Twentysomething: Why it’s smart to quit a job after just two weeks of work

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This is a guest post from Jamie Varon. She’s 23 years old. Her blog is called intersected.

Not too long ago, I started a new job, in which I moved my self from point A (college town) to point B (Bay Area). This was supposed to be my career launch. It took me about two weeks to admit to myself that I was unhappy. So I quit.

I had the security of knowing I could go back to my parents’ house to live. (Which, by the way, is such a good idea that 65% of new grads do it.) Here are five reasons why I am sure it was a smart decision to quit my job after just two weeks:

1. Your job performance will be terrible if you hate your job.

If you hate your job from the beginning, then you will never fully dedicate yourself. In fact, you’ll resent both the company and yourself for staying at a job that you knew you didn’t like early on.

I get it: You have this desire to prove to yourself that you are capable of sticking it out. Or you’re worried that this makes you a complete failure and you have given up. So what? You learn from your failure. You learn from that mistake. You’ll end up quitting at some point soon, so why draw it out?

2. You’ll have more respect for yourself if you respond to your needs.

Once I admitted to myself that I hated my job, I worried that if I didn’t quit this job immediately, even if I had no backup plan, that I would be setting myself up to allow negative situations into my life. If you know that going to your job will make you stressed, unhappy, and angry, every single day, then continuing to go is being disrespectful to your well-being. The more you continue to disregard your own feelings, the further away you get from happiness.

When we’re in our twenties we need to learn about who we are and what we like, so that we can find a work life we are passionate about. Staying in a job you hate doesn’t help.

3. You’ll prove your commitment to passion and engagement at work.

Quitting that job after two weeks is actually one of my proudest moments. I think it shows that I have integrity and passion. I understand the fact that productivity comes more easily in the face of happiness. Quitting quickly is showing impatience for a meaningful work life. Everyone should be impatient for that.

Also, people who switching jobs regularly makes people more engaged in their work. This makes sense. If you stay in a job for a long stretch of time, your learning curve goes down and things do not feel as new and stimulating.

4. You’ll do the company a favor.

If you stay unhappy at a job and then quit after, say, six months, the company will probably never know that you had hated your stint there. When you quit a job after two weeks, the company will notice and question what they had done to push you away so quickly. (A smart company, at least.)

Employees at, Apple, for example, produce the best products in the world because they are passionate about the company’s mission. You are not helping the company by staying at a position you hate when someone else may be better suited for it who will, no doubt, excel, while you are just getting by. Do the company a favor and quit so they can reevaluate their training, that position, and their hiring strategy, so the next person doesn’t want to jump ship after a week.

5. You’ll set yourself up for success.

High performing employees in companies like GE, Proctor & Gamble and UBS all get to rotate through a wide range of jobs at the beginning of their career. This is because job-hopping is a great way to build skills early in one’s career. We should all have that chance. There are no rules that say you need to stay at a job that is not teaching you enough.

And there are no rules that say how long it takes a person to know a job is not right. But there is a rule for who succeeds and who doesn’t: People who have self-confidence, respect, good teamwork instincts, and a sense of when it’s time to cut their losses; these are the people who succeed. That’s why high-performers leave bad jobs after just two weeks at work.

This is a guest post from Jamie Varon. She’s 23 years old. Her blog is called intersected.

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  1. jrandom42
    jrandom42 says:

    On point 5: How much can you learn from a job that you’ve only been at for two weeks, other than you hate it?

    • Laura
      Laura says:

      I’ve only been at my current job for two weeks, and other than learning I hate it I have learned that I am pretty good at folding clothes, and am plenty good at helping customers find clothing pieces that look great on them. (It’s my first retail job, so I’ve never had that experience before.) I also now know how to run a register, and use an earpiece. So there is plenty to learn even from a job you hate after only two weeks.

    • Paul
      Paul says:

      Amen @Lola.

      Your 20s are the time to discover yourself?? Figure out what you want to do? I always thought that’s what COLLEGE was for!


  2. ScottS
    ScottS says:

    You’ll think this is a good idea until your 22-year-old daughter shows up at your front door with her suitcase in hand, announcing that she’s moving back in with you.

    Maybe I’m an old guy (that not uncoincidentally has a 22-year-old daughter back living at home), but I just don’t understand how you can have more respect for yourself living at your parent’s house than actually working for a living.

    It’s a good thing for my daughter’s sake that I busted my butt all of these years at a stressful and difficult job so that she’d have a place to come back to so that she can “respect her well-being”. What a sucker I am.

    • Jay
      Jay says:

      I just don’t understand how you can have more respect for yourself living at your parent’s house than actually working for a living.

      And nor should you have to understand. The important question here: Do you trust her, or would you rather see her happiness or happiness trampled underfoot?

      It’s a good thing for my daughter’s sake that I busted my butt all of these years at a stressful and difficult job so that she’d have a place to come back to so that she can “respect her well-being”. What a sucker I am.

      Is that how you really feel? Like a sucker? What’s to say that she wouldn’t be “respecting her well-being” without your support? Perhaps you should try talking, rather than approaching her as an inexplicable burden?

      Just a thought.

    • Taylor
      Taylor says:

      Hey! Boomers and X’s take another look at this brilliant girl Jamie. I read her story. She worked her way through college as the business admin inside the college, worked as a grocery clerk and had a full schedule at college. All the while winning first place awards for marketing and graduated top of her class.

