Ask PEGA: Searching for the Right Fit

Welcome to the second installment of Ask PEGA, an advice column for all PEGA-SIS members. Just a reminder all questions can be submitted here and will be answered on a rolling basis by our anonymous pool of upper and middle managers from law libraries of all types and sizes.

Q: I’m new(ish) at my current library and we aren’t a good fit. How soon is too soon to start applying for other jobs?

A1: Talk to your supervisor and/or supervisor’s supervisor. Maybe the fit can be improved (while a legit HR term, “fit” covers a lot of sins). If not, they’ll know your situation and may even help with your search. I was told (and generally believe) that a tenure of less than two years will raise eyebrows. If a great opportunity that’s a better fit comes along, apply for it, but be prepared to explain why you’re interested in changing jobs “so soon.”

By way of explanation and practicality, two years means you were somewhere long enough to get past the honeymoon (a few months) and give the job a solid year or so to see what it’s really like. Then if you start looking and go through a hiring process somewhere else, give appropriate notice, don’t leave in the middle of a semester, etc. — you’re at about two years.

A2: First, I would suggest you try to make it work with your current employer. Same as an employee who isn’t working out I might consider giving this employer an opportunity to improve the situation. Otherwise I think a year is a reasonable amount of time to stay, especially if things aren’t working out. But I would also be careful about your next move – it can always be worse.

A3: Answers to this question will vary depending on whom you ask. I had this conversation with two mentors six months into my first job. One mentor advised me to wait at least a year, if not longer, but the second mentor encouraged me start applying elsewhere immediately. The answer really depends on your specific circumstances and current work environment. Some people would be trepidatious about hiring someone they think might bounce from job to job, but just as many people would not think twice about it. The key is providing a reasonable and positive explanation as to why you are looking to leave your current job so soon.

A4: Sometimes that first day on the job can be difficult. I would wait until you have been there at least six months before considering a search for something new.

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