How To Leave Your Job After 3 Months (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 11, 2020

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When you land a job, it’s typically recommended to stay with that employment for at least a year. But when you end up in a job that you dislike, it’s hard to take that advice to heart. Even though job-hopping is less of a red flag than it was in recent years, leaving a job only a few months into your employment can be stressful and even raise a few eyebrows.

However, staying in a job for the sake of staying in a job isn’t always a great idea. When you feel burnt out, taken advantage of, or have lost passion for your work, these are tell-tale signs that it’s time to get out.

Although you might feel guilty or worried about your future, the reality is that often what’s best for you is also best for the company down the road. You don’t want to be in a job you dislike, and the company doesn’t want to have employees who are no longer enthusiastic about their jobs.

Still, leaving a job after such a short period could be a mistake. Here are a few considerations to make before deciding to quit your job after only a few months.

Carefully Decide Whether to Resign

Deciding to leave can be the most challenging part of the entire process. When you land a job initially, you may feel excited and enthusiastic about your role and what you can accomplish with your new company.

However, after spending some time doing your job, you may come across some grievances that make your work more difficult or downright unenjoyable. The tricky part is to decide whether you can live with or fix them, or if they’re too troubling to make it work.

Most employers understand when conducting interviews with people who have a short employment period at a given job. However, it’s important not to make it a habit. You don’t want your resume sprinkled with three-months, all at different jobs. It’s essential to maintain some level of consistency.

However, sometimes there are just instances where it makes sense to leave after only a few months on any given job. Here are some things that may sway your decision:

  • You land your dream job. This is a widespread reason to leave a job after just a short time. It’s not a sin to admit you need to take a job only for the paycheck, hoping for your dream job somewhere later in your career journey.

    If your dream job or company comes knocking, it’s important not to let those opportunities slip past you. If you’re passionate about the potential opportunity, be honest with your current employer. Chances are they will understand and be encouraging that you should chase your dreams.

  • Consider leaving it off your resume. Depending on how much time you spend at any given job, you ultimately get to decide if you want to include it on your resume.

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time
    Internship
    Temporary

    If the job is an in-between job to make ends meet or something you’d rather not discuss in an interview, it’s perfectly acceptable to leave it off your resume. Don’t let the thought of needing to keep the company on your resume sway you from deciding to make the leap.

  • You feel uncomfortable. If someone you work with is making you feel uncomfortable in any way, it’s crucial to speak to human resources (HR). However, this may not always solve the problem.

    It is never okay for another employee, manager, or executive to make you feel uncomfortable at your place of employment. This is a legitimate reason to leave your job.

  • It just isn’t working out. Perhaps there is no specific reason you can put your finger on, but the job simply isn’t working for you or your employer.

    This can happen when the employer or employee doesn’t do enough research into what would make a good job fit or if the new candidate fits in with the work culture. There’s no need to have a specific reason. If it’s not working, you’ll know – and chances are, your employer will too.

The Best Way to Quit a Job You Just Started

Once you’ve made the difficult decision to leave your new job, it’s time to start giving some thought to how you’re going to resign. It might be tempting just to walk away, stop showing up for work, and forget the employment ever happened at all.

But this is not a great idea. You never want to leave a bad impression on anyone, even if you hated the job. You never know who you may run across later in your career.

Prepare yourself for a difficult conversation with your boss. They will ask questions like why you’ve decided to quit, what company you might be leaving for, and even try to talk you out of it.

Give yourself some time to practice for questions you anticipate may come and have firm answers ready. Also, be prepared to have a formal resignation letter to hand in.

How to Resign

In order to resign professionally from any job, two-weeks notice is typically the respectful time period to give any employer. However, it depends on the company and your position. More senior positions could require four-weeks notice, depending on the circumstances.

Approach your boss calmly, and provide them with a tangible reason as to why you are leaving. You don’t need to be overly specific such as airing grievances with other employees or company policy. Your best bet is to keep the conversation simple, straightforward, and concise. Your manager may ask you a variety of questions, so be prepared to answer them.

Your manager may also try to convince you to stay or that things might change. Depending on your circumstances, you may consider them and even rethink your decision to leave.

However, if you are confident that you want to leave the company, it’s best to offer a transition plan to help them ease into finding a new candidate for your position or keep up with your workload after you leave. This keeps you on good terms with your employer and gives you an easy and firm plan to ensure you leave the conversation with what you want.

Consider Options for Staying

Depending on your reasons for quitting, you may be open to considering staying either as a full-time employee, part-time employee, or contractor.

When you sit down to speak with your manager, let them know what you feel could have helped you continue your employment. If it’s something like a responsibilities shift or swapping projects, you might be able to reasonably get what you want without needing to leave the job.

Similarly, you may be interested in leaving the job due to the number of hours you’re working or the number of responsibilities on your plate. In these instances, you can suggest consulting or freelance work. This allows you to continue employment, but you’ll be able to set your own rates and hours while still helping out the company.

You may also be interested in staying with the company, but not with the specific team you work with. This can also be an option if your business is willing to give you the opportunity. Explore open opportunities on your company’s website or with the human resources department.

Typically, there is a process to leave your current job and apply for another position within the company, so be sure to follow your organization’s protocol.

What to Say When You Quit

What you say to your employer when you resign will depend on your reasoning for leaving. Every job and every employee is different. It’s okay to dive into some specifics, but going too deep can open up a can of worms.

Start respectfully by sitting down with your manager in a quiet space or on a face-to-face virtual call. Don’t beat around the bush; let them know what the meeting is for and that you are resigning. Give them a reason, but finesse the specifics as best you can.

For example, you could say, “I realized after starting that I wasn’t going to be able to work with the level of self-sufficiency we’d discussed during my interview.” Or, “We’d discussed the importance of a work-life balance and how important it is for the company. However, it’s turned out that the majority of our employees work seven-day weeks. With two children to care for, it’s just not manageable for my life right now.”

If you’re sure about leaving, don’t let them talk you out of it or make you think that you’re being unreasonable. Stick to your guns and have a plan. Don’t worry about any criticism or judgment that might come your way, especially if you have a solid job history.

Sometimes, we need to learn lessons in our own way. Moving forward, you’ll be more likely to look for red flags, so you don’t end up in a job where you’re unhappy again.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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