      She worked in Chico for a coffee distubutor after college. She wanted to be on her own, have an apartment and have her own identity. She was much to over quaified for that position. But she stuck it out. She had always dreamed of working for a great company so she decided to see what she could find in SF area and found a company she liked. She had an interview with this seemed to be great company in SF and as it turned out the interview lasted 3 hours. They hired her on the spot and they said they wanted her the next day to start working, but she had to give her other job 2 weeks notice. She uprooted her whole life of 6 years in Chico to a new life in SF. After one week of working at this company, at 16 hours a day and the weekend she found that everything they told her about working there was a lie. She found out the owners tell people things at the company but they never follow through with anything. She found that her co-workers hated thier jobs and that the turn-over was out of control. They had lied to her about what she was hired for and gave her high hopes of advancement and opportunities but that was a lie too.
      She was brilliant to understand the happenings of this company so soon. She figured this out early on and wanted out before she would lose herself and dignity. If people were more like her it would a happier world. But now I see that boomers and X’s are self destructive and idiots and they do not know themselves. The Gen Y generation wants more because they see that the older generation just settle. They don’t take risks and they are cowards. They would rather stay at a company for 6 months and waste that companys time and money rather move on to a richer and more fulfilling happy exsistance. I am positive that Jamie will be successful and be an asset to any company she works for. She is an inspiration to all who know of her.

      NOTE: I would be proud to her Mother

      • Billy
        Billy says:

        You go Taylor!

        I think what we’re seeing here is a changing of the guard. Many of these folks believe that the world is still as it was, you know: “don’t rock the boat, never burn your bridges.” Meanwhile, these same corporations that we should suffer at, will cut you loose in a heartbeat if it’s to their or the shareholders benefit. Ask the employees at AIG, Lehman Bros, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and company how they feel about being pink slipped while their bosses arrange to take home 100s of millions of dollars in bonuses even as they’ve horribly mismanaged the future of those firms. The times have changed.

        Personally, if my daughter came back in that situation, I would welcome her with open arms. She’s the most perfect thing that I’ve ever done in this life and our door will always be open for her, no questions asked. So I agree with you 100%, she’s worked hard, given it her best shot, been mislead and now needs to regroup a bit. That’s what parents are there for, fortunately for her, her Dad’s name isn’t Scott.

        Good luck to you Jamie and good on you Taylor for telling it like it is!

      • tamryn
        tamryn says:

        I agree with Taylor that it is important to know the full story. Two scenarios-1)Person who never “sticks” with anything, little motivation and no sense of personal responsibility. 2)Person with sense of integrity, drive and focus who identifies right away that a mistake has been made. If its #2 and you learn from the mistake and it drives you to actively pursue your Sustainable Passion, you are better off than many!
        I posted today about this in An Open Letter To My Daughters.
        Best of luck Jamie!

      • RL
        RL says:

        I have had several interviews lately and I would never trust a company or any other type of employer (government, non-profit) who offers an applicant the job on the spot/in the interview. I had this happened to me just two days ago. When I said tactfully that I didn’t think that the position was a good fit, the interviewer ended up trying to talk me into accepting the position (and no, this was not a fast-food job or similar type). The interviewer then made several generalizations to convince me that this was the “only” job for me. Um, no it isn’t/wasn’t and I’ve actually turned down two interviews over the past couple of months because I know I wouldn’t be happy there and thus wouldn’t do a good job, so I think what “intersected” is saying has a lot of value. I also base this conclusion off a job I accepted five years b/c I needed the salary (I have no parents or family that I can temporarily live with then or now) and I ended up getting fired after 11 months of pure misery. Seriously, the place where I worked at should be where they send prisoners to serve their time. I knew two weeks into the job it was the wrong position and organization for me and I wish I’d quit then. Although I learned a lot about myself from the experience, I wish I had quit two weeks into it b/c when I have to explain the “reason for leaving” for it on job applications, I wonder if it negatively effects me. (I don’t lie about it). Just a few things to consider. These days I am happy to stay in the temporary position that I have and spend my job-hunting time ONLY applying to positions that I think I can perform well in both for my sake and my employer’s. I hope that these comments can help someone out there.

      • Halla Back
        Halla Back says:

        From what I remember is she was never a business admin and instead made posters and browsed the net looking for fonts. Mostly she spent a lot of time on Facebook and MySpace honing her “skills”. well, i mean when she wasn’t hung over from her nightly drinking. lord knows she already had the social aspect down.

        and lets not forget, her entire marketing team hated her.

        still proud, Mom?

  3. Ron Graham
    Ron Graham says:

    I quit a job after two weeks too, but I don’t believe the company felt I was doing them a favor. (I was, as indicated in the post.) They are not contemplative enough to consider the possibility that they did something – actually, many things – wrong. They will only be pissed off for having to replace me.

    Companies are no more likely than individual people to improve their attitudes or practices when something negative happens.

  4. shelenbrook
    shelenbrook says:

    Organizational theory and its supporting body of research consistently show that it takes an individual an average of 3 months to assimilate into an organization.

    When someone quits a job after two weeks, and it’s their “first” job at that, as a hiring manager, I don’t see a want for passion, or a need for meaningful work, I see someone who got a big dose of reality and couldn’t swallow it.

    • Taylor
      Taylor says:

      Are you kidding where do people get thier facts!!!!Organizational theory NONSENSE…. Who are you to say this. You don’t even know this girl or the situation. Maybe if you research the situation of what happened to this girl you would know why she left this job. Wow these smarty pants people think they know-it-all. They research all their world books of organization skills and such but don’t research the person to see the real facts. Shame on you smarty pants. Some people live by passion and what matters. You are as cold as your books. Jamie is Brilliant!!!!! Find out Why!!!

    • Jess
      Jess says:

      I’m a Gen Y and I think that there is no way you can know if you love/ hate a job after 2 weeks. You simply haven’t given the job a chance. What a short sighted post.

      • H
        H says:

        I’m Generation X, and a little older than you, and I disagree with you. I’ve had the direct, live experience of knowing the first DAY a job wasn’t right for me, and years of doing it both ways: scenario a) staying with it awhile to see if my gut feeling was correct or not, and scenario b) GTHOI, otherwise known as Get The H–l Out Immediately. At the ripe age of probably two decades older than you, I vote b. First impressions are never wrong, and at 42, I have yet to see them mistaken about even one job.

