“Twenty-Eight must be my lucky number,” you remember thinking to yourself as you signed the dotted line accepting your first job offer. That’s because it wasn’t until your 28th interview in the months following college graduation that you finally scored a paying gig. But now, you realize maybe this isn’t your dream job after all. What do you do?
Fortunately, you aren’t trapped forever. But here are a few things to keep in mind before putting in your two-weeks notice.
If you can, stick it out
Sometimes, things really do get better. New jobs often require a steep learning curve or come with a hard-to-impress boss. But, after a few months of what feels like the world’s longest and most brain-draining days, sometimes something just clicks, and suddenly you get it. Not saying that it happens all the time, but make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to get past the new job hump and have a clear mind to make a valid assessment of your position. Plus, giving up early can look grim on a résumé – consider six months a fair length of time to reach your decision.
Get something else lined up
You may not think you need a reminder that your bills aren’t going to pay themselves if you walk out the door, but…your bills aren’t going to pay themselves if you walk out the door! It’s really not a good idea to quit your job with no back-up plan. Besides the obvious lapse in income, a lapse in employment forces potential new employers to assume you got fired from your old job, and you better believe they’ll be asking why. If you have to hunt for a new job while you’re working at another one, be respectful and job hunt after work hours. Never use a company email account to reply to job postings or a company printer to print a résumé.
Be respectful when you leave
Most industries request a two-weeks notice if you plan to take another job, and good conduct would dictate that you provide it. Be sure to personally thank your employer and immediate supervisors for the opportunities and learning experiences you’ve earned through the company. You’ll be grateful you did if you need a reference in the future.
Don’t let ‘em talk you out of it!
When employers are in a real pinch, they may attempt to coax you into staying with the company by offering you a pay raise or other benefits. If you’re the type of person who is loyal, a people-pleaser, or just afraid of change, you may be tempted to give in to their requests when put on the spot. Just remember how much thought you put in when reaching the decision to quit, and how ultimately you will be better off without them, if not the other way around. Besides, you’ve already given it away to your old employers that you’re not entirely happy with them, and that may put you first on the chopping block if jobs get cut in the future.
Switching jobs for the first time can be a bit of a frightening experience. But make a solid game plan and stick to your guns, and you’ll be on the road to a happier 9-to-5 in no time.