Bust that myth: You've got to stay in a job for at least a year

Look who's talking: If I had a penny for every time I'd been told "you’ve got to stay in a job at least a year,” I’d be living in the Caribbean drinking cocktails by an infinity pool rather than overlooking a damp and grey Birmingham skyline while I tap out my nuggets of wisdom on my laptop.

First things first, look who’s talking when they’re saying this to you as well as what’s in it for them if you stay or go.

If it’s your boss, then chances are they’re saying this for one of two reasons:

I know this sounds cynical, but let’s be real because business is business. If your boss says this to you, they are conscious of two things: The attrition rate of their department or business (high staff turnover is bad in any business) and costs.

It might sound harsh, but it costs that business time and money if you leave. To find, hire and train up your replacement. This is why your boss (and colleagues if they’ll have to cover your role) will be keeping a focused eye on keeping you on-board: frankly, it’s their cheaper and least disruptive option.

My experience: So, each time I heard this, I got a little better at handling it. And, happily, I had a lot of practice.

Calm politeness but clear focus is essential in your professional repertoire at any time, but on this one, they really come into their own.

Early on, I remember distinctly a boss of mine towering over me and saying I’d only been in the job nine months, and I was silly (yes, really that’s what I was told) to even consider leaving before I’d done a year at the very least but two years before I’d look even vaguely credible for other companies to hire me.

Remaining calm, I simply said, I understand that’s your opinion, but I’ve actually had offers from two other companies who feel that my current experience is perfectly credible for the role they are considering me for, and they’re not worried that I’ve not been here a year.

Look who’s talking even when it’s friends. Change can and does make many people uncomfortable – friends are no exception here.

No, they won’t have skin in the game the way your boss does, but they will have their own views on change and ideas of what they’re doing and why.

You contemplating or making changes can reflect onto them because it highlights that they are not making leaps or shifts themselves. Ultimately you’re being brave and taking action, and they’re not.

I often found this with friends who moan about their work but don’t choose to make any changes. The year-long myth is a strong one for people who are averse to change because it enables them to lock into a situation that they may not even like because this year-in-a-job-myth is a fact. By believing in the myth, they give themselves the option to opt-out of choosing change.

What you can do:

1. Test the water – send out CVs and call and speak to recruiters. Be open about your situation and why you want to move on.

2. Get comfortable talking about it – I have not once lost a role because of a short stint on my CV. Not once. If I was ever asked why I was looking to move on or why I’d had a shorter stint on my CV, I was honest, clear, and enthusiastic.

3. True friends will ultimately want you to be happy and so will support you, just be mindful of not making statements that sound judgemental. Your choice to change is just as valid as their choice to remain in their situation. It’s all a choice.

Stay tuned for busting myth two and three in the next posts!

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