        In a world where stress – especially job stress – and office politics lead to cancer, heart attacks and other insurance-draining maladies – and even to death – I for one vote never to give a bad job the benefit of the doubt. If it makes your gut clench, get outta there. Something new and better always comes along.

        Gut instinct is never wrong.

      • Amber
        Amber says:

        It is very possible to hate/love a job after one week. Have you ever done telemarketing? During my first day of training I wanted to poke my eyeballs out with a pencil. I know this is an old post and normally I’m 100% quitting a job after the first week, but I’m absolutely miserable. I call it my “hell” job. I don’t think anyone deserves more than a week in Hell.

    • Sarah
      Sarah says:

      Sometimes people just know instantly that something is wrong, and it has a profound effect on them. I think she’s got guts for leaving. Yeah, it’s always nice to be able to have a cushion-home-and maybe some spoiled younger people just don’t want to work to begin with so they give up, but this girl is not an example of that. Just by reading her post you can tell she’s got a good head on her shoulders, and obviously she felt moved enough by this to write about it!

      I say leave her the hell alone. She’s 23 and learning and it can be a bitter shock to take a first job that threatens your sense of reality, like, “holy s***, is this what work is like?” It doesn’t help to then have the older generation confirming that, yes, work is supposed to suck, because I think that’s just ridiculous. We’re moving into an error when there are only so many industries and jobs to choose from, so the idea that you just have to work to make a living is BS.

  5. Lance Haun
    Lance Haun says:

    Oh my, I might as well get in on this one early.

    Two weeks? You didn’t learn anything. You didn’t know if you were happy or sad because you didn’t know anything about the job. I can’t recall a time I’ve fired someone after two weeks unless they stopped showing up or they did something illegal.

    I have to laugh at the comparison to rotation programs at big corporations. Most of these have six rotations in a 18-24 month period. That’s a rotation every three to four months. Math time: that is six to eight times longer then you spent unhappy at your job. From the people I know who have gone through the programs, they wish they had more time in almost every rotation.

    A good company is simply going to figure out how to identify flakes who are going to quit after two weeks on the job. You wasted the company’s time and probably enforced some nice stereotypes about Gen Y’s commitment. I guess those of us who stick it out for a whole six months (wow, that’s commitment!) are the suckers though.

    • Taylor
      Taylor says:

      You Obviously don’t know anything about Gen Y’s generation. You must be a Boomer. We saw what it did to your generation and we are out to fix it. We are going to be true to ourselves and NOT waste the companies money or our time. Don’t confuse brilliance with your twisted undocumented facts.

      Jamie is brilliant!!!! She gives alot of people inspiration and hope. Check her out and get the real story and facts. Huge Fan!!!

      • Lance Haun
        Lance Haun says:


        See, the funny part is you didn’t get the facts. I am Gen Y. That fact is a lot easier to find than her entire story.

        Besides that, this isn’t fixing anything. This is perpetuating myths about Gen Y’s lack of loyalty and sense of effort in the face of challenges.

        I have been writing about MY generation for almost four years. I have a fairly good understanding of where everyone comes from on these sorts of issues and how people in positions of power view it.

      • Lynne
        Lynne says:

        Taylor, it’s great that you are a supporter of Jamie and her blog, but I doubt that shouting about her brilliance (at least that’s what it sounds like when I read all the exclamation points) convinces anyone.

    • Justin Pickard
      Justin Pickard says:

      So – how long would you wait? Six months?

      That’s a lot of time, particularly for those who could be looking for employment elsewhere. Employment they might be happier with.

      • Lance Haun
        Lance Haun says:

        Maybe six months is a long time Justin. You’re assuming a person doesn’t get anything from a bad employment experience. You should ask Penelope about bad work experiences (it has given her a lot of fodder for this blog and her book).

        You also can’t assume the next opportunity is going to be better. The question shouldn’t be how many months are you going to stay with a bad job but how many hops are you going to make in the face of adversity? If you have a variety of two week to six month jobs over the course of five years, very few employers are going to want to be the 10th hop (on your way to the 11th). The one’s that don’t care often think of their own employees as disposable so they could care less because they are going to treat you like shit anyway.

        Maybe that’s what a person wants. I don’t know. But I know when employees expect their employer to bend over backwards for them and the employee doesn’t do the same, the employer isn’t stupid. They figure this out and fix it.

  6. ChrisS
    ChrisS says:

    This sounds great, unless of course you have student loans to pay off and other bills to take care of.

    • eliz
      eliz says:

      I don’t think Jamie was advocating becoming a permanent fixture on her parents’ couch. Her message is to quit for a job that’s a better fit.

  7. Anna
    Anna says:

    What ever happened to giving things a chance? Isn’t that what our parents taught us to do…with the after-school activity we weren’t crazy about, the new neighbor we didn’t like, the college roommate who got on our nerves right away?

    Two weeks isn’t a good time frame to gauge your feelings about your new job. If anyone tells me, after two weeks at their new job, that they love their job, but answer would be “give it time.” I’d say the same if they told me they hated their job. I’ve been at my current job for a year and a half. Not only have my job duties changed vastly in that time, but so have my relationships with my co-workers, my office, etc.

    If after 6 months at your job, you still hate it, then fine. Quit. You’re still in a short enough time frame that your boss will notice and ask questions. And you’ll probably be better for the experience, whether positive or negative.

  8. IMK
    IMK says:

    Hahaha, I have to agree with others before me – this does sound lame and immature. Unless there was violence or illegal actions, you just can’t get that unhappy in two weeks. Plus, when mom and dad are not around any longer to take you back home and provide for your food and shelter, you might think twice before recommending quitting.

  9. tipperella
    tipperella says:

    While I agree that shifting jobs even within a company is a way to stay engaged and a high performer, I do not agree that quitting after 2 weeks shows passion. I’m sure there are some instances where behavior within the organization is so heinous that you don’t want to stay, in the majority of cases, you haven’t given it enough time to even understand your role.

