risk
  • You truly despise what you are doing and the job isn’t a necessary step to reaching your dream career
  • You’re a complete mismatch with the company culture
  • Or the company is financially unstable

Will I be labeled a job hopper?

The good news is, if you have one short-lived permanent job in your employment history, it’s fairly easy for a hiring manager to overlook it, provided you can address your reasons for leaving (or being asked to leave). Layoffs and mistakes happen from time to time. You’ll need to come prepared to explain what you learned from this work experience and how it helped you identify what you are looking for in your next employer or role. Be sure to highlight your wish to find an organization that you can truly call home and explain why you believe this particular company and job opportunity are the right fight and why you are the right candidate.

However, if your resume is full of brief stints and the jobs weren’t short-term contract positions, you can expect potential employers to view you as a job hopper. This can lead them to question your judgement, career goals and even your ability to perform at work. In this case, you really should try to make it to your two year work anniversary unless you fit one of the circumstances in the section above. 

What should I do once I decide to quit?

If you decide to quit your job, try to secure a new position first. It’s much easier to get a new job when you’re still employed. When doing your job search, focus on finding the right job and work environment for you, rather than just getting out of your current situation as quickly as possible, or you could end up repeating the same mistakes that got you into your current nightmare job.

To help you find the right work environment for you, focus on cultural fit. Employees have higher levels of productivity, creativity, overall happiness and job satisfaction when their values and personality more closely align with that of their employer and this leads to sticking with a company for much longer.

Finding a company that has a good cultural fit for you has been tough in the past. But not anymore! Workzinga’s personality assessment is for job seekers and companies alike, meaning you’ll be matched up with companies that have a good cultural fit with you and are searching for candidates with your skills! It’s like Match but for the working world, helping everyone have a more positive job search experience. Give it a try today!