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How long do you have to be in a job before it's acceptable to leave?

(82 Posts)
leicestershiregirl Thu 11-Aug-11 21:58:33

Please can anybody advise me?

I'm tempted to leave my job but I'm worried that I've not been in it long enough and to leave now would look bad on my already less-than-impressive CV.

I'm a nursing assistant, part-time, and have been in post for nearly 8 months. I realised not long after starting that it's not for me, but I thought I'd better stay for at least a year - the longest I've ever stayed in any job is 8 months exactly, I'm aware this looks flaky and I don't have anybody I can rely on for a solid work reference (my old boss wrote me a reference for this job but I was surprised she did as I was there for just 5 months).

A friend of mine thinks a year is not long enough to prove I've got staying power but the thought of working there any longer than that seriously depresses me. I'm thinking about continuing to work at the hospital but applying for a different role e.g. in admin - would this count as a new job to future employers or would it just be seen as an internal transfer?

I would feel very unsure about asking my current boss for a reference because I've not exactly been Employee of the Month in this job - it's difficult to be motivated about something my heart isn't really in, though that's no excuse (by the way I'm talking about things like being late, not things that would impact on patient care - please be assured I look after my patients well and take my duties in that regard very seriously). I do a lot of voluntary work for a couple of charities and am totally on top of that because it's about more than just earning money. Guess I would do that for a living if I was able to (I thought if I got into admin I could maybe ultimately get a job as an administrator for a charity and enter the voluntary sector that way. But also think I would like working with kids).

Earlybird Thu 11-Aug-11 22:01:33

If you don't mind me asking: how old are you? Do you have a family to support?

How many hours per week is part time?

Is it that you don't like being a nursing assistant, or that you don't like this position/this boss?

crystalglasses Thu 11-Aug-11 22:05:46

Applying for an admin role within your organisation with a view to it leading to similar with a charity seems entirely credible to me and would look good on your CV.

leicestershiregirl Thu 11-Aug-11 22:14:43

I'm 28, work 16 hours a week, have one child and a partner who works full-time. Being an NA is not right for me, it's not just this position.

Ungratefulchild Thu 11-Aug-11 22:17:29

Listen, if you really hate a job leave. life is way too short to be totally miserable at work.

DamselInDisarray Thu 11-Aug-11 22:22:07

Why not apply for other jobs while continuing in this one and then leave when you get something better. That's what people usually do. Just give a positive reason for wanting the new job on your application.

aquos Thu 11-Aug-11 22:22:46

I think anything less than 2 years looks bad on your CV. But you're still quite young and still finding your feet career wise so you can probably get away with it. An internal move could be written up vaguely on your CV to convey a longish stint with the same employer.

Earlybird Thu 11-Aug-11 22:25:50

Agree with damsel but think you really need to perform better/more reliably in your current job if you are expecting/need a reference from your current boss in order to transfer internally to another position.

Would think you need to be in current position for one year - so that gives you 4 months to improve the impression your current boss has of you. Hopefully, you can find motivation if you keep in mind you have a long term plan to move on...

annh Thu 11-Aug-11 23:32:37

So if you are 28 and have never worked for longer than 8 months in a job, how many jobs does that mean you have had? Were they all in related areas or completely different roles? It's fine to be brave enough to realise that a particular career/working area is not for you but to do it over and over suggests that either you need some guidance on what really motivates and interests you or you just don't like work per se!

leicestershiregirl Fri 12-Aug-11 00:04:55

In no particular order, as an adult I've had a gap year, done a degree, had two years out to have my little boy, worked 8 months in one teaching assistant job, 5 months in another TA job, 3 months for an education agency as a TA, done 8 months of a nursing course (including practical placements) and done my current job for 8 months. So basically two areas: education and healthcare.