    It’s frustrating to see people who are considered in my same generation with this attitude. Sometimes it’s necessary to do the job you aren’t passionate about to prove that you can do the job are. No one gets handed the perfect job that you’re totally passionate about. You have to earn it.

  10. Ask a Manager
    Ask a Manager says:

    This can be true — sometimes. It is not true across the board. And if you do it repeatedly, you will eventually make yourself unhireable to a lot of good employers. It should be a strategy to use only very rarely.

  11. Alan Wilensky
    Alan Wilensky says:

    I think there is a double edge sword here:

    One the one hand, ‘to thine own self be true’, there are situations that cross the line of ethics and what is in your heart where you know that the job is not good fit.

    Other hand, it’s not good to be fast to quit. There were numerous times (in my 20’s, 30’s, even later) where my Jewish guilt and a false work ethic kept me plugging away at a sub optimal position for which:

    A) I was not being utilized or properly respected for my wisdom and experience (you can see that I was so humble!)

    b) there were people things going on.

    In many cases, I came out the other side of enduing these situations with a great experience, I learned alot, and I advanced my skills and career. I even made valuable professional alliances.

    I think in some cases, maybe most cases, If you are inclined to pull the trigger and quit, think it through. Maybe two weeks is too soon. Talk to an advisor, a friend and / or mentor.

    There is some advantages in culturing the ability to endure, especially if you are earning. The, “Petty Tyrant”, can be a person or a situation, or a weakness within ourselves. Learning to overcome the pettiness of an internal or external tyrant can be valuable.

  12. Norcross
    Norcross says:

    I can’t see that after 2 weeks, enough of an impression had been made to really form a decision. Now, absent some extreme circumstances (company doing illegal things, job description was woefully incorrect, etc), all you have done is wasted the company’s time and money.

    Now aren’t you also trying to get a job with Twitter? How does this play into that? If I were Evan Williams, I wouldn’t hire you as a secretary, knowing that you’re willing to leave at the first sign of discomfort.

  13. Michael Fontaine
    Michael Fontaine says:

    I was going to refute this post on a point-by-point basis, but the comments before me have done a great job of that. Let me add just this: I am an X’er, and I’ve had about a dozen jobs in about twenty years. I have always hated every job after just two weeks, because (as a wise person told me years ago) nothing is harder than a new job. Quitting a job after two weeks is like ending every relationship after the first date, or after the appetizer. It is impossible–literally impossible (barring illegal activities or fear of harm)–to know enough to make a good decision.

  14. Daché
    Daché says:

    It’s sad really. I bet this girl actually found another job. And I bet mommy and daddy have more than enough to take care of her.

    Meanwhile, there are thousands of recent graduates everywhere who don’t have parents or even a parent to fall back on and no job (not even one to quit). Employers are hiring the wrong people.

    • Emma
      Emma says:

      OK, let’s talk about class. There seems to be an assumption among commenters that moving back home is a poor-little-rich-girl’s way out, which I find a bit insulting, as a fellow “boomeranger.”

      First of all, there’s living at home and then there’s living at home. I sleep in the same bed I did in high school, but now I help with bills, do my own grocery shopping, and cover my own insurance. It’s not exactly 50/50, but I no longer file my taxes as a dependent. I don’t have the savings to make renting in my hometown (Boston) the smart move right now, but I do have enough to do this. Jaime isn’t necessarily being indulgent by moving back home; in her case, maybe indulgent would be maintaining a Bay-Area apartment in the face of an extended period of job hunting, just to save face.

      Second, since when did multigenerational households become an upper class thing? In my experience, working class families, particularly minority families, often assume that kids will live at home until marriage. Even kids with college degrees and professional careers ahead of them, like Jaime, spend their early twenties at home, again as partial-contributors rather than as dependents. It’s an arrangement that can make sense at many income levels. What changes is the cultural expectation–and I’d argue that the stigma associated with living at home is strongest among the middle class, not the lower. (Here’s )

      I’d also refer everyone to Penelope’s post on the who boomerang after college. The times, they are a-changing.

  15. Christi
    Christi says:

    I’m not sure I believe that you can learn much of anything in two weeks, except perhaps a strong dislike of your co-workers. As a hiring manager, I’d be willing to give someone a pass for making a bad decision on taking a job they shouldn’t have, but would be less tolerant of several stints less than one year.

  16. Enrique S
    Enrique S says:

    I don’t think two weeks is long enough to decide whether you hate your job. I’ve changed jobs frequently, and it usually takes me a few months to get rolling in my new job. I worked at GE, and while it’s true that they encourage job rotation, the period they prefer employees to stay at one position is generally 1 1/2 – 2 years. The idea is to learn the job they’re currently doing before moving on, and taking that experience to their new position. I’m not sure how much you can digest in two weeks. You can’t possibly get to know your fellow employees in that short of a time.

  17. Casey
    Casey says:

    I believe this post was merely a rationalization for an irresponsible decision. At 23, no one owes you a living. Not even your parents. Never quitting a job without having another one lined up is a great rule by which to live. That said, I hope your next job is a great one.

    • RL
      RL says:

      I don’t agree with Casey’s and similar comments posted by others. I consider having kids and buying homes and cars you can’t afford – i.e. living beyond your means and expecting a bail out – to be FAR MORE irresponsible than quitting a job after two weeks. I haven’t read Jamie’s blog yet, but from her posting on this website, it doesn’t sound like Jamie thinks employers and her parents “owe her a living”.

      So what someone quits a job after 2 weeks? Who is the next employer to know? Half-way intelligent people don’t post information about jobs that didn’t work out on their resumes yet alone on a website, except Jamie, which of course isn’t wise to say the least, but it sounds like that’s what she does.

      We all have choices about several aspects of our lives, that’s what I like about being an American and living in America.


