BLUF: Changed jobs 3 months ago, how soon is to soon it to start looking for a new one?

I recently changed jobs.  There were several factors that help in the decision making process, shorter commute, heard good things of the company, my old job of 5 years had grown stale etc. I also took a significant pay cut and reduction in holidays to be closer to home.

It's been just over 3 months and I realize now that I am not a good fit with the company culture and my boss.  I realize it has only been three months and I am still trying to fit in and build relationships with the other staff (7 people) and my one direct, but the feeling that I made the wrong choice is growing inside me more everyday. 

I know I can put my head down and do my job and perform, that's what I 'm paid to do and what I expect and demand of myself, but I will admit, there are days where my performance is not up to par.  


donm's picture

You can look now if you want to. If you do take another job after such a short time, leave a three month hole in your resume, because this is not going to look good at all. Would you hire someone knowing that it's possible you'll just be doing it again in 90 days? Hiring is a time-consuming process, and to do it, just to do it again is not fun or productive.

I think your time for considering was before you took this job. Anything less than three years without a reason - and "My boss and I wear clothes that clash" is not a reason - means that you're job hopping. That's not a hard-and-fast rule, but it's pretty close. If you can show "this was a job I just couldn't turn down," well... we're back to reasons. Again, three years is not a rule. Eighteen months would be about the minimum where I'd figure the candidate gave the company a chance.

If I got an application and the candidate was ideal, but had a three month job previously, I'd be asking questions. My best co-workers and employees have been long-haul people. The five-year job is great. The three months can be overlooked if the rest of your career shows it is an anomaly. So, what's your long-term history? If it's only the two you've listed, then I'd be very wary of leaving, or from the other point of view, wary of hiring someone who had left after 3 months. What happens if you're laid off at the next job after 6 months?

My suggestion would be to tough it out another 9 months, or even 15 months if you can.

awalton's picture

(I'll assume you've done everything you can to improve the situation and your approach to it)

If you're absolutely miserable and go in with your eyes open that a job search will be difficult under such circumstances, then why not? No one should choose being miserable. Of course, you wouldn't quit without another job in hand, and you'd be completely professional about leaving.

If you choose to leave now, when you interview you're going to have to provide hiring managers a lot more information on why you're leaving. Well, if you interviewed with me you would, so I assume a lot of managers would ask for details. Explaining that you weren't a good fit for the company culture or your boss, would only result in me digging for more details. So, if you leave, you'll need a much better explanation of why you are leaving.

I wouldn't suggest leaving your current position off your resume if you do start looking. To me that's lying by omission and if the position were discovered during a background check, most companies would rescind their offer. Leaving you in the terrible situation of likely having resigned and not having a new position.

donm's picture

"...lying by omission..." I've always loved this phrase. There is so much in it that demands interpretation.

You are only omitting something if something is asked about it. "Why is there a three-month gap in your job history?" Now, to avoid the answer is "lying by omission." I would say, "I had a job during that time, but I had no pertinent accomplishments and so I used the room on my resume for the jobs where I did have accomplishments." Further questions would beget further answers, all of them honest and truthful. "I wasn't a good fit with the boss" isn't something you want to trumpet, but if that's the reality, then that's what you say if asked.

Is that lying, even by omission? I think not. To say it is lying by omission is drawing conclusions based on perceptions and prejudices, rather than on the facts.  Not telling "everything you know" is not the same as lying. Your job in an interview is to put yourself in the best light without lying. I don't think leaving an employment gap that did not further your career - especially for a short period of time - is lying. It is economizing on the presentation of your abilities for the next job.

I have been working for over 30 years. How do you think I fit all of that onto one page? So, do I leave out the early, but pertinent, jobs, or do I leave out the later, but unimportant jobs? That means some jobs stay, and some jobs go. Am I lying by omission by listing the ones I think put me in the best light for this position, and omitting the ones that are not germane? And if it is OK to leave a gap because I have a long history, why is it then NOT OK to leave a gap if I have a short history?

Let me ask it in another way: Why would I tell someone I can program in COBOL if the job requires that I design electronic controls?

mike_bruns_99's picture

Donm, sorry, I couldn't disagree more.

Lying is lying.  And saying "you are only omitting something if something is asked about it", to me, is lying.