Hmmm...guess I get twitchy around the 8 month mark!

scottishmummy Fri 12-Aug-11 00:08:57

whats degree in,what job does it lead to.dont you want to work in what your degree qualified you for

leicestershiregirl Fri 12-Aug-11 09:12:24

Degree was in politics so didn't qualify me for anything. Have never once considered a career in politics - it's uber-competitive and you have to be based in London. Always thought I'd become a teacher but working as a TA (in secondary schools) put me off.

HattiFattner Fri 12-Aug-11 09:20:00

Id agree that anything less than 2 years is a no-no for employers - especially now, when there are 40 applicants for every job.

Id say get over yourself, start working really hard at your job, turn up on time, do what needs to be done. Because a) you might start enjoying it more b) your boss might start giving you more responsibility/more interesting stuff to do.

I think we have been sold a dream that somehow our jobs have to be super rewarding right from the get go. EVERYONE has days when they hate their job. But you have to work through it and get some good references on your CV if you are to find your new, better, dream job. In the meantime, go to any additional courses you want, beef up that CV by showing willing and learning as much as you can. This time next year, if you are still unhappy, start looking around for something new, take your time about looking.

leicestershiregirl Fri 12-Aug-11 09:35:54

Two years?!

It's definitely not going to get more interesting - the most senior nursing assistant has been there 30 years and still only does what I do.

I don't expect a job to be super rewarding from the start but it's been five years since I graduated and I kinda feel I've paid my dues albeit not all in the same job. Also I struggle with the fact that there's been a big gap between my voluntary work and my paid work - voluntarily I've taken on lots of responsibility, managed volunteers, managed budgets, decided on strategy etc., but employers just don't seem interested in this. It's like if you're not paid for it it's not real.

DamselInDisarray Fri 12-Aug-11 09:49:54

Why did you only do 8 months of the nursing course. Or is it still ongoing?

To be honest, your employment/education history does sound quite aimless and it's really hard to get a decent job (or any job) without convincing those doing the recruiting that you know what you want and are driven to get there. If I were looking at your application, I'd be wondering why you hadn't gone for a pgce, for example, using your TA experience to help the application. You worked for 2 school years (or close to it) as a TA, then moved away from education entirely. You'll need to account for this in a way that doesn't make you sound fickle and immature.

No one is going to employ someone that they don't think will stick at anything, particularly if they haven't impressed previous bosses.

I think even an internal transfer to a totally different area of work might be tough to sell to prospective employers, because it looks like you tried out education and then healthcare and were just moving on to try something else instead. It would make a recruitment panel think you're likely to decide that you're bored of admin now and want to be, say, a beauty therapist or a plumber or something else entirely unrelated in a few months and go off to try your hand at that.

As much as you dislike your job now, I think you need to stick at it. We all have to stick with things we don't enjoy sometimes. Work hard, impress your boss and use this time to really decide what it is you want to do. Once you've properly decided (not just toying with an idea but really, truly know that it's what you want), you can work out how to get there (will you need qualifications or particular kinds of experience).

Use your charity work to balance out disliking your job and devise a plan to get somewhere you want to be in the medium term.

DamselInDisarray Fri 12-Aug-11 09:51:15

You'll need to drop the attitude of feeling you've paid your dues too. Honestly, any hint of that coming through will make you almost unemployable.

HattiFattner Fri 12-Aug-11 09:53:02

Then I have to say you look like you are expecting us to validate a decision you have already made.

You are being naive if you think you can just walk into a fabulous job with a CV that shows you cannot work for a company for more than 8 months. As an employer, I'd want to know why y ou cant stick at anything. Id be questioning if you left or if you were pushed. Especially if there are few referees....

SO you can go ahead and move from job to job and never have any kind of career, be constantly bored and disillusioned about your work life OR you can suck it up and sit tight for another 5-6 months minimum to bolster your CV, get a great reference, and take your time about your next move. Tell yourself that your NEXT move has to be for at least 2 years, so make sure you get it right this time. While you are waiting for that job to be there, do whatever it takes to be a better employee with a great track record. WHen the prospective employer phones your current employer, you want them gushing about your reliability and good work ethic, not saying "well, she's good with the clients but she has a major attitude problem and her time keeping is appalling".