  18. dava
    dava says:

    I really admire your efforts to get a job at Twitter, Jamie, and looked forward to this post. Unfortunately, I agree with ScottS above, and even more unfortunately, there’s a good possibility this will hurt your chances of getting that job you obviously want so badly. How will the powers that be at Twitter KNOW 1000% you won’t hate that job too and do them the huge “favor” of quitting? You seem to want that job so much it might not live up to your expectations.

    Individual situations vary of course, but if your parents paid for you to go to college, you sort of owe it to them to become self sufficient at some point, even if it means working at a job you don’t like for a little while.

    You are not your job and an active, busy life outside of work can compensate for a crappy job and help you find a better one. There are plenty of ways to work toward having a “dream job” or at least a job that will make you happy while working too.

  19. Peter Epstein
    Peter Epstein says:

    I think your biggest flaw in this whole situation was during the interviewing process. Most people get so wrapped up in showing themselves in a good light, that they forgot that they’re interviewing the company as well. You should know what a day in the life should be, who you’re going to be working with, and what you’re going to be doing. The first two weeks should be no surprise whatsoever from what you were expecting in the interview process. I still don’t think it was the right decision, but I think it was a flaw in your interviewing, rather than a flaw in your personal commitment and drive as some commenters have mentioned before me.

    • Angie
      Angie says:

      Peter, this is such a great point!! People get so nervous about whether the interviewer will “like them” or be impressed or whatever — and then they forget to take care of themselves by asking good questions.

  20. Susan
    Susan says:

    Your first impression of the job is usually dead-on. Case in point: several years ago I started a new job and could tell after day two that it wasn’t for me. Someone else started at the same time and gave her notice almost immediately. I stuck it out for six months, and it did not get any better. In fact, I only began to hate myself more with each passing day. That is a courageous move and I applaud you, Jamie!

  21. Anne
    Anne says:

    I would really be interested in hearing specifics about what made this company such a bad fit in 2 weeks. If you researched the company, intereviewed a couple of times, met some of the people at the company before you started, then I’m wondering what exactly changed overnight? 2 weeks is not long enough to make a few friends, face up to the challenges of getting to know a new place, or adjust yourself to your new surroundings.

    Here’s the thing that I know at 32 that you don’t know at 23. The problems you faced at that job are going to follow you to every job you ever have, in one form or another. It’s a lot like going to high school- you can switch schools, but there are still going to be bullies, jocks, nerds, princesses and classes that are hard or boring, etc. Anywhere you go you will have to pay your dues, deal with people you don’t like, handle uncomfortable situations and deal with corporate politics.

    I agree with the people who say to stick it out at least for 6 mos. Even if you hate it, you will be a more seasoned professional, you will have learned to deal with some people you might not like, you’ll gain experience and you will pick up some new skills. In other words, you will be forced to grow as a person. There’s no garuntee that the next job will be a perfect fit either. What are you going to do when you get to the next place and realize that you didn’t get rid of any problems, you just traded them in for new ones?

    Good luck. Finding the right career path is very difficult. But you might want to listen to some more experienced people who can tell you that it’s not always about having a feel-good experience. More often then not, it’s about having a paycheck, paying dues and trying to use your current situation (like it or not) as a stepping stone to something better.

  22. Ann
    Ann says:

    I echo the other commenters, but would also add that this is really strange advice for people who are starting their first job out of college. Every entry level job sucks, and of course your first job our of college will make you unhappy (at least some of the time). That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value.

    Your first job out of college should be a stepping stone for you to get to the next place you want to be (grad school, a better job, a better company, a better location, etc.). If 2 weeks at an entry level job was enough to make you quit, then you either a) accepted a job that you shouldn’t have, because it didn’t relate to your long-term career goals; or b) you don’t know what your long-term career goals are.

  23. Isis
    Isis says:

    I actually think that you did a good thing! To have the guts to do that is very admirable. I have been in a job that last for 6 months but I had that gut feel from the moment I started that it was not going to work out. I wish I had followed my instinct and quit. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of moving back home but if you have it and your parents are ok with it, well why not!

    Intuition above logic yields in better long term decisions – I have learned that much.

  24. Erika
    Erika says:

    Although you may have done the right thing quitting after two weeks (don’t know the details), and are most likely a smart go-getter, I do have a more general problem of taking career advice from a 23-year-old.

      • Jim C.
        Jim C. says:

        Naybe because a twenty-three year-old hasn’t had a career yet. She has had a job or two, but she isn’t qualified by experience to talk about what does or doesn’t develop a successful career.

      • Erika
        Erika says:

        Maybe it’s thinking of myself at 23, thinking I knew everything, and looking back and saying, HAH! what was I thinking?? Maybe if this post was more of a “why I quit after two weeks, why I think it was the right thing and what I’ve learned” it wouldn’t have caused me to click ALL the way over from my RSS feed to comment. But the post was definitely successful in generating traffic and comments.

  25. m@
    m@ says:

    I did this as a 40-something.

    I went to work writing software for a financial services company. The code I was working on was responsible for the effective processing of millions of dollars a day and there was ZERO QA process, ZERO code reviews, they had a test server but the only person who tested was me. Even the best programmer needs someone to review their work, if not just to make sure the business rules are covered.

    After a few weeks of sweating, crying and incubating an ulcer I had to leave, it was literally killing me, and yes I know what literally means.

    ‘If the job is not right, you must take flight’. Uggh, did I really just paraphrase Johnny Cochran?

    • Anna
      Anna says:

      “there was ZERO QA process, ZERO code reviews, they had a test server but the only person who tested was me. Even the best programmer needs someone to review their work, if not just to make sure the business rules are covered.”

      Did you talk to your superiors about this? Did you make suggestions to improve on the problems with oversight? Did you talk to your superior in any way in an attempt to remedy your situation?

