Don’t just up and leave your job because you’re unhappy, there’s a way to leave in an appropriate timeframe. Or when a better opportunity comes along, learn to leave your former employer on good terms.
“Never leave a job until you have your next one lined up.” That is the first piece of advice you receive once you start voicing concerns that you might not be satisfied with your current job. This premise is especially true if you are a recent graduate, as most graduates aren’t always excited about their first job after graduation. If you are in your first “real job” after school and you are not happy, you are not the only one. In fact, a report by the Harvard Business Review indicates that 33% of employees start looking for a new job within six months of starting and 23% leave before the first anniversary. While those statistics may be somewhat comforting, as a graduate you have to be cautious before jumping ship.
CAREERS MAGAZINE spoke to Hazel Maviya, an enterprise supplier consultant at Deloitte, who empathises with grad-uates as she has gone through the same struggle. Having earned an honours degree in Business Management, she was sure she would get a great job. She ticked all the boxes, a competitive qualification with distinction from a reputable university and an impressive CV as she had worked at some internships during university to “beef up” her CV. However, once she was in the job market reality set in. “Yes, some peers get recruited by huge firms and get amazing offers right off the bat. But the majority of graduates feel like they have been sold a pipe dream. Your first job will often not be your dream job — it will probably not even be in line with what you stud-ied at university and the salary will be quite poor,” Maviya says.
The majority of graduates feel like they have been sold a pipe dream. Your first job will often not be your dream job — it will probably not even be in line with what you studied at university and the salary will be quite poorHAZEL MAVIYA, AN ENTERPRISE SUPPLIER CONSULTANT AT DELOITTE
Maviya advises that as a graduate, any opportunity is a great opportunity. She goes on to say take that time in your first job to learn the corporate environment. If you can move around departments, do that and learn from those around you. When asked how long she stayed in her first job, Hazel responded: “Four years and it did wonders for me.” She went on to explain that it was not easy. Measures such as having a good support structure and minimising your costs as much as you can, will go a long way in assisting your new journey. “Consider staying with your family or renting an apartment with housemates and if you can help it; definitely no big purchases. This helps you to not have frustrations about financial constraints while you learn the job,” she says.
However, with the job market being different from what it was five years ago, in some industries such as IT and those deemed essential services, experts have described the cur-rent labour market as “candidate-driven”. If you are in an industry that is thriving, job offers and calls from recruiters might have you second-guessing your decision to stay put for a few more years while you learn the job. However, this is what you can do in the instance that you cannot avoid lucrative job offers, but later realise that you made a mistake and would like to go back to your former employer.
A talent specialist at Course Consult, a recruitment agency in Johannesburg, says that some of her clients do take back ex-employees if they were indispensable. It is, however, a dif-ficult process and the best advice would be to leave your for-mer employment on good terms and to follow the company’s resignation procedure.
When looking at overall job tenure, which is typically mea-sured by the length of time workers have been in their cur-rent job, statistics show that 18 months is socially acceptable and under 8 months doesn’t look so good unless you can give an objective reason. In cases where you are not facing is-sues such as a toxic work environment, or your mental health being placed at risk and other major concerns, ask yourself these questions prior to leaving your job:
• What are your prospects for the future?
• Are you acquiring new skills?
• Are you in the right field?
• Does the company culture suit you?
• Is your salary within the market rate?
Sanelisiwe Moyo, an audit manager at BDO states that in professions that require an internship or articles so as to get certified, it can be tricky to leave before the contract is over, as in her case. The SAICA board that governs chartered accountants CA(SA), will give a penalty should you change jobs during your articles. However, Moyo — as a manager now — acknowledges that the period of being a trainee is oftentimes challenging for everyone. What one can do if they are dissatisfied is to take a step back and look at the root of the problem to see if the problem is a “person problem” or a problem with the firm. “If one is facing issues such as unfairness and discrimination, each company or firm will have internal pro-cess on how to handle such matters. One should not be wary to approach their mentor or visit the human resources department as that is why they are there,” she says.