There are thousands of graduates out there doing all sorts of voluntary work in the hope of getting a full time role doing anything. You are competing with them. You have to make yourself look better than those bright eyed youngsters. The only thing you will have in your favour is your work experience - which a lot of thse graduates are going to be willing to do for free just to get the experience.

scottishmummy Fri 12-Aug-11 10:02:23

"paid your dues" what a laothsome attitude
you have a demonstrable inability to stick jobs,but somehow you dont think this is down to you.sorry to break it to you,but plenty grads work away in Mcjobs or something to build up for hope of something better. you need to realistically get a job you like and stick to it

and tbh admin from hca isnt same all.same employer maybe,but is not another new start,another new job

didldidi Fri 12-Aug-11 10:08:36

people with an admin background would struggle to get an admin job at the moment let alone someone with no experience in that area.

dunkindonut Fri 12-Aug-11 10:47:25

Oh, don't listen to this lot of doom mongers!

At the end of the day, you're doing a job you don't enjoy which isn't going to benefit you or your clients. My advice to you would be to stick with it while you look for another job. If you want to try admin then the most logical move would be to a job within the hospital you work. You could put a positive twist on this by saying that you love working in the hospital but working as a care assistant just isn't really for you. You could add value to this by talking about the charity admin work you do outside work. When you have a bit more experience you can move into that sector if you so choose. In the meantime, put in your very best effort in your current job and keep reminding yourself it won't be for too much longer.

The NHS is great for Mums in terms of flexible jobs with part-time hours so I would think carefully about transferring to another sector (nigh on an impossibility in business).

I've had loads of jobs and doing various different things. I wouldn't necessarily recommend chopping and changing all the time but I have never had a problem finding a job. Times are hard at the moment but you only need one job! I would say though that you may be a bit like me and never feel 100% happy at work - slightly depressing I know!

Best of luck. Let us know how you get on.


leicestershiregirl Fri 12-Aug-11 10:49:46

Bugger. Why do I always forget how judgemental people are on Mumsnet? I'm just saying how I feel. I can't be alone in having tried one area - education - and found it's not for me, then tried another area - healthcare - and found that's also not for me. Are you supposed to get it right first time at the age of 22?

What's lovely is that when you already feel like a failure you can always count on coming on here and having people tell you you definitely are one. Why do people have to slag other people off online? Maybe I'll never have a decent job but at least I'm a reasonably nice person who doesn't feel the need to be rude to people I've never met.

I don't want a fabulous job, just a tolerable one that pays at least a little more than the minimum wage and uses my brain a bit. But I didn't originally post to find out how to get a good job, I just wanted to know how long I have to stay in my current job.

scottishmummy Fri 12-Aug-11 10:53:49

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

CaptainNancy Fri 12-Aug-11 11:02:24

As an employee, I would be unlikely to emply someone with 5 different employments, none of which were over a year- unless there were some serious mitigatng circumstances.

It just looks as if you can't settle to anything, and employers want people that are committed to work.

But if you move to another sector you will be starting at the bottom again you know. Is it worth trying a different employer?

leicestershiregirl Fri 12-Aug-11 11:18:46

What if I moved back to education? I liked being a TA, I just didn't want to become a teacher. Have thought about going back with a view to gaining Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) status.

scottishmummy Fri 12-Aug-11 11:24:05

why on earth are you asking strangers?figure it yiurself
why did you leave TA in 1st place? what compelled you to pack it in?why does it suddenly seem rosy again one on-line knows your temperament,skills or interest.
what is clear is you do have an eratic job pattern.and na to admin to return to ta,well flighty

good luck finding what you some rl (not mn) reflection
can you talk to other people rl or shadow a job you interested in

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