  26. Nicole Relyea
    Nicole Relyea says:

    I’m going to disagree with a lot of the comments and agree with Jamie. If you get two weeks into a job and know that you really, truly, won’t be happy there, you should quit. That way the employer doesn’t waste time and money training you when you’re just going to leave in a couple of months anyway, and you can get back out there and find something you are passionate about and will be more successful with.

    That being said, this is only for situations in which you KNOW you will never like the job.

    I agree with the comments that said you can learn a lot from sticking it out, because I’ve learned the most from my worst experiences at a few jobs. And yes, if you find yourself being offered jobs you don’t want, then you’re not paying enough attention or asking enough questions at the interview, or of yourself.

    But sometimes, it’s just better to bail out early before any damage is done.

  27. m@
    m@ says:

    @Anna, numerous times. The only response I got was “you’re a great programmer, we trust your work”.

    I am a great programmer and people should trust my work but that doesn’t mean I understand every facet of a business that people usually need an advanced degree to work in.

    As a developer I am an expert in my field, I am not an expert in your field. I learn a lot, I’m a sponge when it comes to learning new things, I thrive on it. That being said, working for a client who doesn’t insist on a thorough review of the software responsible for their main source of income is a game of russian roulette I don’t want to play.

  28. Bill
    Bill says:

    PT’s poster child. Gotta love when twenty-somethings describe themselves as self-confident high performers while simultaneously being totally dependent on Mom and Dad.

    • eliz
      eliz says:

      Why are those things mutually exclusive? Can’t one be high-performing AND unemployed but looking? Think of applying that logic to the hundreds of thousands recently laid off.

      She was lucky enough to be able to quit her job; she realizes that. Why should she stick around in the wrong job because strangers might disapprove? I admire the priority she places on the ability to continue learning in the workplace.

      • Belindetta
        Belindetta says:

        High-performing, self-actualizing people don’t cut and run right away. Nor do they retreat to having someone else pay the bills.

        Now that she’s told the world what kind of person she is, why would anyone hire her? What a stupid thing to do! Why didn’t she post this with a pseudonym? The disapproving strangers might be the person who gets her next resume.

  29. James
    James says:

    Why quit when you could be looking for a new job while receiving a steady paycheck, building credit, and blogging in your free time?

    People work at jobs they dislike while they pursue their passions, it happens all the time. I’d rather have had a post from someone explaining how to deal with a job you dislike while pursuing a passion, since that situation is probably far more likely for the majority of people today.

  30. I'm Old at 30, eh
    I'm Old at 30, eh says:

    1. I have hated every job I have ever had for at least the first 3 weeks, going home and moaning “why did I do this?” There’s an adjustment period, even with great jobs. Some of us handle them better than others. After 2-3 months, you look back and laugh. I’ve found this applies to other areas of life, such as moving to a new town or having a child. You compounded changing jobs with a move to a large urban area, and how easy is it to really separate out job vs. major life change in general?

    2. This article would impress me a lot more if you wrote it at 29-35+ and were able to tell us how this one bold move changed the entire course of your career, leading you to follow your bliss somewhere beyond your old room at your parents’ house.

    3. There is no freaking way I would hire you after reading this. Controversy and radical honesty and all that aside, why would I assume that you’d stick around for my organization? I’m guessing you gave the right song and dance and appeared passionate and committed to that job you quit, right? Even if you really want the next job you’re after, there’s a little “boy who cried wolf” syndrome going on.

    Penelope, good job posting a provocative, aggravating post! You got me to click over from RSS, that’s for sure. You kids today! Get offa my lawn.

  31. Laurie
    Laurie says:

    I don’t know how you could possibly feel good about quitting before you ever gave the job a shot. I doubt the company felt they failed you either, just thought you were incapable of doing the work or that you had personal issues. Why would they blame themselves after such a short time frame? How bad could it have been to give up so easily?

    Loved what Ron Graham said in earlier comment – same lines as what I was thinking!!

    “When someone quits a job after two weeks, and it’s their “first” job at that, as a hiring manager, I don’t see a want for passion, or a need for meaningful work, I see someone who got a big dose of reality and couldn’t swallow it.”

  32. Matt Cheuvront
    Matt Cheuvront says:

    Jamie- I think you raise some valid points here. Working somewhere that just isn’t a fit will, in the end, result in poor work performance (or at least no A+ productivity). But I think you are a little premature here. 2 weeks just isn’t enough time to get a feel for things. Yes, you are going to have an idea as to whether or not you are going to fit in pretty quickly – but other times, you may hate something starting out, but have a change of heart if you stick it out.

    I see EVERY job, good AND bad as a mega-learning experience. You learn what you like, what you’re good at, and more importantly, what you DON’T like and what you suck at.

    Example: I was a bagger at a grocery store when I was 15 years old. I hated it, BUT – I stuck it out through the summer and I learned a lot about myself. I could have just been asking people ‘paper or plastic’ but instead, I actively engaged most of the people coming through my lane, and tried to establish, in two minutes, a ‘human’ connection. A bell went off in my head – I knew that what ever I did in life, I wanted to always be able to have that connection with people. You may not always be provided with the best situations, but you can ALWAYS make the best of every situation.

    You may hate your job, but stick it out longer than you think you should, give it a chance, and most importantly, LEARN SOMETHING FROM IT before tossing it aside. We all don’t have to bite the hand that feeds, we can establish meaning to our otherwise meaningless routines. I speak from experience there.

  33. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    I disagree with Jamie that it’s smart to quit after two weeks, but then again I had the opposite experience. I started at my first job out of college moving up to Silicon Valley with a brand new division of a company. For several months, they gave me very little to do, and I became pretty unhappy with the job. I ended up sticking it out for a little under a year when that division of the company was dissolved and I was moved to another division that completely fit my personality and skillset. They also gave me my full bonus for the time that I spent in the other division, even though I had very little work to show for it (because I wasn’t given any).

