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We are all questioning our career path and our “job satisfaction” levels to determine how much we want to kick butt during December when we’d rather be spending time laying on a beach or drinking egg nog. But what if instead of just having the year-end blues, you are in a new job or role that you can tell will lead to disaster?

You know, you’ve just been baited and switched. Or perhaps everyone was on their very best behavior during the interview process. Or you made a very bad, desperate decision. It doesn’t really matter why you ended up where you are – you are stuck with a new job that sucks. And you want to quit, like yesterday.

Can I Quit Yet?

I am a proponent of experiencing different jobs – hey, I can’t even count how many I have had throughout my career. But I do think that before you leave a job you need to consider the potential impact on your career trajectory.

{Interruption}: My dear Gen Y’ers – I know that you think that this doesn’t really matter for you. That you can job hop like the best of them without any care or worry on how it will impact your next job. I’ve heard it before – the job market is different for you. There are different rules. Agreed. However, you still have to make strategic career decisions. {end}

6 Things You Need to Consider Before You Leave Your New Job

  1. Have you been in the role at least six months? I know it sounds old-school, but if you haven’t been in your role for at least six months, you haven’t actually experienced enough to make a decision about the position. You may have known that your boss was awful on week two, but other opportunities or long-term solutions will not present itself until you’ve spent some time there learning and growing in the role. Six months also marks inclusion on your resume. Can you stick it out to at least reach this mini-milestone?
  2. Did you make connections at the company that will be useful to you during your career? It’s hard to think long-term when you are so miserable in the short-term. But I can’t tell you the number of people I met along my career journey in crappy jobs that have helped me later down the road. Seriously, some of my favorite people and mentors were added to my circle during my shorter gigs. Think BIG about this – is there an impressive leader who is in the role you want; what about a client that makes you genuinely excited to be working with them; or a coworker that you just know is going places? If you have awesome people to meet and build relationships with, it’s not yet time to leave.
  3. Have you fully received the lesson(s) that you need to get? Warning, I think I just went uncharacteristically woo-woo for a minute. But you are in that job to learn something. Maybe it was the “thing” that attracted you to the position in the first place or perhaps it’s a bigger life lesson. Whatever it may be, have you actually changed because of it yet? Will you be smarter and wiser for the experience in your next job? If you are rolling your eyes at this bullet, you haven’t embraced the lesson.
  4. Did you exhaust your internal resources or lateral move options? Six months tends to be the door-opener at many companies for when they will consider you for an internal position or lateral move. You may think the company is the problem, and it very well may be, but a different position may even out your Balance Scale appropriately. Have you applied for open internal positions? Being able to remain at a company longer, will absolutely help you further your career, so having a new role can feel like you’re starting something new and fun without the hassle of a full-blown job search.
  5. Have you truly evaluated what you are going to do next? I can’t really be a strong proponent for “making sure you have a new job lined up before you quit,” although I do think that’s smart advice, but what are you going to do next Monday morning after you’ve left your job? Are you prepared for the very real possibility of looking for a job for six months or more? Can you pay all of your bills without going into debt for even longer? Will you be able to motivate yourself to continue to look for income sources even when faced with rejection or no response… for months on end? Um, yeah – just make sure you’ve given this a lot of thought.
  6. Can your role become a bridge job? Are you able to shift your mindset from a stop along the career train, to this position being a bridge job? It is always ok to go to work to simply work. Can this awful job be reframed into something that helps you earn money while you build your empire outside of work? Try it for two weeks and see if it’s something you can do for a longer period of time. No need to set long-term goals about it, but perhaps commit to it being a bridge job one month at a time and reevaluate where you are at with questions 1 – 5 at the end of each chunk of time.

The bottom line is this: Before you quit a new job, you need to consider the long-term impact on not only your career, but also how it can shape your credibility for future employers. It can imply that you are a “quitter” or not loyal – neither of which are good characteristics. But even more than that, it can prevent you from being considered for future positions because the recruiter/hiring manager will see it as a red flag of your poor performance. So if you can stick it out… a little bit longer, do.