No-one is saying that a candidate needs to tell "everything they know".  And yes, the hiring manager expects the candidate to put themselves in the best light possible. However, that includes giving relevant, material information. No, the COBOL you did 25 years ago isn't relevant to a controls position. But the fact that you just left a position after 3 months, is absolutely relevant. 

Lying by omission is leaving out a relevant detail, and hoping that it is overlooked.  If a candidate omits a key detail now, will they do it when a major project is turning red?        

If I find that someone has withheld a germane piece of information from me, I don't trust them going forward.  It's as simple as that.

duplicate_account_MarkAus's picture

The answer to your question is that is never too soon to change jobs if you hate the one you're doing and you're continuing to give your best efforts to the job you're in but hate.  But as others have said, you will need to explain that because it can be a bad look.

Let's put aside the notion of lying or not lying for a second and just look at tactics for a moment.

Any interviewer worth anything is going to ask you about your present situation.  Upon one glance at your resume, It'll either be a question about why you're leaving your current job after 3 months OR a question about what you've been doing with yourself the past 3 months.    You might get away with leaving off an irrelevant job you did 10 years go, but your current situation will definitely come up.

I would put the current role on your resume and have a good answer ready. 

If you omit the last three months and the recruiter says "You left job X three months ago, what have you been up to?"  any great answer you may have will be overlaid (in the recruiter's mind) with the thought "This resume is incomplete.  What else is not right here?"   That thought will not help you get the job.

There's nothing wrong with saying you realised the role/company wasn't for you if you say it sensibly.  A couple years ago I hired a person who hated her current role and company and told me so.  But her answer indicated she had learned from it and was now totally focussed on what would be an ideal job and organisation for her.   I hired her and she's become something of a rock star - totally focussed and happy with her work.  Everybody won.



donm's picture

So there you have it. Three hiring managers with three different answers.

I think all of us can agree, though, that three months on a job is going to be a negative on its face, regardless of your reason for leaving. Sure, you might be able to put a good or acceptable face on it, but until you explain it away, it's going to be a minus.

GlennR's picture

Wow! As comedians say when no one laughs at their jokes, "Tough room! :-)

If you are not happy where you are and you realize you've made a mistake, then for the sake of your sanity, begin your job search. Life is too short to stick in a toxic environment for most of your waking hours.

Yes, it will be difficult to explain why you're leaving now. Prepare for it. I recommend being honest. Tell the truth and when you finish your story, point out that your resume does not show a pattern of job skipping, in fact, you were at your last position for five years.

Speaking for myself only, I would ask you about the three months. If you told me the truth and I believed you, I would not hold it against you. But if I detected the faintest amount of dishonesty reflected either verbally or in body language or eye contact, you would quickly lose out.

Show some results while in this position. Chances are, it will take you a few months to gain an interview. Perhaps then you'll be able to say, "Even though I've been in this position only six months, I've been able to accomplish X."

Perhaps you will lose out a few times. But you won't find another position unless you seek it out.

Somewhere our there are managers who will understand that everyone makes mistakes and they will not attach as much importance to this position as others. Probably because they made the same mistakes as well.

Keep a positive attitude and focus on results and relationships.

Good luck to you



donm's picture

I'm sorry that I am revisiting this, but I cannot keep myself from doing it.

When you quit after a very short period of time from a viable company, you're telling the next interviewer these three things:

  1. I have poor decision-making skills.
  2. Anything we agree to today has a three month expiration date.
  3. When put in a tough position, I quit.

Why wouldn't you invest at least another 9 months to erase those negatives? I think you'll be regretting them for a lot longer than 9 months if you don't. Unless you have some superb skills in short supply, or you are going for a position where there is a ton of turnover, you're shooting yourself in the foot. You're getting a paycheck. If the boss is as bad as you say, maybe they're looking for someone who steps up so they can replace him. Maybe another opening will come up in the same place that you can move to laterally.

I don't like quitters. I promoted a guy because he entered 2000 different codes to break a password no one had (9999 format). He saved a customer thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars and made us look good.  I wouldn't even ask someone with a history as a quitter to attempt something like that. Sometimes, getting the job done means just plodding forward in the face of constant opposition. If you aren't willing to do that, you probably won't make it in the long run at any organization.