    I’ve now been with my new group for 8 months or so and couldn’t be happier. I love my job, I’m challenged, and the pay is great. It makes me glad I suffered through a rough start to end up where I am.

  34. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    An addendum: I believe that my time (and little amount of work) with my first group allowed my company to understand my skills and put me into the job that better suited my and their needs. It also gave me connections with multiple people in the company that have moved to other jobs since that I can use for networking in the future. They see me (I hope) as a person that is resilient and adapts to what her surroundings, instead of a person who gives up after two weeks of deciding she’s unhappy.

  35. Mike
    Mike says:

    Jamie – I know where you are coming from (one of the things I love about our generation is how we place self-actualization over financial potential), but you need to understand quitting a job after two weeks for these reasons really make you appear like a petulant, unemployable loser.

    I’m a solid member of Gen Y, and it’s infuriating to me when I hear X and Boomers complain about our generation’s sense of entitlement, and lack of professionalism. I’m always on my heels defending what I see as a unique perspective, but posts like this make me question that stance.

    There are germs of truth to all your points (except 4, which only means you don’t understand the kind of investment any company puts into the first two weeks of a new hire), but you need to temper this with a little humility. In this economy, I’d be pretty wary about burning bridges like this…

  36. lizriz
    lizriz says:

    I worked at my first job after undergrad for two days. Hated it. Never regretted walking away. Learned a lot from the experience and moved on.

  37. Sara
    Sara says:

    You win Penelope! I often think that you’re career advice shows naivete and a complete and utter disregard on how to actually be successful in life. This post, I’m sure, is to show that you’re brilliant!

    2 weeks – Every single point in the article would be appropriate for someone leaving a job after 6 months. Unless this job was a barista, Jamie didn’t have sufficient time to figure out what the job was, let alone whether it was a good fit.

    The level of entitlement in this post was laughable. I truly wonder if you’ve ever held any type of job in your entire life. Presumably a college graduate would have some kind of clue about what type of career they are interested in, the pluses and minuses to the first job they chose?!?!

    I actually did quit a job after a few weeks (more like 3 is my recollection). My second job was at Baskin Robbins when I was 16, what I thought would be a huge step up from the video store I shelved tapes for when I was 15 and had to walk to work. I learned early on that B&R wasn’t for me. I still managed to find another job before quitting and trained my replacement. I learned a lot during that experience. I guess the sad thing is that you’re learning it now – at 23, on your parent’s dime.

  38. NYC Memories
    NYC Memories says:

    I think it’s definitely a privilege to be able to quit your job – not everything can afford that.

    I can’t afford to move back to my parent’s house because they actually can’t support me anymore, and I have to pay back my loans because I can’t let my parents pay them for me anymore.

    So rather than saying it is OKAY to quit after two weeks, you should really say – it is OKAY to quit after two weeks if you are privileged enough to do so.

    Heck, it is OKAY to never have a job if your parents are loaded with cash….

  39. Laura
    Laura says:

    Jamie – I want to agree with you, I really do. I wish people would give more respect to Gen Y, of which I am a member. But this post is exactly why they don’t.

    I agree that staying in a job that makes you miserable is a bad idea. I’m totally on board with that. But like many have said before, after 5 years of experience in the full-time work world I can tell you without a doubt that you need an absolute bare minimum of 1 month at a new job to even have a grasp on what the job IS, let alone whether or not you like it. 2 weeks is too early to make an informed decision about whether or not the job is a good fit. When I start a new job, I always make up my mind to suspend my judgment about it for the first month and then have a look and see what I think about it.

    The company does not think you’re doing them a favour. You aren’t. You just wasted their resources on training you without providing them with any value in return because you weren’t there long enough to provide that.

    The ONLY excuse I can think of for quitting after two weeks is if you are offered another position shortly after accepting the first one, and the job offer is *significantly* better than the first one in terms of what it will provide your resume, your skill set, your network of contacts, and your enjoyment of your job. If the job is just equal or only slightly better, I wouldn’t bail. I would only quit if the offer was something I simply couldn’t justify passing up.

    You need to learn a lesson about sticking to your commitments.

  40. Ian Selvarajah
    Ian Selvarajah says:

    Jamie – I hope that PT would have advised you not to post something like this especially when you’re trying so desperately to get hired @ Twitter. I thought your twittershouldhireme site was genius, but this very quickly makes me think twice.

    Unless of course, PT’s pull in the social media world is going to help you since a post like this helps her business by reinforcing some unfortunate GenY stereotypes. Note how the title of this post makes it very clear that a twentysomething, not PT, is claiming it’s smart to quit after 2 weeks.

    People won’t realize there’s a ‘problem’ with GenY unless its publicized right? As another commenter said, maybe you’re the ideal poster child?

  41. Akhila
    Akhila says:

    I disagree as well that it’s a good idea to quit your job after just two weeks. In two weeks, you’re just getting settled in, understanding your duties, figuring out how things work, and beginning to do your first work. I don’t understand how you can *know* you hate the place or the work after such a short period of time. You need to give it a few months, and I would only understand quitting so early if it was some sort of exceptional circumstances that made you dislike the job – bad relations with boss, perhaps something that makes you question your morals, etc. But even so…it’s not something that shows passion or engagement at work. I think everyone should spend a little more time figuring out whether the job really is that bad, before quitting.

  42. Monica O'Brien
    Monica O'Brien says:

    Totally not impressed with this post. I agree with most other people – six months is a good time to quit if you really hate your job. Wait – that’s what I did. And trust me, I tried everything I could possibly think of to like it first, and I tried to work with my boss and be open about how much I hated the job and how if it didn’t change I would have to quit. And then finally the time came.

    Quitting your first job right out of college is lame. You don’t know enough about working to know if you liked the job, no matter how many tables you bussed or sweaters you folded during high school and college.

    By the way, this is nothing personal against you Jamie – when people tell me they love their job after two weeks, I laugh at that too. No job can be perfect and wonderful all the time. Know thyself first before telling people to quit a job after two weeks.

  43. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Jamie – I really want to completely agree with you, but I can’t. There are very few jobs that you know you will be completely happy and satisfied with after two weeks. Also, it takes longer than two weeks at most professional jobs to get trained and get used to the work routine. Retail to me seems to be one area where there’s little actual training required and anyone with a brain could do supervisor work.

    I know it’s not easy working a soul crushing, mind numbing job where you are not challenged to your intellectual capabilities. It also is demoralizing to learn how little a college degree is valued – it feels like you wasted 4+ years of your life for a job that you loathe, not to mention having to take orders from people who have no business being a supervisor.

    Give the job 6 months. Once you get a routine down, then maybe you’d get more responsibility and more interesting assignments. If you really feel that you still hate the job, start looking for a new one while still employed. It common sense – don’t quit until another one is lined up.

    As far as whoever commented earlier about the interview process, I have to agree with that. You are also interviewing them to see if they are a place that you want to work for. I was invited to a group interview for an administrative assistant that was more of an informational meeting with 50 people and only got to answer one question during the actual half hour of interview time. I don’t have any experience with HR or hiring, but I don’t think one question per person would be enough to decide whom to interview for one on ones. I wasn’t too upset not to be contacted when they demonstrated that our time wasn’t worth much for essentially a dumbed down membership pitch.

  44. Luke
    Luke says:

    This post reeks of self-affirmation and naivety. On the one hand, this kind of behavior makes me embarrassed of my generation; but on the other hand, this kind of behavior only makes the rest of us in our 20’s look better to employers.

    I think the Apple reference is also very telling. So many people in my generation have a glorified idea of what work is going to be like because they never had a real job before. They think they want to go into advertising so that they can sit around a boardroom and write 30 second super bowl spots. Or they think that they’ll find a job working at a company (like Apple) that they love so much that it won’t even feel like work. Everyone imagines themselves working in a cool office space, drinking free starbucks, sitting around in boardrooms where c-level execs want to hear your astoundingly creative ideas, and impressing all your friends by name dropping your company or client roster.

    • Desdemona
      Desdemona says:

      Your comment made me laugh because it sounds so familiar. I admit I was naive when I first went out into the business world. I was at the top of my class and got hired by a huge company & the experience still fell way short of my expectations. I thought I would be working from a high rise in the middle of some metro center, ordering sushi with my team while we worked late making snazzy logos on our featherweight laptops. Instead, I got sent around the country to dirty industrial parks in the middle of many nowheres, lugging an ancient Dell. It was a big reality check but after a few months I got really into what I was doing & ended up winning an award for helping increase production. So I have to agree: the business world is not like it is on TV. Or the way you dreamed it would be before you actually had any part in it.

  45. Anon
    Anon says:

    I knew I hated my last job within 3 days. I am 100% on board believing you can figure out whether the job is right in 2 weeks.

    I stuck the job out for 6 months (hated it more every week), and I learned SO MUCH–SO MUCH–especially working with difficult people, and learning how to get assignments I want. I do not regret making a terrible decision accepting that job, and I would not be in the great position I am now if I hadn’t learned from my mistakes. I cannot even imagine what a stupid decision it would have been for me to LEAVE after 2 weeks! What the hell does that teach you?

    And to another point someone has already made: probably one of the greatest things I learned was asking the right questions during interviews and making sure the company was a fit for me so that I will NEVER be that irresponsible jerk who quits after ten days. What a disrespectful waste of company time and money.

  46. Jeremy O'Krafka
    Jeremy O'Krafka says:

    I have to agree with many of the previous comments–I feel you did yourself a disservice in the assessment of this company as a place to start your career. Had you appropriately understood who you are and what you want; then asked the appropriate questions, I think you could have averted this situation all together. The challenge for an employer in assessing an individual like yourself is that you present yourself quite well (at least from what I can tell from your writing). You have a responsibility to use this strength appropriately.

    The main difference that I see between yourself and someone like Penelope who provides career advice, is that she has many years of perspective to draw on. This issues she writes about from her current experience read as more of a commentary than “expert advice”. You have real talent and a bright career ahead of you–take this as an opportunity to find your voice of experience from those things you can look back on an know to be true.

  47. Kris
    Kris says:

    I quit a college (read: dead-end) job after two weeks. I have to agree that yes, everyone feels uncomfortable for the training period, and in most cases, that feeling goes away and they start to enjoy their job. My issue was a gray-area ethical one, and I’m ultimately glad I quit. I wasn’t going to waste my time and theirs with a lot of stress.

    The duties were fine; the administration was awful. You couldn’t find out about that during an interview. If a your bosses are jerks, to hell with them. They can find another sucker.

  48. Ron
    Ron says:


    The timing of this post is really poor. Someone should’ve “advised” you better.

    Nonetheless, it’s not smart to quit a job after two weeks. It’d be a lot better to do your homework before you take the job, be more selective about the opportunities available to you and be willing to go where you can to find a better fit for yourself.

    Sometimes, you can’t know that until you show up at the place and do it for a while. Other times, they completely misrepresent what the role is going to be and you want to bail out. That’s fine, but it’s important to remember that it’s your resume that you’re eviscerating every time you leave and your prospects after you leave — depending on your contacts — might be a lot worse than when you started.

    And really, how many times can you just quit? Is it really about happiness or something else?

    In any case, as everyone has already said, I can’t really believe that someone thought it was a good idea to let you post this.

    As one poster said, though, maybe this is a good opportunity for you to reflect and find your own voice as a blogger, because well…just because we look up to other people doesn’t mean we ought to emulate everything about their style, even if it seems to work well for them.

    I’m sure you’ll be fine wherever you end up, since a lot more folks know your name now, than did a few days ago. Good luck.

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